The City Council overturned a decision by another city panel that would have required a planned Marie Callender restaurant at 705 Pier Ave. to close its bar area at 10 p.m.
The unanimous decision was reached after councilmen received assurances from restaurant representatives that income from the bar area represented only about 13% of total business sales, and that the bar would not create a public nuisance for nearby residents.
The Board of Zoning Adjustments had approved a conditional use permit that required the bar to close at 10 p.m. even though it allowed the restaurant to stay open until 2 a.m. Both portions will be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. as a result of the council action. If the restaurant were to change operators, however, the conditional use permit would require a new city review.
The City Council breathed life Tuesday into a proposal which would allow two Vasek Polak car dealerships to expand on city-used land in return for a commitment from the company that it would stay in Hermosa Beach for 15 years.
The council voted 4 to 0 to direct the Planning Commission to hold two public hearings on May 7 on the proposed development agreement, which includes possible closure of four alleys adjacent to the car dealership. The issue is expected to return to the council on May 28.
The decision to continue with the plan was opposed by several neighboring business owners and residents. Some businessmen accused the city of compromising their interests for the sake of one large corporation.
"What you're telling me is that the city of Hermosa Beach will not protect the small businessman," James Brisson, owner of the Hermosa Saloon, told the council. "We need help, and if you sell out on us, then we're through."
The agreement would enable the Vasek Polak BMW dealership to double its new car sales and automotive repair divisions, with an expected increase in sales tax revenues to the city from the current $60,000 to $250,000 a year.
The city would agree to vacate the alley south of 30th Street, parallel to Pacific Coast Highway, and the commercial portion of the alley west of Pacific Coast Highway between Longfellow Avenue and 30th Street for the dealership's expansion.
Polak has also requested permission to construct a basement for car storage below 30th Street and a bridged walkway above 30th Street.
At the Vasek Polak Porsche-Audi dealership, the city would agree to vacate the commercial portion of 1st Place and 2nd Street to allow for expansion.
Two city-owned lots behind the business, which are now being leased by the dealership, would be sold to Polak for their appraised value of $119,000 each.
Sales tax revenues from the Porsche-Audi dealership are also expected to double, to an estimated $250,000 a year, as a result of the expansion. The firm has been considering moving to Torrance.