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SEAL BEACH : Pizzeria Rejection Will Be Appealed

May 12, 1993|SHELBY GRAD

A development company whose plan to open a pizzeria on Main Street was rejected by the Planning Commission will take its case to the City Council later this month.

The Bichsel Co., which seeks to transform a 68-year-old brick building into a branch of the B.J.'s Chicago Pizzeria chain, has appealed the Planning Commission's judgment, which means the City Council will have the final say on the project.

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for May 24.

The Planning Commission voted 3 to 2 against the plan last month, bowing to the protests of nearby Old Town residents who complained that the plan did not provide enough parking spaces for customers.

Under city codes, the restaurant is required to provide 26 parking places. But the building has only three. So the company proposed making up for the shortage by paying the city $100 a year for each of the 23 missing parking spaces.

Residents have decried the plan, saying it does nothing to improve the parking situation because the city doesn't plan to spend the money to build new parking lots.

Bichsel Co. officials argued that other restaurants have operated in the building for decades and that it is unfair for the city to suddenly require them to provide additional parking spaces.

"This site has been a restaurant for 45 years. It represents a pre-existing use," said Bichsel general partner Greg Herbert, noting that the pizzeria will have fewer seats than the restaurant it is replacing. "We are just requesting the acceptance of this similar use."

Herbert said his firm plans to restore the building's brick facade and complete seismic repairs on the structure.

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