A local businessman has won approval to convert a closed antique store to a coffee shop after a two-month battle to remove conditions the city wanted to impose on his business.
But despite the City Council's unanimous vote Monday to grant him a permit, Lance LeCompte said he was unhappy with the decision.
"They sidestepped the issue," said LeCompte, who had fought a city order to repave an alley leading to the parking lot of his proposed coffee shop on Los Alamitos Boulevard. The order was one condition for the "use permit" LeCompte was seeking.
The city requires business owners to replace asphalt with concrete to strengthen alleys when expansion or renovation is expected to increase traffic.
LeCompte said it is unfair to require business owners to pay for the repair of city-owned alleys, a mandate he claims amounts to double taxation.
The alley near the coffee shop LeCompte wants to open in the 10600 block of Los Alamitos Boulevard "has been in disrepair for many years, and clearly is the responsibility of the city," he said.
"The city has no right to make me pay for damage I have not caused," LeCompte said.
Councilman Ronald Bates said "when a business is located near an alley, and they upgrade their operation so they use the alley more heavily, we have to ask that business to pay for its fair share."
A city traffic study indicated the coffeehouse would generate traffic five times greater than the antique store, which closed last year. Bates said the requirement is applied to all businesses.
As a compromise, the council did not order LeCompte to repair the alley immediately. Instead, he was asked to post a $6,000 bond, which will be spent if, after five years, the alley sustains damage because of traffic generated by the coffee shop.