Balboa Island merchants and residents, angered by the Planning Department's approval of a Starbucks coffeehouse in their predominantly mom-and-pop business community, have asked the City Council to review a law that allows the agency to issue some food service permits without public review.
"Balboa Island, we feel, is a national treasure. . . . We're looking at, basically, what will it be like in 50 years? Will it be a Nantucket or a Cape Cod, or will it be the food court of Orange County?" said John Noys, a board member of the Balboa Island Business Assn.
He and others complained to the council at its meeting last week that a nationwide chain would change the character of the area.
"Employees are a problem for us, because when they park, they stay all day," Noys said, noting that most island merchants are residents.