The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to allow a Jewish cultural center atop the Sepulveda Pass to sell alcohol to visitors, despite opposition from nearby homeowners who fear the action will open the door to commercial development in the Santa Monica Mountains.
"This is the piecemeal destruction of the mountain," said Alan Kishbaugh, past president of the Federation of Hillside and Canyon Assns., a homeowner advocacy group that lobbied for 21 years to win protection for the area.
The new Skirball Cultural Center applied for the alcohol permit to sell beer and wine at weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs and at a cafe that operates out of the center.
Skirball representatives said the alcohol would be sold only at private functions and would not be available to the general public.
Councilman Marvin Braude, who represents large portions of the Santa Monica Mountains, supported the proposal, saying that all major museums and cultural centers sell some type of alcoholic beverage.
But Kishbaugh and other mountain advocates decried the action, saying it is the latest of several efforts by the cultural center to expand its operation into a commercial facility.
The center was originally intended to be a rabbinical college but has since developed into a massive cultural center with a museum and arts compound.