Opponents of a proposed downtown restaurant and beer garden may have plenty of frustration directed at them at tonight's (July 3) City Council meeting, if online comments are any indication.
The City Council is set to vote this Tuesday on Steins Beer Garden, a restaurant proposed for a vacant building at 895 Villa Street which has gained much public support. But applicant Ted Kim says his dream of opening a "German-inspired American rendition of a beer garden" was dealt a major blow on May 9. That's when Zoning administrator Peter Gilli citing noise concerns from a few neighbors said the restaurant's 64-seat outdoor beer garden would have to be closed at 6 p.m. half the year when the days are shorter and 8 p.m. the other half.
"We cannot have a viable business under these terms," Kim said. He's paid $2,500 to appeal the decision to the City Council.
The neighbors who spoke against the proposal live across the street from the beer garden site, in a 20 unit-condo complex at 230 Bryant Street. They cited existing issues with the Monte Carlo night club, which closes at 2 a.m. and whose patrons and are known to urinate, fight and litter near the condos.
"Until the noise problem at present levels is mitigated, I wouldn't want to expand alcohol licenses," said 230 Bryant Street resident David Lin at the hearing. His wife Michelle Lin added, "I personally don't want to listen to 64 people talking outside my bedroom window seven days a week."
The complaints have caused quite a reaction among other downtown residents and businesses, some of whom say it would be an alternative to the "obnoxious bars on Castro Street." Some are wondering why the opponents moved to "an existing nightlife district" if they were going to be unhappy with it. The condo complex at 230 Bryant is one of downtown's more recent housing projects
"I'm appalled that someone would move into MY neighborhood and then try to bend it to their will," wrote downtown resident on the Voice's Town Square, echoing a common sentiment about the neighbor's concerns. "This offends me. If you don't like it, move."
Kim claims that the opponents actually live in some of the units furthest away from his proposed beer garden, while others at 230 Bryant who live closer to to the beer garden support it.
"A sentiment has grown among both some OMV residents and downtown business owners that this case amounts to a handful of people potentially stopping a new restaurant without widespread consensus, and in evident reaction or revenge for problems from the Monte Carlo, an unrelated business," wrote downtown restaurant aficionado Max Hauser in an email rallying support for Steins among downtown residents.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 500 Castro Street.
Other action items for Tuesday:
Light rail access: Council members are set to vote on spending $240,000 to explore improving pedestrian access to the NASA Ames Bayshore light rail station. Accessing it now from south of Highway 101 requires a "circuitous" route, and some "backtracking," according a city staff report, which adds that a tunnel may be needed.
Suicide prevention: A policy could be adopted by the council which directs city staff to collaborate with the County's Mental Health Department and "gain a better understanding about the causes of suicide," promote awareness of suicide prevention measures and orders city staff to provide public information about suicide in the city. Mountain View's suicide rate is the sixth worst among the county's 16 cities, according to a city staff report.