Meeting Date: 01/09/13 06:30 PM
Meeting Type: Regular
Location: BONHAMS & BUTTERFIELDS 7601 SUNSET BLVD
HOLLYWOOD HILLS WEST NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
AREA 7 COMMITTEE
DATE: January 9, 2013
HOLLYWOOD HILLS WEST NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
HOLLYWOOD HILLS WEST NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
AREA 7 COMMITTEE
DATE: January 9, 2013
HOLLYWOOD HILLS WEST NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
HOLLYWOOD HILLS WEST NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
AREA 7 COMMITTEE
DATE: January 9, 2013
HOLLYWOOD HILLS WEST NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
AREA 7 COMMITTEE
DATE: January 9, 2013
TIME: 6:30 PM
PLACE: Bonham and Butterfields
7601 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.
2) Xai Verandah Lounge – Almaza Hookah Ultra Lounge located at 7677 Sunset Blvd-1500 Courtney.
The applicant is requesting a conditional use permit to extend hours operation until 2AM from current allowed 11PM and to sell a full line of alcohol beverages with Happy Hour for a 160 seat hookah lounge and restaurant.
Michael Gonzales, the applicants representative will be presenting for the applicants. The case no. is ZA 2012-1937 (CUB) (CU). Possible motion and vote.
Click Here to View Application and Public Hearing Information.
A Public Hearing for 7677 Sunset Blvd-1500 Courtney is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, 2013.
The Zoning Administrator will consider; A Conditional Use, pursuant to the provisions of Section 12.24-W,1 of the Los Angeles Code,To permit the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for on site consumption, in conjunction with an existing approximately 3,446 square-foot restaurant, having 79 seats interior, including a 19-seat bar, and an additional 81 seats upon an additional 2,459 square feet of outdoor patio area, for a total of 160 seats, with an extension of hours of operation from the current hours of 11 AM to 11 PM Monday through Friday and 8 AM to 11 PM Saturday and Sunday to proposed hours of operation from 9 AM to 12 midnight Monday through Wednesday and from 9 AM to 2 AM Thursday through Sunday and on holidays; and pursuant to section 12.24-W,27 of the code, to permit hours of operation after 11 PM on a commercial corner, as otherwise prohibited.
3) LA Marathon March 17, 2013. Discuss interest in setting up several cheering and water stations along Sunset Blvd between La Brea and Crescent Heights and a sub committee to work on the project.
Possible motion and vote.
4) Area 7 future of projects
5) Public Comment
Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council
Area 7 Committee
Date: January 9th, 2013
Place: Bonham and Butterfields
7601 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA
6:35pm, Barbara calls for meeting to begin and wishes all a happy new year. Barbara welcomes back Michael Gonzales, the applicant’s representative.
Approximately 38-40 stakeholders
-Wattles Park has re-opened temporarily. There has been a lot of concern about it.
-Recycling of Christmas Trees. You can cut them up and put them in your green bin or cut it up and place it in a plastic bag.
-Mayoral Forum being held on January 24th, 2013 at 8:30pm. Event Location: Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn – 6300 Forest Lawn Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90068. It’s important to attend this to get to know who is running our office and who will be our future Mayor.
2) Xai Lounge
Michael Gonzales is introduced and is representing Xai Lounge
Michael: Will not make a long presentation like the last but is happy to answer any questions pertaining to the operation of Xai Lounge, any specifics about square footage, etc. Tara and Habib are husband and wife owners and operators of Xai Lounge and Tara did not present last time. This time Tara wants to present where they been, where they want to go and how they want to get there and really get a sense what the operation is all about.
Tara: Tara who owns and operates Xai Verandah Lounge. Wants to speak for the family owning the restaurant, the employers and what has happened in the past. It has been brought to her attention that the operation has not been running the way it was supposed to have been run from the start. Tara was not present at the opening; she was living in Las Vegas. She is not a night person, likes to stay home. She’s a banker by trade for 25 years and a licensed realtor and mortgage broker in Las Vegas. Had a restaurant in Las Vegas at the same time and held a liquor license for four years without any complaints.
They, her 2 daughters opened Xai Lounge with the intentions of it being a regular restaurant and Hookah lounge. She paid lots of money to architects and lawyers to look over the paperwork and she has their names if any person would like to speak with them. Her two younger daughters took on the project (Xai Lounge) and she states that there has been a lot of “miscommunication” during the first year Xai was in operation. Tara says she was aware of the complaints from homeowners on Courtney Avenue and after hearing this; she sold her business and home in Las Vegas and moved to Los Angeles. Whether her children lied or made promises they couldn’t keep (one of her children was 27, the other 22), they were not advised properly. However, Tara states that she’s not making excuses for her children either. Tara takes full responsibility for their actions.
Tara is now here with her husband, Habib to run the bonafide restaurant in a relaxed atmosphere, she does not want a bar or a nightclub, but a business that offers an upscale lounge that has wine and beer with dinner. No loud music, we are too old for that now, we run it the way we want to run it. Both her and her husband were managers at Denny's for years. We have owned businesses before and had the one in Vegas. Tara apologizes for anyone that has been offended by the Xai Lounge and disappointed by what the business has turned out to be. Tara promises everyone that this will change and that in the last year she has taken over Xai Lounge and changes have been made, including her daughters no longer running the establishment. She would like to make improvements to what has been done in the past. In the past year she supervised five events and each ended by 11pm, Tara strictly enforced this to all of her staff including the 2 managers, were told they will be written up and possibly terminated if they keep the lounge open past 11pm. She has managed over 200 employees and knows the laws for the city, it's common sense.
Should there have been alcohol served or staying open past 11pm in the past, this has been to “misinterpretations” by Tara’s daughters. She believes her daughters misadvised. They did not go to the right resources regarding the right laws. They were taken for granted by professionals since they were young and naïve at the time the business opened.
Tara has been “through hell” keeping up with the business. They are now only open for three hours and day and can’t sit people later then 9:30pm. At 10:45pm they have to turn the lights off and this resulted in complaints from customers and overall dissatisfaction with the restaurant. She has lost of customers enforcing the rules.
Looking forward, Tara wants an upscale lounge that serves a good dinner and maybe a glass wine, plays music at a low level in the background. Tara had to deny requests to turn up music and tells people they have to leave at 10:45 in order to comply to the 11pm curfew. Most of the time people just come in for a drink and they say, sorry you guys are not serving alcohol. Tara: Just want you to know this is not going to be a bar or a nightclub. Tara introduces her husband Habib, want a nice business, residual income. They have put in lots of money to remedy the complaints and issues and is requesting for the neighborhood to give her a chance. Thank you.
Michael: Xai Lounge is requesting two things, a conditional use permit to sell a full line of alcohol and a conditional use permit to extend hours of operation to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 11pm for the rest of the days of the week, not 2am, they recognize it's not appropriate for the neighborhood. The target audience for this restaurant is middle-eastern and a later culture, having dinner at 9pm is not out of the norm. Having that extra hour to remain open will be beneficial for business and this is why request has been made.
A full line of alcohol is requested due to the growing trend of craft cocktails is all the rage, mixologists making 1920’s style cocktails. Xai Lounge is not asking for any live performances or dancing, anything that can turn this into a nightclub, which has been the concern as result of past behavior. Tara and Habib are intending to operate as a bonafide restaurant.
Michael finishes presentation.
Stakeholder: – Expresses concern over a lack of communication because Tara talks about only having wine and beer served with the meals and then Michael is talking about full cocktails.
Michael: Argues that this is what Tara intends to do with the full request for a full line of alcohol. He also says Tara is not a seasoned speaker, that Xai Lounge never intended to operate as a nightclub.
Stakeholders: Not about being a speaker, that is what she said.
Michael: The intent was always for a full line of alcohol. The application was and is for a full line.
Stakeholder: Ask what kind of business in Las Vegas ?
Tara: Same as here.
Stakeholder: Asserts that Tara’s daughters knew about the 11pm closing time.
Michael: Apologizes for the past and is making amends by putting in an application for a 12am closing time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They are not asking for 2am since that’s not what the neighborhood wants. They are making a change from their initial 2am request to 12am in response to neighborhood’s demands.
Stakeholder: Part of this is a trust issue, whether or not the neighborhood believes the principals here. The neighborhood did sit down with the daughters and they stated that they understood what the rules were about that corner. Expressed concerns that a liquor license remains with the property, even when Tara and Habib are no longer owning the property. The neighborhood could lose control at this point since it’s difficult to revoke these licenses once the property obtains them. There is a lack of trust here, especially when the neighborhood was told they were going to open up a church and they end up opening up a nightclub.
Michael: Michael makes it clear that CUP permits go away after five years. The liquor license is individual in nature so a new business would have to be approved by the CUP to keep the license. The neighborhood does have the opportunity to take over the operation once a new owner is in place of the property. There are checks and balances built into the approval system in case there’s a new person taking over. Michael recognize what took place before as being well beyond the scope that was permitted. Tara is accepting some responsibility for this and asking for a chance to move forward with this restaurant and their now amended request.
Stakeholder: Wasn’t at the previous meeting but read all of the applications and has questions about what wasn’t said in the application. The application talks about a “competitive disadvantage” but the stakeholder does not know what that is. And if the restaurant closes at 11pm, what financial consequences do you face with that? This sound like a business proposition to stay open later and sell liquor, an item where restaurants make most money. What is the “competitive disadvantage right now?” You would be in compliance with LA City and County that enforces; what are the noise regulations and what time ?
Michael: You cannot make noise outside the perimeter of your property.
Stakeholder: If you do get permission to operate until 12am, how would you accommodate the city’s prohibition against cars turning up Courtney Avenue from either side past 11pm?
Michael: That was put in place to prevent cruising and people circulating around the neighborhood. What they have in place is a valet that does stop the cars on Courtney and take them directly to their rear parking lot and bring the cars back out that same way. The purpose of the left turn, no right turn was actually according to the Council office the signs were intended to minimize Prostitution that was occurring. Xai Lounge is not violating the spirit of why that sign was put into place.
Barbara: There have been several people who have received tickets for making this left turn and it was not for cruising or prostitution, it is a rule that there is no turning.
Michael: Yes. But the purpose of the rule was for something that was occurring in the area many years ago.
Stakeholder: (s) These signs benefit the neighborhoods.
Stakeholder: It would be permissible for someone traveling east on sunset to make a left on Courtney just as far as a valet stand and that will not count as a violation?
Stakeholder: It is huge for us that the signs stay.
Michael: I will have to look at the ordinance to answer that question. But since we have to sit people by 10pm and get them out by 11pm, there wouldn’t be cars pulling in past 11pm.
Michael: Regarding “competitive disadvantage,” many neighboring restaurants, Cheebo, Aroma, Pikey, Chiptole serve alcohol and that does put us in a competitive disadvantage.
Barbara: I have almost got into car accidents due to how your building’s double and triple-park on Courtney. Can you have your valet pick up customers on Sunset after 7pm?
Michael: We’re exploring that with DOT; there may be a prohibition against parking at Sunset there. One thing we have done is add more valets to speed the cars through, what they had was a congestion management issue as opposed to too many cars coming at once.
Barbara: The other night your valet made a U-turn right in the middle of Courtney, when right out to Sunset and parked to Sunset. I thought you had your own parking lot?
Michael: We do. We have told our valet company that they are not allowed to park on the streets. They must park in the lot or the lots they operate in the area. I have 4-5 conversations about telling the valet company not to do that, it's public parking.
Stakeholder: Can you elaborate on the application for allowing 24 special events to occur on the property for the year. What does is a special event? It seems excessive.
Michael: Weddings, birthdays, political gatherings – things of that nature that are closed to the general public. What distinguishes a private event is that the venue is closed to the public, open to people who are on a list or invited. These events will be held within the described operating hours. We do not feel that 24 events a year is excessive it is only 10% of our business.
Stakeholder: My house is about 50-60ft from the restaurant. Every night all the headlights from the parking lot are reflecting into my bedroom. Not a day I have gone to bed earlier than 12:30 or 1:00am. From 7-10:30pm, (makes sound of car doors) the doors open and shut every minute. I cannot live like that. And you’re asking to extend the hours of operation? I’ve been close friends to Tara and the family, I used to come to the restaurant a lot and all of a sudden I changed my mind. You know why? Because my own house is no longer a house – it’s a parking lot. How will you prevent the noise?
Michael: I can speak with the valet company and see if they can ask drivers to have their headlights off until they exit the driveway. In addition to this, have them be more courteous when opening and closing the car doors. My house is a meeting place every night.
Michael: Will talk to the valet, to be more courteous.
Stakeholder: Can you put a security guard in front of the restaurant? I caught someone peeing on the side of my fence. Throwing up on my property. Making my dog bark.
Michael: There is no alcohol being served, but we’ll certainly bring someone in to address that issue
Stakeholder: I live 2 doors up and I do not hear the noise and I want you to succeed. I do not mind beer and wine but I am concerned about the mixed alcohol.
Michael: Craft cocktails are making a comeback and all the rage, want to be able to compete with Pikey, Aroma that has a full line of alcohol beverages. Xai Lounge wants to compete with that market and that’s why they’re making that request.
Stakeholder : Has issue about cars turning around on her driveway. Everyone wants to avoid the valet charge and cars will continue to make U-turns on her driveway.
Michael: We’ll explore some way to reduce the cost of valet making it so more customers intend to use it.
Stakeholder : Pikey was intended to be a restaurant and turned into a bar. It's bedlam . This concerns me and this whole trust issue with Xai Lounge and not make it a bar.
Michael: We’ve survived solely as a restaurant without alcohol so this won’t be our agenda. There are tables and chairs to sit and eat; it’s not a bar. The bar in the restaurant is now a coffee bar at the moment.
Stakeholder: You compare Xai Lounge to Cheebo and Pikey. Pikey does not neighbor a residential street it is actually on Sunset and Cheebo closes at 11pm every day. Other than your cultural reason why do you want to stay open to 12:00am.
Michael: Our main reason to keep Xai Lounge open until 12am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday is a cultural reason.
Tara: I never intend to open this as a bar or nightclub. I am asking to extend to 12am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday because people are requesting us to stay open that extra hour. People come in and are talking. This will never be a bar. She has neighbors calling in angry saying why aren't you closed, even when she’s following the rules. She has run Denny’s and other restaurants and has never had an issue. Not once was she cited for alcohol use. Alcohol is served to enhance the meal only. Wants to have day time hours do it right and be treated equally to make a living and run a business. Right now we are not open in the day time, it's not the culture. Tara doesn't stay there late, maybe 10pm. Her husband stays there. If we are approved of our permits, there will be a constant security guard there every night to ensure good behavior and a quiet neighborhood. She understand the noise and would be the first to complain. She says on busy nights there will be a security guard, if it's needed.
Stakeholder: I’ve seen people come out of the bar intoxicated, she’s seen people walk down the street naked, clothes discarded on her lawn. What is your plan for dealing with customers after they leave the restaurant?
Michael: They’re car is operated by the valet and they must leave once the car arrives for them. What you’re experiencing is people coming from other bars not drinking responsibly. Xai Lounge is not intending to be a bar. It’s looking to model itself after Cheebo, not a bar like Pikey that’s bedlam after close.
Stakeholder: You have 160 seats, how do you attend to accommodate all of those cars coming in?
Michael: We have 32 onsite spaces and we’re currently working with Bonham’s to see if we can use their lots after hours, also Platinum’s lot after hours. We’re diligently working to get more parking so we don’t experience overflow issues. We are working to get that done before our ZA hearing.
Stakeholder: Can you explain why such a large number of special events? Twenty-four seems very excessive.
Michael: We do think that there is a special events market out there and that twenty-four events a year, twice a month is not excessive. We are operating 360 days a year and this is less than 10% of our operations. We always hold operational control over the venue during private events and would never give it over to any other operator. We are happy to have language that suggests that and that there will not be promoters allowed.
Barbara: Are the special events going to be limited to 160 people as well?
Michael: We are limited to 160 seats and we cannot exceed this occupancy even for a special event. We cannot exceed what we are allowed by permit of fire and safety.
Stakeholder: Why do you need something designated as a special event if the venue still operates under normal hours and conditions?
Michael: We got to close the venue to the general public, that’s the only reason. I close the restaurant and have the private event come in. You cannot extend the hours as well.
Stakeholder: Does the City see this differently?
Michael: Yes, I think the City does see it differently, because we're not open to the general public.
Stakeholder: Since you have dinners on Courtney are you going to have some sort of sound barrier for those living on Courtney Avenue?
Michael: We can explore that issue. If there are noise issues, we can look at that.
Stakeholder: Tara had said her daughters had been mis-advised. How long have you been with them Michael?
Michael: It wasn’t me that mis-advised them. I was hired 6-7 months ago and forced them to start operating accordingly.
Stakeholder: Is the hookah still there? Will you still have hookah there.
Michael: Yes. That's the plan. It is part of the cultural thing
Barbara: How can you have smoking and alcohol served in the same place? The City Ordinance doesn't allow smoking. What are you going to do to prevent the smoke from spreading around the neighborhood? My roommate will go into the backyard and smell the smoke. I smell it all the time. What are you going to do to control the smoke?
Michael: There is grayness about hookah because of the cultural circumstance being smoked since the ordinance prohibits cigarette smoke and food and drink. The ordinance is poorly written. We are working with City Attorney and building and safety to clarify the situation. We are exploring devices such as fans to disperse the smoke. If there are things we are doing that are impacting you we have to know. We will address those concerns.
Stakeholder: My concern about the special events is that if you’re going to have people from the outside putting these together, what are you doing to prevent things like these “flash parties” happening. You have control of the venue but you don’t have control of who comes in.
Michael: We would offer the venue and know what the party is and inform those renting the venue for the event of the restrictions. If someone lies to us about their intentions for the venues use than we’ve been duped. But we can certainly control who comes in to use the venue and who doesn’t.
Stakeholder: What kind of events realistically would you have if you cannot have dancing?
Michael: Birthday parties, graduation parties, things of that nature. We say what they can and can’t do. We write the rules and they sign a contract. We will say there will be no music and dancing, only ambience in the background.
Tara: We write the rules, what can and what cannot be done. There is a signed contract. We won't allow dancing, only background music.
Stakeholder: I would love to have an upscale Middle Eastern restaurant in our neighborhood and I realize you’re talking about a different culture. Los Angeles really is an early city, is it not New York, it is not New Orleans, good restaurants close early. If you want to be a good restaurant, upscale, like you keep saying, I don’t see why you need an extra hour on those nights.
Stakeholder: You can’t control what patrons are going to do, even with valet. I was the area 7 chair several years ago and other business have the same issues and they’re still unresolved. The owner is not going to stay out there and hold the valet’s hand every single night. I hope you can understand that we as a neighborhood have to look at our experience to make decisions. People really want a business that closes at 11pm. People don’t want hard alcohol served. The Pikey was grandfathered in, Yes, Aroma has a full line and it is a further down. You do not have to be a brain surgeon but that is a different neighborhood and area. The stakeholders are different there than they are here. You should take what we say and go back to the drawing board and work with us.
Michael: It’s about service. People can get just as drunk on beer and wine. This is about the operators. We’re going to take everything you said and rattle it down to what we need to survive.
Stakeholder: People do not get in their cars right away with valet, there are always lines and people are held up talking. The cars are doubled parked and we can’t get down the street. If you can’t manage these people and what they’re doing on our street.
Stakeholder: Aroma came to quite a few meetings and they were good neighbors in the Valley. We have not had that positive experience with you after all of these years. We have all invested a lot of money in our homes and stand to lose a lot of money if your business goes forward, especially with what we invest in our own properties. Aroma has ample parking– you have chosen the wrong location to open.
Stakeholder: You had said in previous meetings you would be open for breakfast and lunch. I see on weekends you’re open for brunch but that’s it. If you were open more, maybe that would help your business. When we met with Tara’s daughters they said they would never have alcohol, their parents would disown them.
Tara: We were open for lunch for six months last year.
Stakeholder: Whose name will be on the liquor license ?
Michael: License is personal to the operator.
Stakeholder: And that 24 special events? This is putting your case in the toilet. That is one event every other week
Tara: Last year we only had four. We could have had 24. Like you guys said, you don't know what's coming from them, I don’t care for the special events as much as having a nice atmosphere to eat their food. Three of those special events were a charity. They brought in their own liquor.
Stakeholder: Then you go with four special events.
Michael: Okay, Four events per year.
Stakeholder: I do not believe in hookah and a full line of alcohol or alcohol. You got hookah too and kids from Fairfax High liking you on Facebook. This is an R1 residential neighborhood to the south of Sunset there is an HPOZ and to the north is a pending HPOZ.
Tara: Fifty-percent of our business is food and tea.
Stakeholder: Will you drop to just beer and wine.?
Stakeholder: Will you drop happy hour ?
Michael: At this point we will not. We will change it to four special events.
Stakeholder: Talks about how this property was a home. Than it became a church. It hours of operation were Monday through Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm and Wednesday night study group that ended at 9:30. They also had Sunday morning services there were approximately 80 people. I am holding on to 11:00pm. Hard closure on the outside patio at 11:00pm. Limited to beer and wine only for a restaurant. The gate for parking lot should be closed and locked at 11:30.
Michael: We are going to ask for 12:00am Thursday through Sunday.
Stakeholder: The propane tanks that are out there are to be locked up. They are a hazard. What about employee parking if you have 10 to 15 employees and there are a total of 32 parking spaces. The offices upstairs have 7 parking spaces.
Michael: We are looking at offsite parking.
Stakeholder: Where did you get 160 seats if the occupancy is 109? The inside is 79 seats and the patio is 30. So you are not permitted for 160.
Michael: We are not permitted for 160, we are requesting to go to 160 seats.
Stakeholder: You are aware that most establishments in this area have an occupancy of 36 seats. You aware you are in the middle of a R1 residential area and you are asking for 160 seats? That is significant. You are talking about 5 people per car to get here.. I don’t feel like your application is as clear as it could be. You are requesting 160, that is not a given. You are advertising “happy hour” and you are offering specials for Sunday football and Monday night football games. What is going to stop you from becoming a bar?
Tara: We are not going to have “happy hour”.
Stakeholder: Why can’t the parking you do on Sunset like Cheebo and Pikey?
Michael: This specific area cannot do that due to traffic flow restrictions. The valet is pursuing DOT to get permits to use those metered parking areas up front for valet.
Stakeholder: How are you fitting the cars in the lot? Are you stacking, is there a back ?
Barbara: You have a loading zone of two spaces on Courtney. If you are approved for the loading zone on Sunset can you remove the loading zone on Courtney?
Michael: We can make the request. I don't know what it's there for. I’ll look into that for you.
Stakeholder: There is litter all over that corner, especially in the morning. There are empty plastic bottles, empty alcohol bottles. Empty cigarette packs and paper.
Tara: People come in at night. We installed the gate to get rid of homeless.
Michael: The gate will be closed and locked half-hour after closing.
Stakeholder: Regarding the events and music.
Michael: We have just cut our special events to four.
Stakeholder: Concern about loosing the no turn signs after 11pm and that all the streets could loose them.
Michael: We're looking into other valet options. We are exploring platinum and other options. We know we need more parking.
Stakeholder: Can people bring liquor into the venue?
Michael: If you do not have an ABC license you cannot bring liquor, that is prohibited by law in the state of California.
Stakeholder: You culture has later dinners but you’re open for breakfast?
Michael: We are not open for lunch. We’re open for brunch Saturday and Sunday.
Stakeholder: Will you be opening for breakfast ?
Stakeholder: Why can’t you spend time becoming a better business and not ask for the later closing time or alcohol. After a year why don’t you come back to us.
Michael: We won’t survive as a business that long.
Stakeholder: On your application you requested to stay open Thursday through Sunday and Holidays till 12:00.
Michael: We are taking holidays off the table.
Stakeholder: We are not the Sunset Strip nor are we further east in Hollywood. We are a quiet residential neighborhood and being affected by this business.
Stakeholder: One night I tried to turn on Courtney before 10 o'clock and I couldn't turn. Your valets had Courtney blocked with four cars and made it impossible to get down the street. After I finally arrive home, I walked back down the street to talk with the valets and they were surly and then the manager came out and was just as surly as the valets. This was in October. I was told I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the congestion on Courtney. The manager that came out to talk to me and said you were not applying for a liquor license. It was a manager, not a valet. It was unpleasant.
Stakeholder: Can you tell me that the restaurant will serve food only. Every night 23 and 24 year old come and smoke hookah and make lots of noise. It has improved some, but every night there is lots of noise, yelling and screaming, then they come outside. Are you going to control it ? How are you going to control this problem?
Michael: We are working on improving the problem.
Stakeholder: People are coming in, it was promised to lock the gate.
Stakeholder: I want to address Shahs of Sunset. It clearly identifies Xai Lounge and your waitress asking do you want red or white wine. You misrepresented the business when you showed on TV you serving alcohol.
Michael: I got the letter from the producers explaining the situation. The server they had serve the alcohol they bought specifically to film is now gone. It was a misrepresentation.
Stakeholder: I been around middle eastern culture and they do not allow liquor.
Stakeholder: Why don’t you say we will close at 11:00pm and go for only beer and wine. I would go for that.
Barbara: Its getting late, people need to get going.
Stakeholder: People a hanging out talking on their cells phones and smoking. The valet sign blocks the driver's view from traffic.
Michael: We will check into that. We will look into valet issues and try to get them on Sunset. We will try to get more valets.
Barbara: People need to leave, we are losing people. I’d like to thank Michael and I’m not going to make a motion. I will wait for you to get back to me.
Michael. We do have the ZA hearing downtown on January 22nd at 10am. If you make a motion based on your conditions and what you’d like to see, if you could make a motion, we can than go to the ZA and put what you want and that way we don’t get delayed. Because delay for us is just costing money. If a motion be made…
Barbara: I’d like to hear it from you first before bringing you to the ZA and come to an agreement about closing at 11pm and only serving beer and wine.
Michael: I think what we can offer you now, closing at 11pm with the full line. That’s what we can offer. It’s so expensive to go back to the beginning of the process.
Stakeholder: This is a hookah lounge. It is more of a hookah lounge than a restaurant. There are a lot of problems to be worked out.
Michael: We know what’s important to us. We have given all we can. The full line is important because of the profit that’s there. This is about the operator and control. This is about people intoxicating and over intoxicating. It’s not about what you serve but how you serve it.
Stakeholder: You keep saying it’s out of our control what people do once they leave.
Michael: That’s out of context how you’re characterizing my words. I would never make those statements. What I said was to educate our patrons, not that it’s out of her control.
Barbara: This is not going to be in your favor.
Michael: I understand that, and I’m happy to present to the ZA what the neighborhood wants to see and then we’ll let the decision maker make the decision.
Stakeholder: No hookah.
Barbara: Are you a hookah lounge or restaurant or bar?
Michael: We’re all three.
Barbara: If you had to give up something?
Michael: We’ve given up hours..
Stakeholder: Close at 11:00pm and show good faith for the year. Don’t ruin your trust with the neighborhood. Show good faith for a year.
Michael: Michaels speaks with Tara.
Michael: You guys are good negotiators and I understand you are a neighborhood and that’s why I want to work with you. Can we have beer and wine and the hours on Friday and Saturday?
Stakeholder: This is a residential neighborhood, this is president setting. there is nothing else open here. The owners knew all this when they came here. This is a quality of life issue.
Michael: If we reduce the hours – we want a full line of liquor.
Stakeholder : My fear is what will replace this if this place fails.
Barbara: Takes a random poll. How many people are in favor of a full line of liquor and closing at 11pm? (Zero). How many people are in favor of serving beer and wine and closing at 11pm? Some hands were raised.
Stakeholder: We want you to succeed as a high end restaurant. Darmaghreb lasted for many years with 11:00pm closing.
Stakeholder: 45 years.
Stakeholder : Withdraw motion.
**Lots of noise** Many of the stakeholder depart thinking that the discussion has ended.
Michael: I’m trying to work with you guys. I don’t need rudeness. That’s not acceptable. My offer is beer and wine; support us in a 6-month plan of approval, so we can prove to you for 6 months.
Stakeholder: Than what are you going to do? Come back to us asking for a full line of liquor. No way. It’s just not going to happen. This is the people’s quality of life here. I understand you’re trying to fix things.
Michael: Not right now a full line of liquor, when we come back.
Stakeholder: I make the motion that the restaurant to be open from 11am-11pm. 7-days a week. 4 events. Parking lot is to be chained and locked and chained one half hour after closing at 11:30pm. There will be no full line of alcohol. You will be an upscale middle eastern restaurant. You haven’t applied for the hookah in your application. Restaurant only, but you are a hookah lounge, most hookah lounge's don't have beer and wine. Move valet to Sunset. As soon as 7pm comes, valet will move to Sunset Blvd. After 7pm, there will be no valet drop off and pick up on Courtney.
Michael: That’s up to DOT. Please help me advocate that.
Stakeholder: So no parking will be on Courtney.
Barbara: Here’s the motion – open from 9am to 11pm, hard closure, 4 events a year, parking closed and locked at 11:30pm, working with valet to park on Sunset and not block Courtney, open 7-days a week, only beer and wine and no after hours delivery.
Stakeholder: I'd like to add to that… Right now it’s 109 seats. Keep no more than 109.
Michael: Yes, but if it’s approved it’s 160 seats. We are applying for that condition.
Stakeholder: What condition?
Michael: There is a condition, that we will get that unless the fire department makes it less.
Stakeholder: It is 109 now and you’ll have to submit new plans for that. This isn't permitted.
Michael: We are submitting plans. It isn't permitted, but we will be submitting plans for that.
Stakeholder: Not 160 seats
Michael: I have to put in the 160 for building and safety. If we get the grant
Barbara: When valet pulls out of the lot, make it so that valet pulls out with lights off.
Michael: If we can do it legally.
Barbara: And the garbage.
Michael: We’ll ensure that we clean the premises upon closing.
Stakeholder: Add no parking on other streets. Has to be an approved lot.
Barbara: I’ll restate this again. Open 9am-11pm, hard closure, 4 events a year, parking closed at 11:30pm and locked, open 7-days a week, working with valet to not have congestion on Courtney, parking on Sunset (if approved by DOT) and no lights on when backing in and out of lot, no after-hours delivery, no DJ’s, bands or live entertainment, just background ambient music, no dancing, no bands. Beer and wine only. Capacity not more than 109.
Barbara: The motion is, Open 9am-11pm, hard closure, 4 events a year, parking closed at 11:30pm and locked, one half hour after 11pm close, open 7-days a week, working with valet to not have congestion on Courtney, move parking to Sunset, and no lights on when backing in and out of lot, no after-hours delivery, no DJ’s, bands or live entertainment, just background ambient movement, no dancing. Beer and wine only, valet has to has an approved lot, the capacity not more than 109.
Tara: If I'm not getting hours and a full line, I would like to have six events a year.
Barbara: Trying to move along, states agreements. Then discussion.
Stakeholder: I seconded it, it’s generally fair. I do want to go on the record that my experiences with this operation have been negative. I don't trust what is going to happen. I’ve had negative experiences with this operation.
Michael: Because we are not getting a full line, Tara wants six special events a year.
Six events a year is agreed upon.
Barbara: All in favor of this motion?
16 in favor for the motion. 11 against the motion. Note: Applicants participated, voted in favor
3) LA Marathon
Barbara: LA Marathon is March 17th, 2013; in the past our neighborhood had a cheering section and water handouts. What I’d like to do is include more tables between La Brea and Crescent Heights.
Stakeholder #1 – As a runner last year I was disappointed that I didn’t see many of these stations at the 13.1 – halfway point in the marathon.
Barbara: I’d like to make a motion to set up five tables/stations between La Brea and Crescent Heights. And that we have cheering sections as well as hand out bottles of water and request $400 for supplies. Who has tables to donate? Does Ralphs or Bristol Farms donate? Who’d like to second this motion?
Stakeholder #2 – I want to make sure you have enough people to fill these five tables.
Stakeholder #3 – What’s involved with this?
Barbara – I motion to get volunteers, people to man the 5 tables, get the water. Get businesses involved and cheering supplies.
4) Area 7 future projects
Stakeholder #1 – I’d love for someone to talk to us about this new valet law that just passed. How citizens can be educated and contribute.
Stakeholder #2 – What is happening to event space?
Barbara: Event space is opening into a Spanish style restaurant, bought by owners of Little Door.
Stakeholder #3 – Is there a way we can get someone to pick up the Palms we dodge on the streets to be picked up?
Barbara: I’ll call council.
Meeting Adjourned at 8:34pm