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Panel: No Alcohol for Los Rios Eatery

Property owner Monica Mukai will get one more chance at City Council to convince officials that the Hummingbird House Café should be able to serve beer and wine.

Whether the should serve beer and wine will next go to the City Council, but it now has two commission recommendations for denial.

The Planning Commission heard the request Tuesday from property owner Monica Mukai, who bought the Lupe Combs house right on the railroad tracks in the , in 2005.

She’s seeking two other changes besides the right for the tenant restaurant to serve alcohol, permission for outdoor sales and a bathroom addition for the “jail house” studio adjacent to the Combs house.

The Planning Commission was pretty much in step with : No on the alcohol, yes on everything else.

Two restaurants, the and the , serve alcohol. But that’s because they applied during a short period of time in the 1990s when the city OK’d the beverages to be sold in the city’s – and the state’s – oldest residential neighborhood, said Bill Ramsey, assistant director of development services.

After about 14 months, the city reversed itself, and nobody in the area has been able to add beer and wine to his menu since.

Planning Commissioners said that if they allowed Hummingbird House Café to offer alcohol, it would become a “slippery slope,” and soon others in the district would follow suit.

“That would be a bad precedent,” said Commissioner Gene Ratcliffe. “I’m more concerned about the long-term ramifications and the precedent it would set.”

Commissioner Jeff Parkhurst was the sole voice who didn't mind alcohol sales, especially because all businesses must close shop by 5 p.m.

“So someone has a beer instead of soda with a lunch. I don’t see that as an issue,” he said.

The commission gave approval for a bathroom addition to the jail house, where currently a women’s clothing shop is located. While earlier, the Cultural Heritage Commission members said they had a problem with the bathroom having a bathtub, planning commissioners didn’t even mention it.

Blue Eyed Girl, however, will be leaving soon, Mukai said, because the city forced the shop to bring down an outdoor clothing line display.

Ramsey said businesses in the Los Rios District can have outdoor displays, but only if the owners live on the property.

Mukai asked that rule be changed, and the Planning Commission agreed, recommending that the City Council approve it. The council is likely to get the requests in October.

Dusty W Otero September 12, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Good move ... Alcohol is running wild in our town how many more booze it up stops do we need,,,I am sure most of these people get in there cars and drive,,,and yes a few glasses of wine and you are buzzed.....

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