Intensification of Use of Mozambique Restaurant

The restaurant known as Mozambique asked for permission to expand despite the lack of sufficient parking to accommodate the intensification. The Planning Commission found the request inconsistent with the City’s parking regulations, and in response to the applicant’s appeal the City Council agreed to postpone any expansion while it considered modifications of the parking code that might accommodate the restaurant’s van-transport system. Village Laguna supported the neighbors in pointing to the numerous violations of previous conditions of approval, and the result was a commitment of the applicant to prevent employees from parking in the neighboring Quiet Zone.

Village Laguna’s letter to the Council on the appeal:

We support the Planning Commission’s denial of the Mozambique proposal and its concerns about the applicant’s lack of compliance with earlier permit conditions.

We question the suitability of parking lifts for a heavily visited nightclub in a residential area, where the ‘chunking’ sound that staff mentions and the noise of moving cars is likely to be multiplied many times over in the middle of the night. The logistics of moving cars in and out of the lifts in the tight confines of the parking lot will cause waiting cars to back up on Agate Street, causing further congestion. Before parking lifts are approved for any site, their suitability and visual impacts should be studied.

The lift solution would still leave a parking deficit, anyway, and you can’t grant a variance when the ‘hardship’ involved is self-induced—driven by the applicant’s desire to put more on this property than it can support. There are no special circumstances applicable to the property, and granting the variance requested would increase the need for employee parking in a neighborhood already burdened by 40-45 additional cars on weekend nights even in the off-season. Finally, a variance to allow this intensification of use would be in direct conflict with the Land Use Element of the General Plan (Policy 5.4), which calls for preserving the livability of neighborhoods adjacent to commercial districts by regulating and minimizing impacts from commercial activities, including employee parking.

We oppose the alternative recommendations offered by staff. Allowing special events with shuttle service for a year would be difficult to monitor and enforce, and a professional noise study is preferable to an informal one conducted by staff.

The conditions of previous permits that haven’t been fulfilled include no dancing, doors closed, nine not twelve umbrellas, umbrellas closed after 4 pm, no lighting on the railing, ‘surplus’ floor area closed off as promised, and removal of the storage container.

We hope that the City will require compliance with all of these previous conditions before considering any further permits or requests for this property.

Mozambique Infringement of Previous Agreement

Village Laguna’s Letter to City Council, October 6, 2015:

We agree with staff that the Mozambique parking program should remain as you approved it in December. If it’s making a difference to the comfort of the neighborhood, there’s every reason to require that it continue. For the same reason, this time going beyond the staff recommendation, we would like to see the weekend security patrols continued.

We also agree with staff that the noise control conditions approved in December, including the requirement of the remaining acoustical audits, should remain in force. In addition, we think that Condition No. 18 confining DJ or other entertainment to the fully enclosed bar area is worth keeping for the way it spells out what is intended.

We note in passing that the umbrellas on the rooftop deck are supposed to be limited to nine and to be closed after 4 p.m. On Sunday evening at 6 p.m. there were at least a dozen, creating a virtually solid roof that would have blocked any view of the sunset from the houses behind it. We hope that you’ll take the opportunity to call this violation to the applicant’s attention and get it corrected.

Sincerely, Johanna Felder, President, Village Laguna

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