Bars that earn more than 50% of their revenue from alcohol sales must operate on land with special CS-1 zoning. They also need a conditional use permit that may impose conditions for operation. Rick Engel, the Little Woodrow’s owner, started out over a year ago by seeking the rezoning to CS-1. Brentwood Neighborhood Association and adjacent neighbors opposed, but City Council in February 2013 voted 5-2 to approve the rezoning. Council Members Morrison and Tovo opposed.
As part of that vote, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole held last-minute negotiations between Engel and some adjacent neighbors that locked down terms to be applied to the conditional use permit. The CS-1 footprint was reduced from 8,000 sq ft to 5440 sq ft (the amount that the bar actually needed), and these residents agreed to accept 2 AM operating hours on weekends and holidays.
However, most stakeholders including the Brentwood and Allandale neighborhood associations were not part of this negotiation and continued to oppose the bar. In December, Planning Commission in a 2-3 split decision failed to approve the conditional use permit. Two commissioners voted to reject the permit, and three voted to approve based on staff’s recommendation of stricter conditions on hours, parking and noise.
Little Woodrow’s then appealed to Council.