The private Leucadia Club crossed the final hurdle, at least as far as the city of Encinitas is concerned, when the City Council on Dec. 14 did not uphold an appeal of the Planning Commission’s August decision that allows the club to sell alcohol to members on a restricted liquor license.
This was the second appeal heard by the Council in as many months, both involving residents of the same Leucadia alley just west of Coast Highway 101 around Europa Street being unhappy with nearby building use.
Perhaps most notable about the appeal is that it once again brought attention to a situation the Council seems interested in exploring.
“These issues with the alleyway are pretty extreme, and it’s my hope that we can get some ideas on the table on how to address this,” said Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz.
Adding another establishment with a liquor license to the area, which also includes alcohol-licensed Pandora’s Pizza, was one main component of resident Tim Calver’s appeal regarding the Leucadia Club. Calver said alcohol-fueled trespassing and noisy conversations were a problem for him and his family. However, Leucadia Club representative Scott Leslie said his organization had, with the blessing of the fire department, sealed shut the back windows closest to the residential homes to eliminate noise.
Another complaint is the blocking of the alley by delivery trucks, a problem the city staff and Mayor Catherine Blakespear didn’t see as linked to the Leucadia Club, since the approved permit only allows for 20 people to be in the building at a time so truckfuls of alcohol would not be needed.
The Council did acknowledge a possible existing problem with the delivery trucks and other vehicles blocking the alleyway, especially as it had also been cited during the November appeal of The Beacon’s Project, a proposed mixed-use development next to that same alley.
“One of the conditions of the permit is (the Leucadia Club) will not take deliveries in the back, but that doesn’t seem like it is going to alleviate the problems with the alleyway … and it’s important to recognize (residents’) frustration,” Kranz said.
It was for that very reason that Council member Mark Muir did not support the motion denying the appeal, effectively voting on the side of the residents to block the Leucadia Club permit. Since the Council is currently just four members, pending an appointment expected next month, and because new Council member Tasha Boerner Horvath had to recuse herself after she had voted on the original permit as a Planning Commissioner, Muir’s dissention made it a 2-1 vote to deny the appeal.
Three votes were needed for that motion to pass, however, without the needed three votes to grant the appeal, the Planning Commission’s original judgment to grant the permit stands.
It was a complicated way to get to an expected rejection of the appeal, but the Council found the exercise valuable as it shed more light on the situation in that particular area of the city.
“Leucadia is changing,” Blakespear said. “The reality is, the zoning is such that we have residences and business next to each other, so we will be having these places where there are these frictions.”