http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/11/23/council-to-vote-on-downtown-guidelines-tuesday


Pleasanton Weekly

News - November 23, 2012

Council to vote on downtown guidelines Tuesday

Bars, restaurants could stay open later, offer more entertainment

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton City Council will consider new rules governing entertainment in Pleasanton's downtown district at a special meeting it has called for next Tuesday.

If adopted, the proposed Downtown Hospitality Guidelines will be one of the last actions taken by the current council before two new council members and a new mayor are sworn into office Dec. 4.

The council's action also would wrap up nearly three years of bickering among businesses and regulators over how much more sizzle bars and restaurants should be given to attract late night revelers to the downtown. Up to now, businesses had to seek special use permits to stay open after 10 p.m., often with different decisions and time limits from the regulators. The new guidelines would move permitted operating uses to 11 p.m. with no permit required.

The new guidelines call for two new zoning districts: a downtown central core area that mostly fronts on Main Street and a few side streets where late night entertainment would be allowed, and a transition area where business would still need to seek permits to operate late into the night.

Noise limits also would be raised in some areas with more freedom by business owners to monitor noise levels without more strict monitoring equipment.

The city Planning Commission approved the new guidelines a week ago.

As proposed, the new hour, noise and operation requirements would apply throughout the downtown district from the Arroyo del Valle Main Street bridge on the north to Bernal Avenue on the south. Businesses on both sides of Main Street would be included in the core area with those fronting on Peters Avenue to be part of the transition zone.

Although there has been little opposition to the new entertainment guidelines, some whose homes are close to downtown establishments sought assurances that noise levels would stay controlled.

The Planning Commission held a public field trip downtown last month with a noise consultant who used a noise meter to record sound levels at such locations as Handles Gastropub on Main Street, Fernando's Mexican Restaurant on St. Mary Street and at the intersection of St. Mary and Peters Avenue, where a number of homes are located.

At each location, the recorded noise levels met the allowable residential noise level requirements, with some exceptions when a car, bus or train passed by.

Another concern of both downtown businesses and homeowners dealt with loitering, especially noticed after businesses have closed for the night. The Planning Commission, however, determined that Pleasanton police actively patrol the downtown and effectively deal with loiterers.

The new guidelines, if adopted by the council, would lock in the new core and transition zoning districts. New businesses seeking to offer late night entertainment would have to abide by those restrictions in seeking downtown locations.

The City Council meeting will start at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

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