Santa Ana Planning Commissioners decide to wing it

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Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant

Yesterday the Santa Ana Planning Commission was asked to consider a Conditional Use Permit requested by the owners of the new Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant that is supposed to open up at 1945 East Seventeenth St., over by Tustin Ave. This is the new building that you may have seen being built next to OSH.

The CUP involved granting an Alcohol Beverage License and allowing this new restaurant to be open after-hours.

Normally this type of CUP would be no big deal, but a number of residents in the immediate area showed up and were not happy about this restaurant opening up literally in their backyard.

Santa Ana Businessman Mike Tardiff, who also resides in the area, sent me these comments regarding this development and the CUP request:

Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar is asking for an exception from the code via a Conditional Use Permit. They are requesting to stay open until midnight during the week — and until 1:00 am on Friday and Saturday nights. These operational hours will place an extreme hardship on residents of Parkwood, Meredith and Portola neighborhoods.

Portola Neighborhood

These are homes of Santa Ana working families. Many of whom go to bed early in order to wake early for work. You can imagine the hardship placed on these residents when any number of noises generated by extended hours wake them at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.

Noises such as car doors opening and closing, car alarms, loud patrons and employees leaving the sports bar, loud music and engine noises from vehicles and many more. This will be a difficult situation for residents to cope with even if the business were to operate during normal hours of restaurant opening and closing.

The noise and other problems will negatively effect property values in the neighborhood. This will discourage home ownership and encourage more rentals. This will lead to increased graffiti and crime for the entire neighborhood, not just those residents immediately adjacent to Buffalo Wild Wings.

Buffalo Wild Wings should not be granted an exception to the code to be able to operate into the early morning hours.

They should be required to operate by the same rules as other restaurants in Santa Ana which the Planning Commission has restricted to 10:00 pm closing.

Planning Commissioner Harvey De La Torre decided to fight for the residents and he ended up tangling with his fellow Commissioner, Sean MIll. I believe that George Collins has put some of the audio, if not the video, up at his website, Santa Ana Insight.

Mill brought up an interesting point – De La Torre was happy to give the Crosby bar everything they wanted when the Planning Commission considered the Crosby’s CUP. Here’s the rub – the owners of the Crosby are newcomers to the bar and restaurant business, while the owners of the Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant are seasoned pros who have had success in locations all over the United States.

Ultimately De La Torre voted along with Mill and the other Commissioners to grant the CUP request to Buffalo Wild Wings.

Normally I would side with the residents in matters like these, but I agree in this case with Mill. We need businesses like this in our town. They will bring tax revenue and give folks something to do locally. And I don’t think they will be such awful neighbors. I live a ten minute walk away from the MainPlace Mall and the CityPlace. There are restaurants in both locations and I have never observed any issues. But I don’t like that McCormick & Schmick’s closes at ten p.m. That is far too early.

Furthermore, I don’t buy that clients of this new restaurant will be cutting through neighborhood streets to get to Buffalo Wild Wings. They will use Seventeenth and Tustin. And the location is freeway close.

Mill also brought up a few good points – this place is a sports bar. Of course they have to be open early on Sundays and later during the week. That makes sense to me.

I am a lot more upset about the stupid luxury condo tower that developer Robert Bisno wants to build near the Park Santiago neighborhood. That project will dump thousands of cars onto an already crowded Main St. But this new restaurant doesn’t look to be anything more than a neat new place to hang out. I really can’t fault the Planning Commission for approving the CUP.

I do feel bad for the owners of this new restaurant.  Little do they know what they are in for!  I hope their business does not get tagged, robbed and shot at.

Readers?  What say you?

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.