News - February 3, 2010

Outdoor seating at Safeway complex?

A routine administrative permit allowing for outdoor seating at the Safeway complex on El Camino Real has been appealed all the way to Menlo Park's City Council.

The council will consider the appeal, brought by Middle Avenue resident Elizabeth Houck, at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 2. In the short, handwritten letter Ms. Houck filed with the city Dec. 12, 2009, she does not say which aspects of the permit she objects to — only that she believes it does not comply with the intent of the city's permitting guidelines.

The permit would allow Rubio's and Peet's, two of the businesses in the complex, to provide outdoor seating for their customers.

Ms. Houck had previously appealed the planning department's approval of the permit to the Planning Commission, asking for more landscaping, better access to wheelchairs, strollers and bikes around the seating area, and better-looking cigarette ash cans, among other things. The commission amended some of the conditions of the permit and approved it in a 5-0 vote at its Dec. 7 meeting.

Ms. Houck had been part of a neighborhood group that worked with Safeway for several years on plans for its remodel, approved by the council in 2005. She did not respond to a request for comment from The Almanac.

The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, between Laurel and Alma streets in the Civic Center complex.


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