Almanac

News - September 15, 2010

Resident appeals BevMo approval

by Sandy Brundage

Beverages & More won a battle in the years-long fight to open a Menlo Park store, but will it win the war? After the Planning Commission's 4-3 approval of the retailer's use permit on Aug. 23, a city resident has decided to appeal the decision to the City Council.

Maureen Hogan sent a letter on Sept. 1 to the city clerk's office that outlined her reasoning. "I observed several disturbing themes in the Commission's deliberations: loss of focus, specious reasoning, and distorted information," she wrote.

Ms. Hogan challenged the public convenience and necessity for a BevMo at the former site of Chili's Restaurant at 700 El Camino Real, given that Safeway is right across the street.

She also disagreed with the commissioners who stated that the chain retailer posed no threat to the other eight wine and spirits merchants in Menlo Park, and questioned whether the city would actually benefit.

Ms. Hogan did not respond to The Almanac's request for comment.

City Attorney Bill McClure explained that the City Council must hold a hearing within 75 days after the appeal is filed. Based on the time needed to compile a staff report, and notify the public, he thought the hearing might occur in late October.

Jeff Sealy, the chain's vice president of real estate, said, "We obviously want to have that hearing sooner rather than later."

BevMo representatives will attend, he said, and make their case again.

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