In a unanimous vote, Menlo Park's City Council has upheld a twice-appealed decision to award a permit for outdoor seating in front of Peet's and Rubio's at the Safeway complex on El Camino Real.
The permit will also allow for on-site beer and wine sales at Rubio's.
The council considered the appeal, brought by Middle Avenue resident Elizabeth Houck, at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 2. Speaking at the meeting, Ms. Houck said she did not oppose outdoor seating, but rather that she felt Safeway had not honored a variety of conditions it agreed to when the city approved plans for its remodel in 2005.
"There seems to be a lack of accountability, and there seems to be a degrading of the intent of the project," she said, citing among other things the fact that Safeway delivery vans sit in the parking lot for part of the day.
Council members said that, while they understood the concerns of Ms. Houck and other nearby residents, most of those concerns were unrelated to the specific permit she had appealed.
"It's clear there have been some compromises, it's clear that not everybody's happy, but I think that to some extent that's the nature of these things," said Councilman John Boyle.
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 7-0 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.