News

Menlo Park resident appeals BevMo approval

Cites 'loss of focus, specious reasoning, and distorted information'

Beverages & More won a battle in the years-long fight to open a Menlo Park store, but will they 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, as did Ben Eiref, 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.

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.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 8, 2010 at 9:13 pm

What a waste of time! Thanks Hogan!


Like this comment
Posted by Get A Life
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Jack, I second that.


Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2010 at 5:13 am

Agreed Jack. But perhaps more importantly, what a waste of money......I cannot imagine the amount of City Staff time that will be wasted in dealing with this appeal.


Like this comment
Posted by Wow
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 9, 2010 at 5:29 am

Wait...there was a decision, but I did not agree, so one person gets to hold up a whole project? Really??? All the tax income (sales, energy, liquor, tobacco, etc), jobs created (refurb people, delivery people, store workers, cleaners, etc) get put on hold because one person disagrees with the reasoning of the deciding board. Lets just keep the building an empty eyesore because one person disagrees with the reasoning.

That is why businesses flee this city or go elsewhere to begin with. No support, ridiculous rules, no parking, and a small group of citizens who will fight tooth and nail and delay any business. Remember how long it took to rebuild 7-11 after it burnt down. That wasn't the owner...it was the million hoops he had to jump through. I have talked to other business owners and this is a consistent theme. They all want to have their businesses in MP, they all want to contribute to MP, but eventually grow tired of the constant battles.


Like this comment
Posted by All for it
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 9, 2010 at 7:18 am

I'm all for due process, and if someone feels that strongly, I am glad that our city has an appeal process in place to address these matters. I'm sure that the appealing party did not take this lightly as there is a fee involved in submitting an appeal, and certainly time on their part as well.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 9, 2010 at 7:31 am

Interested states".I cannot imagine the amount of City Staff time that will be wasted in dealing with this appeal."

The smartest thing the City Manager can do is to simply forward the Planning Commission approval with his recommendation that the Council support that recommendation and with no additional staff work. Put the burden on the appelant to prove otherwise.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 9, 2010 at 8:05 am

Hmmmmmmmm. Could Hogan have some connection to the Draegers or the Beltramos?


Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

Peter...Excellent idea...

Allforit.....Can you tell us what the fee is to file the appeal?


Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2010 at 10:44 am

Anyone who knows how city government works knows that there is an automatic appeal process dictated by law that provides for an appeal of any planning commission decision to the city council. When you get something approved by the PC you are informed that its not official until the number of days (I think 15 or 30) that the public can appeal has passed. I assumed such an appeal would be filed. I won't presume to know the motivation of the person who filed the appeal, but, it is interesting to note from the article that the basis is worded almost exactly like that of the protestations espoused by the business owners who tried to stop the PC approval. Maybe free wine or a discount at Keplers or Draegers or maybe all three? Peter is absolutely correct, however. This should be sent to council with a recommendation to endorse the decision of the PC, and the council should do so with little or no debate. A new staff ereport is not necessary. But, it is an election year!


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 9, 2010 at 10:47 am

Yes, the burden should definitely be on the appellant to prove the PC was in error.

Planning Commissioners should be in attendance to support their official positions and defend their decision.


Like this comment
Posted by Slippery Sam
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

If the competition is a problem, let's revoke the Beltramo's permit and help the other stores in the area.


This is another reason to vote against the Bohannon project: the hotel will take revenue from other hotels in the area.


this is a slippery slope.


Like this comment
Posted by Just pay them off!
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Dear Beltramos,

You need to study carefully what happened with the Bohannon Project and the Council majority (two of which are running for re-election). These council members as candidates ran on a "small town feel" platform, that is against all big development in Menlo Park. (Remember the Derry Project as well as the 1300 El Camino project?). Then, lo and behold, they up and support one of the biggest developments that will ever happen in our city -- the Bohannon Project. Most of them, including one of the incumbents running for re-election, even signed the ballot argument FOR the Bohannon Project. What gives? I can only see that some heavy-duty political promises were given to these politicians. So, Beltramos, just promise some campaign cash and help; that should get you what you want. It's worked for the employee unions -- remember the 35% retroactive pension increases for EVERY non-police employee? How about the 20% plus salary increases for our police who, by the way, get to retire at age 50 with 90% of their best and last salary -- for life.


Like this comment
Posted by Let Freedom Ring!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm

It sounds like Maureen Hogan is appealing the council decision based on emotion ("I observed several disturbing themes in the Commission's deliberations: loss of focus, specious reasoning, and distorted information," she wrote.) instead of fact. If this was the case for every new venue or business that was getting approval nothing would ever get accomplished. Now lets look at the facts: By having BevMo in our beloved town people will have another convenient choice at competitive prices, more revenue for the city and jobs for locals!

Collectively we need to stand together as a community and not let one or two families determine who is allowed to operate in our town!

City Council do the right thing and let BevMo open in Menlo Park


Like this comment
Posted by Fair Competition
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 9, 2010 at 10:25 pm

If there was another day care, pet hospital, hair salon, or coffee shop, there would be no discussion about fair competition. But in Menlo Park, if you want to have fair competition for booze or groceries, watch out for Beltramo's or Dreagers. Of course, Hogan is Diana Beltramo Hewitt's friends, not just a concerned citizen. Give me a break, this used to be a Chili's chain restaurant, not some quaint local business. This backs up to the railroad tracks. A new BevMo will not lower us on the "classy" scale.


Like this comment
Posted by Good Neighbor
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 10, 2010 at 7:14 am

What a surprise about Hogan. Perhaps she should change her first name to "Patsy!"


Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

Thanks "Fair Competition!"

That is the kind of news we need to know. If Hogan is friends with a Beltramo then we need to know that.

Thanks again!


Like this comment
Posted by Why do we want discount liquor stores?
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

I'm glad that the City Council is planning to hear the case on BevMo. I really don't think that having a discount liquor store is what we need in Menlo Park. I view it as a symbol of decline and certainly not how I viewed Menlo Park when I moved here. I believe that this is why there is a separate approval process for stores that sell liquor.

Why would we attack someone who believes this worthy of the City Council? I'm glad it will be discussed.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

Why do we want discount liquor stores? said "I really don't think that having a discount liquor store is what we need in Menlo Park."

Suggestion: Don't shop there.


Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2010 at 10:56 am

Why do we want discount liquor stores - First, BevMo is a quality retailer that happens to be in the same business as Beltramos, but which due to its business model can sell similar/identical products for a lower price. This is the same difference that exists between Dreagers and either Safeway or Trader Joes. Discount is not a bad word anyway, nor is it "a sign of decline". Empty store fronts, weeds growing in empty parking lots, and businesses moving out are signs of decline.


Like this comment
Posted by Free Market
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Competition is generally to everyone's benefit. BevMo already has over 1200 Menlo Park Customers on their mailing list. The major loss of business will be to their Redwood City location, not to Beltramos. Besides, the Beltramos announced more than a decade ago that they want to close this store, and build something else on the site. Should we protect them until they can make the most profit by closing the store and taking the jobs and tax revenues away?

Seems to me the choice should be easy: do we want Tax revenue, jobs and a future, or protection only for existing businesses, while we watch El Camino slowly become a ghost town, which it feels a bit like since all the car dealers went away.

Government protection of competitors is not the way to a healthy and vibrant community.


Like this comment
Posted by Savoir Faire
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I drink champagne and that's all we serve for election parties.
This year is no different. All we like is Crystal and Veuve Cliquot.
When we order in cases, the savings are in the thousands which go directly into our candidates campaigns.
I doubt if Meg Whitman supporters drink anything but beer as she is said to prefer.......however, I believe she would approve of BevMo primarily because of free enterprise.
Anyone who is not willing to pay $50 a bottle less at BevMo, is not too smart......
Also, they are able to order caviar for us and they are accomodating to people whose orders are over $10,000 a trip.


Like this comment
Posted by LetsDoThisMaureen!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Maureen,
Thanks for signing us up for another wonderful spectacle, that council meet was outrageous and I'm looking forward to the sequel! Unfortunately, I would rather have the Bevmo right now. I am impressed that you were able to hold this up, bravo Maureen! Just please don't do it again.


Like this comment
Posted by Lets C Now
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 10, 2010 at 11:39 pm

So, we don't want to inconvenience current business operators with additional competition. And all that added traffic that a discount liquor store will generate! Hmmm ... hotels, fitness centers, office buildings, 13,131 daily vehicle trips. Ms Hogan, will you join me in voting NO on Measure T?


Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2010 at 7:49 am

Thanks Freemarket for telling it like it is........

I will never forget that pictures in the Almanac of Kepler employees turning up for work only to find that Kepler had locked the doors and was closed......I would bet dollars for donuts Bevmo will have more respect for the community and its employees. His father would have turned in his grave


Like this comment
Posted by Good Neighbor
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 6, 2010 at 9:02 am

The profits at Beltramos must be extraordinary for them to fight so hard to stop another liquor store from coming to town. Although BevMo is characterized as "Big Box," most big box stores are 50,000 square feet or more. The BevMo store is 9,000 compared to Beltramos which is 18,000 square feet. Who is bigger? For anyone trying to find out who the woman are opposing BevMo, read the post by Fair Competition after the 9/8/10 article in the Almanac.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I went to BevMo today and, as POGO stated, the market will prevail. They do not stock what I wanted and were overpriced on other items. I left without making a purchase.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Salt & Straw Palo Alto to open Nov. 23
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 4,217 views

Lakes and Larders (part 2)
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,449 views