Tonight: Beltramo's vs. BevMo

Menlo mayor says 'residents own the town, not businesses'

Should another liquor store be allowed to open in Menlo Park? Should city government regulate economic competition? Those are the questions the City Council faces at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9, when considering whether to let Beverages & More (BevMo) open a store at 700 El Camino Real.

In a 4-3 vote, the Planning Commission in August granted BevMo a use permit to open an 8,788-square-foot store in the same strip mall where Staples and Big 5 operate.

When Menlo Park resident Maureen Hogan appealed the decision, leaving the final outcome in the hands of the council, it gave local retailer Beltramo's time to rouse spirited opposition to the chain store.

Beltramo's did not respond to requests for comment about a Daily News story that reported the wine-and-spirits retailer had ordered all employees to attend the council meeting and oppose BevMo.

Mayor Rich Cline said he understood that the Beltramos are concerned about new competition, but that residents should be able to decide the town's future without coercion.

"I believe when there are cloaked surveys or a small cabal of businesses working together but hiding under or behind a public proxy is when we should question the motive -- as we saw with the opposition to 1300 El Camino Real. The fact is residents own the town, not businesses," said Mr. Cline.

Ms. Hogan, along with other supporters of local businesses, such as Beltramo's and Draeger's, have bombarded the council with e-mails stating their opposition to the store.

Other residents wrote the city to say the council should not interfere with a free market economy, and that fear of competition isn't a good enough reason to deny BevMo's permit.

Councilman Heyward Robinson, referring to the "overwhelming number" of public comments already sent to the council, said he hopes the mayor will manage public comments during the meeting so that the council can make a decision at a reasonable hour.

Emotions are running high for everyone interested in the outcome of the council's decision – sometimes even within the same household. Mr. Robinson mentioned receiving conflicting comments from a husband and wife.

"Like the Civil War, this can divide families," he said, laughing. "There's a lot of passion on both sides."

The council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Menlo Park Civic Center (701 Laurel St.) on Tuesday.

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Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Competition is the American Way. Beltramo's....get with the program.
Both will do fine. BevMo and Beltramo's serve a different demographic and market niche.

Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2010 at 8:40 am

The Planning Commission did its job, now its time for the City Council to do the same. Deny the appeal and allow a new (tax producing) business to operate in MP AND a new tenant to rent space in the mall.

Like this comment
Posted by Competition is Good
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 9, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Who RU people.
Are you advocating to have Safeway, Draegers, 7-11 and the other stores in Menlo be barred from competing with Beltramo's for alcohol sales. What "new" business will fill the space that would meet your criteria? If it was so easy to do business in Menlo someone would have moved into the old Chili's space a long time ago. I don't see a lot of activity for the Ford, Lincoln Mercury, Buick spaces on El Camino. There are a number of empty spaces in downtown Menlo and a lot of empty offices in Bohannon Park. Plenty of room and no one wants it.
Bev Mo will create tax revenue; its a good thing for Menlo.

Like this comment
Posted by Central Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I've posted a few times in support of BevMo and that hasn't changed.

Except that my position prior was to continue as a loyal customer to Beltramo's. That may be changing. Enough crybaby, Beltramos. I think I'll shop at the store that offers the best value, customer service, and selection.

Like this comment
Posted by What's $18K?
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I guess the question if we are asking about tax revenue is: Does $18K of tax revenue cover the amount of policing that will need to be done as we bring a different and most likely unwanted demographic into town? Let's be real, if the land has been this unoccupied for this long is it really worth allowing another "BIG BOX" store into town? Safeway isn't big enough?

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm

what would this "unwanted demographic" be exactly. People willing to spend their money in Menlo Park and thus contributing taxes to our city. Boy, nothing but negatives with that picture.

Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Yes, What's $18K? got it. Raise property taxes and keep out those unwanted demographics. Even set up sobriety check points on El Camino Real after each Stanford Game to increase tax revenue.

Like this comment
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

That's me, married, 50+, we like entertain.

Seriously, was $18k Woodside thinking something else...wanting to protect our pristine community? But we already live in a diverse neighborhood (we all use different housekeepers!). Clearly, $18k Woodside would want to ambitiously protect ourselves from any more diversity.

Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

to Competion is Good--my friend, you completely misinterprted my comment. I absolutely support BEVMO and their application. The issue before the city council is whether or not to uphold or deny an appeal by a resident of the Planning Commission decision that approved BEVMO's use application. I said, "DENY THE APPEAL". Meaning, support the Planning Commission in its previous approval of BEVMO's application. Not only has this issue, which was totally orchastrated by Beltramos, represented a travesty in terms of using the "system, if you read the staff report prepared for tonights council meeting, you'll see it had to have cost the tax payers of Menlo Park a lot of money in staff hours put into formulating that report. A report, by the way, that recommends that council deny the appeal and grant BEVMO their permit--great job City staff, good for you!!!

Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I have what I think is a great idea!! There is an article on the Almanac's web page about 10 local resteraunts offering discounts tonight with the proceeds going to MEALS ON WHEELS. How about this--everyone, go to the City Council meeting (starts at 7:00 and this item is #1 on the agenda) and overwhelm them with support for BEVMO, and then go have a nice dinner at one of these great establishments and support a very worth cause. Two ways to feel good about yourself tomorrow!

Like this comment
Posted by looking on
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Well it is a done deal now.

On a 3:2 vote, council denied the appeal and upheld the planning commission approval to allow BevMo to start business in Menlo Park at 700 El Camino, at the location where Chili's restaurant vacated.

Cline, Boyle and Cohen voted yes. Fergusson and her sidekick, soon to be gone, Robinson voted no.

The grand Beltramo, Draegers blockade has finally been broken. Thank heavens.

Like this comment
Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 9, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Web Link

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

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