A county commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to delay a ruling on permit to serve alcohol at a proposed Indian restaurant at the northeast corner of Altadena Drive and Washington Boulevard so the Altadena Town Council can discuss the issue at its May 15 meeting.
The restaurant is part of a that once housed a florist at a strip mall at the corner.
The owner of the property is Dr. Nirmal Kumar, who runs a medical practice at that location. The new retail building would replace a small outlying building on the spot that used to house a florist.
The Town Council's Land Use Committee discussed the issue Tuesday night and voted to recommend that the Town Council support the permit with the stipulation that the hours for serving alcohol be limited to 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends, according to Mark Goldschmidt, the chair of the committee. There were two no votes from members who were in favor of a 10 p.m. limit on week days, and 11 p.m. on weekends, according to Diane Marcussen, one of the two Land Use members to vote against the motion.
Because the Land Use vote went in favor of supporting the permit, Burke Farrar of Odyssey Development Services, who represents Kumar, asked the County Regional Planning Commission to grant the permit at Wednesday's meeting.
The delay of two weeks will mean that Kumar will need to pay several hundred dollars in fees to extend building permits that are due to expire this week. In addition, Kumar noted he will need to continue to pay Farrar to represent him until the permit issue is resolved.
Kumar even told the commission that if they approved his permit on Wednesday, he would be willing to pay for the Town Council to appeal the decision if they were so inclined.
Both Kumar and Farrar said they were surprised by the level of support from residents expressed at Tuesday's Land Use meeting. Farrar said that a Land Use Committee member canvassed local business owners and found 20 out of 24 in favor. The same member also visited 76 residences, he said, and found only nine who raised any kind of issues.
Kumar did note that there were some concerns raised at the meeting about the hours of operation, and with construction impacts on the neighborhood.
One Regional Planning Commission member did appear to show support for approval on the spot, but another member noted that he had received a call from Michael Antonovich's office requesting that the Town Council get a chance to hear the issue, and said it would be wrong to bypass the group. Ultimately, all five members voted to delay the ruling.
Farrar noted that much of the Land Use Committee is mostly made up of people who also sit on the Town Council and suggested that another hearing would not be likely to change the outcome of the vote. According to the Town Council website, of the 15 currently-seated members on the committee, nine also serve on Town Council.
The Town Council will hear the issue on May 15, and the Regional Planning Commission will hear it on May 16.
Editor's note: This story was updated from its original version with information from the Land Use Committee. A version of this story also referred to the two votes against the motion as abstentions.