Council approves permit appeal for alcohol tastings at Pavilions

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The Seal Beach City Council this week voted unanimously to grant conditional use permit to allow alcohol tasting at Pavilion’s supermarket.

Christine Meza on behalf of Pavilions appealed the February  Planning Commission decision to deny a request to allow tastings of beer, wine and other spirits at the supermarket on Pacific Coast Highway.

According to the June 22 staff report to the council, the Municipal Code requires a conditional use permit before the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control issues a license. According to the report, the Council Policy 600-1 requires businesses with alcohol licenses to be at least 100 feet from residences.

“The Pavilions supermarket is approximately 70 feet away from the nearest residential property to the east,” according to the staff report prepared by Senior Planner Steve Fowler.

Fowler told the council that after staff looked at the policy, staff found areas where larger stores might benefit from a less stringent policy.

According to Fowler, the proposed area for the alcohol tastings represented less than 1% of the floor area of Pavilions.

The staff report recommended the council adopt a resolution approving the CUP.

District Two Councilman Thomas Moore and District Five Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt both expressed support for the appeal.

City Attorney Craig Steele suggested that council members not express their opinions until they held the public hearing on the permit appeal.

The city received one email in support of the appeal.

District Four Councilwoman/Mayor Schelly Sustarsic asked if the council was talking about changing the council policy.

Steele said the policy meant was the council giving the Planning Commission direction as a general rule. According to Steele, the council was retaining its authority to interpret its policies.

Steele said staff was recommending a small deviation from the policy. He said it was an entirely separate question as to whether the council wanted to change the policy.