The room was not quite full, but everyone there was interested in what the proposed changes would mean for the Mission Special Use District (SUD), the City's oldest, Alcohol Special Use District enacted to limit the expansion, modification or addition of liquor licenses in the SUD area. For a map of the area, click here or scroll to the end of this post. Really geeky? Read the 1999 Mission SUD legislation, click here.
Supervisor Campos explained the first change which would impose a mandatory "Conditional Use Review" for new restaurants proposing to locate on the Valencia Corridor between 15th and 21st streets. The motivation behind placing a conditional use requirement on new restaurants is to put the Planning Commission in the approval process so that they can balance retail and other service business with the burgeoning restaurant row.
Second is a common sense change which would allow neighborhood grocery stores to sell limited amounts of beer and wine. Currently, because of the City's desire to discourage formula retail, a provision in the law allows grocery stores over 5,000 SF to sell beer and wine but does not allow smaller "mom and pop" stores to have that benefit. This is a common sense change that everyone who believes in small business should support. How did we end up allowing the large operators and not allowing the small? The law of unintended consequences is our best guess.
If you want to make alterations or repairs to an existing business in the SUD that own a liquor license, you have only 30 days in which you can close your business for the improvements. Yes, you read that right, if you want to make your store, well, for example, ADA compliant, you can't close more than 30 days to make the improvements or you forfeit your liquor license. It does not take a genius to imagine what this law has done......businesses are discouraged from making improvements for fear that they may not finish in 30 days and lose their liquor license forever.
The last change being proposed would allow for the movement of liquor licenses inside the SUD to occur, where currently the SUD legislation froze all bars and liquor stores in their 1990 locations. Remember that the SUD was enacted to address what the community perceived as being overconcentration of liquor licenses in certain areas. What the SUD Legislation did not consider was that if the current "status quo" was a problem, wouldn't freezing everyone just continue the problem? This last change would allow the licenses to be moved within the SUB boundaries and with proper planning and community input, the negative impacts of clustered licensees can be a thing of the past.
For CMAC members, this legislation is a great start. We applaud the care and consensus building the Supervisor has exercised throughout this process and urge all of our members to strongly support these changes. Once the community sees that these changes have made their neighborhood a better place to live, work and play, I bet future changes won't take another 20 plus years. Or we hope so.....
We thank Marco and Michael, the proprietors of Bissap Baobab, for their great food and generous hospitality. CMAC is nothing without such great involved member venues. Treat yourself to a feast and head over for a taste of their food. Tell them CMAC sent you.
If you want to read the entire legislation, click here or paste this link into your browser: