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August 1, 2006 > Business as usual - Hayward City Council

Business as usual - Hayward City Council

by Steve Warga

Last week was a busy one for the Hayward city council. On Tuesday, July 25, the last session of the summer was convened, handling several items of interest.

A proposed multi-use structure planned for the southeast corner of Second Street and B Street, a plan now five years in the making, was discussed Tuesday. After twice reducing the size of his proposed building, owner Dr. Dharam Salwan, and his architect appeared before the council in response to an appeal filed by Randal Smith, pastor of the adjacent United Methodist Church. In his presentation, Smith suggested an alternative to the proposed building, including a conceptual image produced by his secretary only hours before the meeting. Smith stated that he had spoken with Salwan "that afternoon" and secured an agreement to "consider" this new idea.

Salwan noted that the conversation occurred in the city hall lobby mere minutes before the 8 p.m. meeting. He had agreed to anything substantial and wished to proceed with the plan already approved by the city Planning Commission. He and his architect both stated that they'd tried numerous times over the past five years to contact Smith and discuss ways to accommodate the church's concerns. Smith claimed he'd tried to return Salwan's calls.

Smith's design consisted of a smaller building than Salwan's already reduced plans and appeared as an extension of existing church structures. The design prompted councilmember Dowling to ask if Smith proposed to purchase Salwan's land to build another church property and use it for church activities. Smith conceded Salwan probably would not sell or agree to church-oriented usages of his building.

City staff recommended denial of Smith's appeal noting that he'd had five years to present his ideas. Although the council denied the appeal unanimously,
Councilmember Olden Henson, who moved to deny the appeal, modified his motion with a vaguely-worded suggestion that Salwan alter the roofline of his proposed building to show more of a peak that would compliment the church's existing peaked structures.

The council was a bit more decisive with Alex Aguilar, owner of the controversial Kumbala Restaurant and Bakery on Foothill Blvd. Aguilar was seeking modifications to his conditional use permit allowing him to expand both hours and patron capacities. Hayward Police Chief Lloyd Lowe noted 27 "instances" of police intervention since Kumbala opened five months ago; several involving serious assaults or near riots; most involved minors. Lowe also told the council that Aguilar's first security firm had "vacated" their relationship with the establishment.

Aguilar provided the police with the name of a second firm, but the department could find no record of any such firm licensed in California. He also advised the council that his department could not yet confirm whether any of Aguilar's privately-hired security guards were licensed as Aguilar claimed. City staff was directed to review parts of Kumbala's conditional use permit and suggested that Aguilar return in January with a better record of conduct and compliance. They "recommended" that he employ a security guard company that was properly licensed in California. There was no comment on his failure to provide proof of licensing for guards presently employed.

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