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August 29, 2006 > Dancing and parking may not mix with the Milpitas City Council

Dancing and parking may not mix with the Milpitas City Council

by Linda Stone

On July 6 of this year, restaurant owner Peter Chen made an appeal to the Milpitas City Council after finding out that the Planning Commission decided to deny a use permit to allow installation of a 12'x18' dance floor in King Crab Restaurant located on Calaveras Blvd. He paid a $100 filing fee for this opportunity to present his case to the Council.

Chen stated in his appeal filed with the Planning Commission that the application was denied because of the lunch hour parking problem between adjacent parcel owners, and that the parking problem was not solely due to his restaurant patrons, but also included Lee's Sandwiches customers. In reaction to the Planning Commission's denial of  his permit based on non-cooperation with the adjacent property owner, Chen feels singled out.

The issue is somewhat mixed between available parking spaces and whether the proposed dance floor, intended for banquets and receptions in the evenings and weekends only, will attract additional patrons to the shopping center.

Each restaurant has an allotment of parking spaces, some with signs. But due to modifications of use permits that included expansion of existing business, including King Crab, parking allotments have been reduced.  Currently King Crab's allocation is 29.

Furthermore, the entrance to the shopping center near the restaurant was considered dangerous by several council members as it is narrow and difficult to navigate. Discussions were pro and con for the permit. Mayor Esteves thought that the two topics should remain separate. He felt that providing a dance floor is good business. After all it wasn't the fault of King Crab that the reduction in parking was approved by the City.

Discussions between the Council included issues regarding additional patrons, whether the owner would maintain his promise of having the banquets during certain hours that would not impact the parking, how a dance floor would fit in the proposed space, whether a band could fit in the space properly, and that the appellant should try to work his parking problem out with the adjacent property owner Bill Cilker.

Chen has stated that the only reason that this has become such an issue is because the adjacent property owner complained to the City about the overflow of patron parking.

Cilker told the Planning Commission that parking is the main problem during lunchtime and he has informed patrons of Calaveras Plaza to not park in his center. He would like to see the landowner hire someone to patrol the parking lots.

Cilker said that part of the problem is that the parking to the west is paid for by Kelly Moore, Party City and Milpitas Shopping Center and includes the upkeep, cleaning, maintenance and striping. Since the new restaurants have opened, his center has had to increase the amount of cleaning because more people are parking there. He doesn't mind the crossover, however, he feels that there needs to be relief in the number of spaces occupied because Milpitas Shopping Center businesses are suffering.

Cliker said that he has tried to work out these problems with Calaveras Plaza property owner, Lisa Lo, with no progress. Lee's Sandwiches and King Crab representatives have told him that it was Lo's problem.

Planning Commissioner Azevedo said that he recommended denial because of lack of cooperation from the property owner and lack of parking.

It was decided by the Council to hold this issue for 60 days to allow time to reconcile the parking issues instead of denying the application.

 
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