A restaurant located near Pasadena City Hall wants to amplify live musical entertainment and add a dance floor, but a city staff report has panned the requests.
Pasadena’s Department of Planning and Community Development has recommended disapproval of requests for changes in the Conditional Use Permit and the Expressive Use Permit that Eden Bar and Grill at 175 E. Holly Street is currently holding, allowing it to offer live entertainment to customers in conjunction with the restaurant service.
The recommendation will be taken up during a special meeting of the City’s Hearing Officer on Wednesday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m.
Earlier, Eden Bar and Grill submitted a Modification to Conditional Use Permit (MOD CUP) request for CUP No. 1813, which was approved February 22, 1988 and allowed for the live entertainment use in addition to the restaurant use, as long as musical instruments – a piano and either a violin, flute or guitar – are unamplified.
This time, the business wants the City to allow for amplified live entertainment indoors and outdoors, and to increase the hours allowed for outdoor entertainment.
It has also applied for changes in Expressive Use Permit to allow the addition of 290 square-feet of live performance and dance floor area. According to the Planning Department, these improvements would reclassify the business as a nightclub land use, which would require a new Expressive Use Permit since the property is within the CD-2 (Central District, Civic Center – Midtown subdistrict.
In recommending disapproval of the first request for modification, the Planning Department said the City, while supportive of a variety of dining and entertainment uses in the Central District Specific Plan, has been sensitive to nightclubs and similar uses, particularly when abutting residential uses.
“It is staff’s position that while some limited live entertainment (up to 75 square feet) in the form of a live DJ or live band should be allowed as part of the ‘Restaurants with Limited Live Entertainment’ definition, the restaurant shall remain first and foremost a restaurant,” the Department said in the report for the Hearing Officer. “To allow for live entertainment beyond this limited scope and to allow for customer dancing would potentially result in impacts from a business that is not compatible when in proximity to residential uses, such as a nightclub.”
The Department also included information from Pasadena Police Department records showing that a considerable number of calls for service related to activities at Eden Bar and Grill were received between January 1, 2018 and September 22, 2021. Many of the calls were for “music disturbances,” as described in the report, including some that were within the period that state and City “Safer At Home” orders were in effect because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between 2008 and 2009, after Eden Bar and Grill took over the business, the City’s Code Compliance Division opened a total of nine Code Compliance cases for the restaurant related to noise complaints after hours, unpermitted amplified music, live entertainment and consumption of hookah products, which are not allowed within the City of Pasadena, the report added.
“It is staff’s assessment that the findings necessary for approving the Modification to CUP #1813 and Expressive Use Permit to allow for amplified live entertainment both indoors and outdoors, to extend the hours for outdoor entertainment and to allow for customer dancing, cannot be made,” the Planning Department said in the report. “Approval of the proposed requests would create noise and safety concerns for the surrounding residences. As a result, the proposed project would be detrimental to the public health, safety, and general welfare and is not in compliance with the General Plan.”