A new Century City movie complex will not be forced to close at 11 p.m. and its adjoining restaurants and fast-food stalls will be allowed to serve alcoholic beverages despite neighborhood protests.
The Los Angeles Board of Zoning Appeals last week reversed a zoning administrator's decision that would have prohibited the Century 14 Theaters, which opened last month, from showing movies after 11 p.m.
Homeowners near the Century City Shopping Center have objected to the late-night entertainment and to proposed liquor service in the new Century City Marketplace complex, fearing increases in traffic, noise and vandalism in their neighborhood.
Only weeks before the 14 movie theaters were scheduled to open in October, a city zoning administrator ruled in favor of the residents' petition that a local ordinance, normally used to restrict theater hours in small neighborhood shopping malls, applied to the Century City complex.
The reversal by the appeals board on Tuesday left many of the homeowners stunned.
"But we're not quitting. If we have to go the attorney route, we will," said John French, a 31-year board member of the housing Tract 7260 Homeowners Assn., a group of 500 residents that has sought restrictions on the mall's operations.
Also under attack was the center's request for liquor permits for its food complex, called the Marketplace, which is scheduled to open Thursday.
The Marketplace will have five enclosed restaurants, four with full liquor service and one that serves beer and wine, and 26 fast-food stalls, half serving beer and wine, according to shopping center general manager Mike Strle.
Although the homeowners objected to beer and wine sales at the fast-food counters, the appeals board Tuesday approved the 18 liquor permits originally requested by the shopping center. However, by a 4-1 vote, the board added 32 restrictions to the permits.
Among the restrictions that Strle called "overreaching and burdensome" are:
- A $300,000-bond for construction of a sound wall along Century Park West if a noise analysis determines the wall is necessary. Strle said the cost has been estimated at $60,000.
- Free parking for employees who now pay $1 a day to park, Strle said.
- A 24-hour seven-day-a-week security patrol along Century Park West.
- A requirement that alcoholic beverages be served in conjunction with food service.
- A requirement that no public dancing be allowed. Strle said the Paradise Bar and Grill, the only restaurant that has requested public dancing, is fully enclosed.
The shopping center management is considering appealing these restrictions, Strle said.