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City wants restrictions on club

Ben Godar

City officials are seeking to restrict alcohol sales at the site of a

former nightclub that closed after police cracked down on alleged

criminal activity there.


Sensation Village, 237 E. Olive Ave., was closed Dec. 21 after

officials with the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

declined to issue the club a permanent liquor license. Now, city

officials say the new operators of Great Red Island are planning to


open a new club, Chameleons, at the location.

Despite the change in ownership, the conditional-use permit for

the location cannot be changed without the owners’ consent.

Because the owners would not agree to new conditions meant to curb

problems at the location, City Manager Mary Alvord said the city

plans to ask the ABC to include those restrictions in the

establishment’s alcohol license.

“We’re trying to be preventive so we don’t get to the point we are


at with Gitana, where we have to go through the revocation process,”

Alvord said, referring to the Burbank nightclub that is facing

possible revocation of its conditional-use permit for excessive

police calls.

Problems at Sensation Village -- including two shootings the night

of Nov. 16 -- prompted police surveillance and arrests by a task

force. Undercover officers were also able to purchase marijuana

inside the club, police said.


The location’s conditional-use permit, which was approved in 1994,

was the first for a nightclub in Burbank, principal planner Joy

Forbes said. While it did require that the establishment offer food,

it did not require the food be prepared on the premises or that at

least 51% of sales come from food -- conditions the city would like

the ABC to impose.

Similar conditions were built into the permit for Burbank’s only

other nightclub conditional-use permit at Gitana, which opened a few

years later.

Forbes said things like requiring food sales and restricting

advertising of drink specials cuts down on the excessive drinking and

related violence at a nightclub.

“We’re not picking on Great Red Island,” she said. “If anyone

wanted to operate under this old [permit], we would want to update

the conditions.”

Because the owners declined to modify the existing permit, Forbes

said the city’s only possible recourse would be to revoke that permit

if the club creates a nuisance.

ABC Supervising Investigator Anthony Posada said the agency is

receptive to such requests, but it conducts its own investigation to

determine if any proposed conditions are justified.

“Whatever petition the city may give us has to be supported by a

large amount of evidence,” he said.

If the ABC grants the conditions, Great Red Island would have the

opportunity to oppose them and request an administrative hearing.

Posada said it is difficult to estimate how long the entire process

could last.

“I’ve seen it go as short as six months, or as long as five

years,” he said.