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
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
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
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
“I’ve seen it go as short as six months, or as long as five
years,” he said.