Despite overwhelming evidence by city staff that their establishment
has become a severe problem to the community, the owners of a popular
restaurant and nightclub were granted the option of reviewing
amendments to their conditional-use permit and asked to return before
the City Council next week.
The City Council tabled a hearing Tuesday night that could have
revoked the permit of Gitana, a sports bar and billiards hall.
“We are 90% happy,” Gitana co-owner Robin Vandeveer said. “We
would have liked to walk away with our permit intact, but we are more
than willing to work with the city. We have already voluntarily shut
down the nightclub portion of our place, and with that, we are taking
a huge financial hit.”
After a planning commission’s ruling in July to recommend
revocation of Gitana’s conditional-use permit, the council instead
opted 4-1 to offer “a lifeline” to the controversial bar. The
stipulations include a six-month sunset on the permit, changing the
closing time from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. and total exclusion of the club,
which was shut down voluntarily last weekend.
Vice Mayor Marsha Ramos was in favor of an immediate revocation.
“I’ve been very reasonable on this matter,” Ramos said at the
meeting. “It’s a very difficult and personal decision to make, but I
feel the nature of the business has changed, and I can’t support its
actions at this time.”
According to staff reports, city planners and the Police
Department feel Gitana has become “detrimental to public health ...
so as to constitute a public nuisance” and that “police services are
required to respond to nightclub- related incidents ... in a
disproportionate amount of calls compared to other businesses.”
Police officials have been keeping a close eye on the downtown hot
spot since the city began billing the establishment for service calls
that are in excess of the three per month allowed under the
Although a recent draft staff report indicated the Police
Department charged Gitana $7,271.15 to date for excessive calls and
that no payment has yet been made, city financial services director
Derek Hanway confirmed that a payment of $4,000 has been received and
an agreement of $500 a month to be paid on the balance has been
“The Police Department feels the city should revoke Gitana’s
permit,” Captain Gordon Bowers said prior to the meeting. “If
anything good can come of this, [Gitana] should start negotiations
for a new CUP and go back to the council with something fresh.”
Police records indicate Gitana has become an increasing problem
since late last year, responding to 73 calls including assaults with
a deadly weapon, fights and driving under the influence. In
proportion to the rest of downtown, at given times, Gitana is
representative of approximately 13% of all Burbank Police calls in
the downtown area, according to a Police Department report.
But there has been a decrease in incident calls in recent months,