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Council revokes Gitana permit

Ryan Carter

Exhausting alternatives to keeping Gitana restaurant and nightclub

open without cutting back on its hours and alcohol distribution, the

City Council on Tuesday revoked the business’ conditional-use permit,

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all but shutting it down.

“We’re flabbergasted,” said Darryl Mounger, a Burbank attorney

representing Gitana. “The complaint the city has had was the

violence, but there has been no violence and [the council] would not

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give us an opportunity to prove it.”

The council voted 4-1 in favor of revoking the permit. Mayor

Stacey Murphy voted against the revo- cation because it also involved

the business’ restaurant section, which she stressed was not part of

the reason for the violence around Gitana that prompted city staff’s

recommendation to revoke the permit.

Since late last year, the area around the restaurant and nightclub

and its clientele have been sources of police calls, for everything

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from assaults to drunken-driving arrests, though those calls have

decreased in recent months.

City staff and Police Department officials have said Gitana, which

opened in July 1999 with a nightclub, upscale dining, sports bar and

billiards area, has become an increasing nuisance and a threat to

public safety.

In recent weeks, no police problems have been reported, Mounger

told the council, adding that owners have voluntarily shut down the

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nightclub.

“Rather than kill us, give us 30 days,” he said.

But officials argued that Gitana had a chance, and was even

notified of the city’s concern back in April. And last week, bucking

a staff recom- mendation that would close the nightclub for good, the

council voted only to amend the club’s permit, allowing it to stay

open, with stipulations.

Those included a six-month sunset on the permit, bumping back the

closing time from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. and shutting down the club

portion of the business. Staff also wanted a stipulation that Gitana

make timely payments toward its bills to repay the city for costs

incurred for police services.

But Gitana representatives and the property’s landlord, Robert

Gangi, said they could not go along with a revised permit without

severely affecting the business.

The revised closing time would hurt sales of alcohol, they said.

Because the permit applied to the entire club, not just its

individual sections, owners could not just stop at 1 a.m. and keep

serving alcohol in the restaurant section.

The arguments did not sway the council.

“Without the agreement, revocation is the only answer,” Councilman

Jef Vander Borght said.


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