A Little History
Some years ago the owners of the Sharkeez chain bought an old two-story building on the North side of the Pier Plaza. The tenants downstairs were Il Boccaccio Italian restaurant, and Cafe Bonaparte. Sharkeez moved their corporate offices into the second floor of the building. In 2008 Sharkeez acquired a controlling interest in Il Boccaccio, and applied at the ABC to have the restaurant's liquor license transferred to Sharkeez' owners. Sharkeez hoped to inherit Il Boccaccio's Type 47 liquor license - the exact same Type as held by Patrick Molloys, Sangria, Blue 32, The Shore, and Sharkeez' popular operation on the South side of the Plaza. Il Boccaccio's license (copy at link below) includes full liquor and no limit on closing hours. (Il Boccaccio ceased active operation in late 2009, but the license remains.)
In 2008 Hermosa Beach Police Chief Greg Savelli wrote to the ABC (copy included in HB Staff Report linked below), asking that during the requested transfer, a new condition be added to the license, limiting the hours to midnight.
The ABC agreed to impose the limit, but Sharkeez would not accept it, and petitioned to have the license transferred with no new conditions. A hearing was scheduled for Jan. 27, 2010, before an administrative law judge ("ALJ") in Cerritos.
At the Hermosa city council meeting on Jan. 26 (the night before the hearing!), the council heard, and denied, a request by two councilmembers to force the withdrawal of the letter in which the Chief requested the midnight closing. (See the Staff Report for that meeting, at link below.)
The Jan. 27 hearing was held, and as is usual with ABC hearings, no decision was handed down on that date. The ALJ asked for post-hearing briefs to be filed, and at least five briefs were filed (see links to them, below).
On Apr. 8 the ALJ issued his decision granting the license transfer with no new conditions (see copy below).
The ALJ's decision, if allowed to stand, leaves Sharkeez with the ability to serve liquor until 1:30 a.m. seven days a week at the new location.
The City can appeal the decision. It has 40 days from Apr. 8 to do so, so the deadline would be May 18. The city council considered the issue of an appeal during its closed session of Apr. 27, and took no action. Presumably they voted, but because it was a secret closed session, there is no public record of which councilmembers voted against appealing. Thus they all can safely deny responsibility when Sharkeez' new late-night operation becomes a problem for the City.
If you are concerned, please contact your councilmembers and ask them to hold an open and public vote at the May 11 council meeting. Then, even if they again decline to appeal the ALJ's decision, we will at least know who is responsible.
(The May 11 vote can be agendized during "Other Matters" - just as Tucker and Fishman's Jan. 26 request was.)
Council Contact Info
The Official Documents
1993 Conditional Use Permit from City (Still in Effect)
1997 Type 47 License from ABC (Pending Transfer)
HB Staff Report: Request by Tucker & Fishman to Withdraw Police Chief's Letter (Council meeting of Jan 26, 2010)
ABC Investigator's Report for ABC Hearing of Jan. 27, 2010 (Full copy)
Feb. 4, Feb. 8
Decision Issued Apr. 8, 2010 by Administrative Law Judge
Downtown "Balance Sheet" and Discussion: See Main FAQ #2