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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Beer and wine permit leaves Echo Park group divided

By Mary Allen

On an agenda packed with over 25 items with topics ranging from Parks to Public Works, the  Echo Park Improvement Association last night fixated on the application of FIX cafe owner, Marc Gallucci, to sell beer and wine.  But, in a reflection of the mixed reaction the proposal has received from residents, the members of the association’s Neighborhood Issues Committee were divided on the matter and issued no opinion.

Fix is applying for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the City of Los Angeles,  which will allow for  the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to issue an on-premises beer and wine license. In addition, Galluci is seeking to expand the building as well as increasing operating hours to allow for evening dinner service.


Five community members turned out to voice opinions on the permit issue. While overwhelmingly in support of Fix cafe in its current form, opinions were mixed regarding the addition of beer and wine and extended dinner hours. Concerns centered around public safety, proximity to Elysian Heights Elementary School, and noise.

Comments ranged from resident Tony Aquino’s full support –  “It would be an asset to the community” –  to Jody Flowers, who pointed out that “a good portion of the children [attending Elysian Heights Elementary School] are on campus until 6 p.m.”

Gallucci, who has met with several neighborhood groups, vowed to remain a good neighbor. “I intend for my place to be a model,” he said.

The divided committee, however, decided to postpone voting and issued no opinion.

The Fix permit proposal will go before the governing board of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council,  on Tuesday, Sept  27. The council’s Land Use Committee has already supported the application. From there, the application will be reviewed during a Planning Department public hearing on October 5.

On Tuesday, Sept.  27, the proposal will go before the governing board of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council, whose Land Use Committee has already supported the application. From there, the application goes to the City of Los Angeles for a public hearing on October 5.

Glendale Boulevard development

Developer Marc Annotti informed residents about the housing project proposed by Harridge Develpment Group for the west side of Glendale Boulevard  at the end of the 2 Freeway.  Harridge is planning to build 45 homes (reduced from 68 that was proposed by a previous developer ) under the city’s small lot ordinance and 28 additional units on the site that once served as the home of Bert-Co printing. The project would be called Studio Villas,” a nod to the area’s historic home to film studios.

The presentation raised concerns about aesthetics and the livability of the highly trafficked area but it also generated discussion about the improving the existing retail and residential corridor.

Dates to note:
9/27/2011 GEPENC Board of Governor’s meeting.
10/6/2011 EPIA Town Hall
10/19/2011 EPIA Neighborhood Issues Committee Meeting
11/5/2011 Glendale Boulevard Community Cleanup Day



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46 comments

  1. I stand with fix. There is no basis for opposition other than a blind desire to control. It is appalling that opponents stoop to using children as pawns in this power play.

  2. I have been a long time resident of echo park and I have seen the negative affects of what alchohol can and has done to people. all of a sudden everyone wants a license to sell like as if were all going to forget where to get a beer on every corner like there already is.

    it doenst make any cents to me how not useing children can be considered as an excuse when they and women become the first victims of abuse when those who cant be responsible for themselvs are what cause the problems. U know like they say one bad apple will spoil the bunch, well thats bassically what it is when those parties who cant be responsible ruin it for those who want it like you BIG MAN…

    I mean its like weve been inundated with all of these liqour outlets and liquor adrvertisments, and its not like we all dont know how the power of advertisments can influence even the dummest people so why would you think that haveing all that around kids wouldnt be an issue, unless thats your intention and in that case you really dont care about the community in which we all live in and only out for your personal selfish enjoyment at any cost…

    such a shame we live amonst people who just dont care to think things through enough…oh wait you have to think first before you begin to care

  3. @Angel
    Maybe the most poorly written comment I’ve read here in a long time.

    FIX is not going to attract the same crowd that hangs on Sunset. Let them have their license.

  4. Have an of the objectors ever gone to Fix to assess the crowd there. On an average afternoon, you hardly hear a sound out of anyone at the filled tables. I really don’t think these same folk are going to turn rowdy at dinner hour!

  5. @Angel

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

    -A. Lincoln

  6. Gotta say Angel’s comment has made me even more firm on my decision that the Fix should be allowed to serve liquor.

    Its not a bar its place to go dine and have a beer, everyone needs to chill out.

  7. Echo Park Resident 40+ yrs.

    First reading about Fix, its nice that a coffee/sandwich shop is open way up in the quiet streets of my neighborhood. Echo Park and Baxter St is ‘way up’ in the quiet portions of Echo Park, always has been and it always should be. So when you read about an alcohol license possibly being issued to this venue, I can understand the neighborhood concerns. We do not know if ‘that Sunset Blvd. crowd’ will venture up here…however, word of mouth can travel like fire (hello… blogs?) and if this place becomes a hot spot to hang at, that’s something to take into consideration. And they are considering an expansion of their property? Keep my neighborhood peaceful, folks.

  8. I can assure you that the school and parents are genuine in their concern not to have alcohol served across the street especially while children are still on school grounds, and students are being picked up every few minutes until 6:00, with parking and space to do so safely at such a premium already. Mark presented it to the concerned parents at the school that the plan is for alcohol to be served from 4 pm. With 80 to 100 children still on campus between 4 and 6, it’s common sense and common courtesy to wait till after 6. There is genuine concern about the lack of parking, people coming and going in a hurry, leaving a short time after a drink and being legally intoxicated.

    On a side note, I wish cynicism wasn’t such a hallmark of the off the cuff comments.

  9. In my neighborhood we have never had much problem (none that I know of actually) with several areas restaurants that serve alcohol (two with full liscenses) but the parents speeding to and from dropping off their kids at the local Elem is a real pain in the butt on my blind curve.

  10. Let’s not forget, opening for dinner means another shift of jobs. Maybe marc would look into a neighborhood employment program as well, getting kids off the street at night and waiting tables. Just saying there’s alot of creative ways for plenty of people across all economic lines to benefit here, be it a paycheck or a nice glass of wine after work. I can’t see Fix becoming rowdy, honestly.

  11. This should be debated thoroughly before a decision is made. All the comments are on target, although some are needlessly bougie. Its naive to think the Sunset crowd isn’t going to make their way up the street; that’s what they do, find the cool, new place to hang. I recall when Fix was a parking lot with a small dwelling of some sort. Its a cute little cafe. Not sure what changes will come if they start serving up booze.

  12. I actually changed my support of this.
    I think Marc is a great contributor to the community of EP. I started in full support of his liquor license, because I want his business to be successful and because I don’t think it would be a terrible thing if he sold beer and wine, but another comment during the last posting about this made me think. They brought up the additional evening noise to the surrounding homes.
    One of the joys of EP is the relative quiet. If they are allowed to operate into the night with that patio, the associated noise would really change the quality of life of those that live nearby. And it’s not like those people knowingly moved in next to a restaurant. Most probably lived there when it was just a live/work space (?) and before that vacant, and before that a mechanics (? I can’t really remember now!) And they’ll have no recourse.
    So I think I have to oppose the longer operating hours and liquor license unless there is a noise mitigation plan in place. I would hope that a neighbor would give me the same consideration.

  13. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see why the heck someone can’t serve beer and wine while [the horror!] kids are still in school. Parking is a more serious concern. But I have to agree with SL-er above: since school restarted, frantic parents doing drop-off and pick-up are a more serious traffic concern for me than bars.

    Having a drink does not necessarily equal being “legally intoxicated.”

  14. Also: my understanding was that any permit would be provisional, and could be revoked if there are problems.

  15. Forget the Alcohol issues !
    The grammatical errors within this thread
    Are deplorable !

  16. @lisa and other supporters:

    Im not a mom, but I understand their concern. If I had 2-3 drinks during a happy hour and I hit some kid right by that school there would be hell to pay, not just for me but for Fix as well. I would hate to see Fix shut down for something like that. I would love there to be bars at every corner, but thats coming from someone who does not have children, has no real responsibility and quite frankly loves a drink! However, someday I do intend to have children and I can understand why this is a big issue. To say the Sunset crowd wont come up that far is ridiculous. Half them already live that far anyways. Perhaps a better alternative is not to sell alcohol until 7pm.

  17. People having dinner with a glass of wine or beer are not louder than gun shots, screeching tires, police sirens and circling helicopters in your “quiet” part of Echo Park. Sheesh. Don’t you think the patrons of Fix are a better street presence over gang members on that part of Echo Park Ave? I think it quite amusing that the neighbors think that they live in the more staid part of Echo Park when there has been more gang activity in their area compared to the rest of Echo Park.

  18. I think its going to be similar to when LA Mill (also a coffee shop) got its beer/wine license. I live down the street and there is no noticeable difference.
    Its really kind of a nerd fest in there at night. People drinking wine playing on their computers. I have a feeling fix will bring a similar crowd.

  19. Where’s DJ Bento Box on this issue? It’s right up his alley & frankly I’m getting bored on this site without a comment in a while…

  20. The LAPD recommendations state that the exclusion of “liquor stores, adult oriented entertainment, and smoke shops within 1000 feet of any school”
    A LIST OF ALCOHOL ESTABLISHMENTS between 600 and 1,000 feet
    of the site is required.

    A LIST OF THE FOLLOWING USES within 600 and 1,000 feet is also required.

    (1) residential uses and type (single-family, apartment, hotel, etc.)
    (2) churches
    (3) schools, including nursery schools and child-care facilities
    (4) hospitals
    (5) parks, public playgrounds and recreational areas
    (6) establishments dispensing, for consideration, alcoholic beverages for consumption on or off
    premises.

  21. One thing I haven’t heard here is the fact that by being the trailblazer and opening up an full-on restaurant this far up Echo Park Avenue, others WILL follow suit. Anyone who thinks that Fix would be the only commercial enterprise up here is deluding themselves. If Fix succeeds, others with $$ in their eyes will follow suit, and the character of this neighborhood will be destroyed. We came to Elysian Heights for its character, and that fact that it’s an escape from the commercial strips that dot this city.

    That’s why I’m fully opposed to this move, and I think the fact that Marc is trying to do it speaks more about his commitment to his business than the neighborhood.

  22. I suspect people are not fearful of quiet coffee places or bike shops or wine tasting rooms but are building up this straw man in place of Fix Coffee, a destination nightlife spot which will lead to drunkards stumbling around and speeding at 60 MPH back down Echo Park Ave in order to get back to their hacienda in Venice. The notion that this is some kind of “gateway drug” to the destruction of the neighborhood strikes me as Chicken Little paranoia.

    Regarding the location of the school, if it’s a major concern someone should talk to the people at Ivanhoe, who have Edendale Grill across the street and Blair’s on the adjacent corner and find out if they’ve had any issues stemming from those establishments and what they did to address them.

  23. @Angel
    Again, a real winning post! Except for the cut-and-past job, your two (run-on) sentences were poorly written.

    EP Ave is not an Eastside version of a quaint, residential, Hollywood Hills-style neighborhood. It’s more Rose Ave. (Venice) than anything else – where restaurants and coffee houses are nestled side by side with homes and apartments. It is inevitable-there will be a restaurant deep in EP. It’s either now or later.

  24. i lived in echo park for 8 years up until a month ago. now im in laurel canyon and theres a wonderful restaurant called Pace. anyone been? its amazing and has the same concept as what fix is asking for. the people there would take up arms if someone tried to take it away!

    Let the people have their evening cake!

  25. Some parents of Elysian Heights Elementary students consider the stretch of Baxter in front of the school to be a privileged spot. They stop their cars in the middle of the street in order to indulge in long long chats with folks on the sidewalk. It makes for a lot of dangerous driving and/or honking. I drive past all the time so I can verify that this is a matter of concern to me.

  26. ed – that makes sense if the people in the neighborhood want it. Judging by the responses here, I wouldn’t say that’s a lock.

  27. Ed – are you kidding? Comparing traffic on Laurel Canyon Blvd. to Echo Park Ave? Sorry, you lost me, that’s totally weak. There is NOOOOOO comparison.

    I don’t know – to me this isn’t about drinking beer or wine near a school like many are suggesting. That’s so silly. There’s a much bigger picture – one that just isn’t limited to how much of a model Marc’s place will be – it’s about other businesses that will follow. How can anyone debate THAT with a straight face – unless of course those making comments in favor of the later hours don’t really care about us property owners nearby (which is probably the case) and not very cool. You might want to think about putting yourself in the nearby residents shoes. At any rate, hear me out people – truly, give this some thought. As I’ve said before, this isn’t only about MARC AND FIX! There are many issues but two in particular imo. Will Marc’s place be a nuisance for those nearby (maybe/probably) and what kind of precedent will a successful commercial business with evening hours ABOVE Baxter set? I agree with “bh” above. If Marc is successful – he won’t be the ONLY business above Baxter, he will be the first. If you don’t live within blocks of Fix – you may not really care. But I do. You see, Marc can’t control what will happen after we allow him to have later hours – no matter how cool a guy he is – he cannot control or predict the businesses who will follow him after he sets the precedent. IMO he should be honest enough to address this issues if he is so into the community. Baxter is the obvious cut off point for commercial businesses except for the existing school on the other side of Echo Park Ave.

    Bottomline, now that this Fix issue has come up – as nearby residents we should think about really uniting behind the idea of no further businesses above Baxter (the corner Fix is on). Leave Fix as is – no extended hours – and let Marc be the sole exception to any businesses above Baxter. If you don’t actually own property around here and only visit Fix during the day – you probably don’t really know why we feel this way. At night, our area above Baxter is DEAD quiet by 7 p.m. And on the occasions when one of us has a party – – the whole neighborhood gets to enjoy it – no matter how late it goes – whether you want to or not – because everything echoes off the hills like crazy – – hence the name “Echo Park”. Come on, be honest – it absolutely would create alot more noise for residents nearby. It’s truly a no brainer (not even touching on how bad the parking there already is).

    FWIW we bought property here, out of the way, because we like the quiet. We drive long drives (which suck) if we have to go to the west side, but we deal with it because we like the out-of-the-way feel the hills over here have. They provide sanctuary. Do we not have the right to say what happens in our area – those of us upside down in our homes
    (older artists buying for the first time who are basically now broke)? There’s really no need to be snarky. This has nothing to do with some kind of puritanical fear of those who drink near schools. We all freakin drink and party. This SOOOOOO isn’t about that. It just doesn’t matter if Marc is a nice guy and wants his place to be a model
    for the community. It’s about long term planning and taking a stand before more developers (who aren’t interested in being a model for the community but are only interested in the almighty dollar) work their way up Echo Park Ave. In case you don’t know, they will buy up older homes and develop them into commercial spaces (like Fix) – once Marc’s restaurant establishes it’s the lucrative thing to do. Come on
    people – we all know that’s the climate we live in. Can’t we all get together and agree to that one indisputable fact (unlike Washington assholes) that Marc’s success will attract other businesses and this is a big part of the decision on whether to extend HIS USAGE – – really the biggest part imo. When will we take a stand if not now? After Marc’s place is a success (with evening hours)? Do you really think that’s going to be easier for us to fight. It’s my understanding one of his arguments is that “Echo Park is a commercial corridor” (not at Baxter it isn’t). If he is able to argue that NOW, can you imagine the argument future businesses will have in their favor after he has already done their work for them – by establishing Echo Park Ave. as a commercial corridor, insanity. We won’t be able to “take it back”. Trust me, this will only be worse after it’s clear there is money to be made. l mean that’s why Marc wants to do it – to make more money! I get it, fine, but just not there at Fix’s current location. Again, if you’re thinking this is only about Fix – you’re really not getting it. His little place is nowhere near as bad as it will get once others follow. Do we want to have to beat back additional businesses after he succeeds? I don’t think so.

    Bottomline, we shouldn’t allow any other commercial businesses above Baxter and the one that is there, FIX, should not be extended to later hours as it will disturb
    local residents.

    And one last way of putting it. Do you realize Marc may build up his business and once it’s lucrative, decide to sell? And if that time ever comes, try as he may to find another “model of the community” to buy it, he may unknowingly end up selling to a jerk. Do you not realize that could happen? No matter what his intentions are now, life happens and he could have to move on and sell. And maybe the new owner won’t be so cool, then where are we? Those of you dropping in for a beer or wine can just decide to stop going there – those of us living around the corner from a jerkstore – we will be stuck with the problem. Like I said, THIS ISN’T ABOUT MARC AND FIX! It’s a broader long term issue for our neighborhood.

    Food for thought, be cool and give it some thought. Have a good weekend everyone. (forgive any errors – just can’t re-read this again)

  28. I don’t think ed was comparing the volume of traffic on each street.

    And of course people in Laurel Canyon like pace. Down the street on Sunset, we here in Echo Park have a great variety of awesome places as diverse as the surrounding community, as opposed to the terrible places in Hollywood that cater to huge douche bags.

  29. Dear Alexis– if Ed wasn’t comparing Laurel Canyon to Echo Park, then what the hell was his point??? Just that he loves Pace?!

  30. Dean bh-

    Maybe. I’m not Ed. I just didn’t see anything comparing the two streets traffic patterns.

  31. to my understanding, there are no other commercially zoned buildings above baxter? plz correct me if im wrong…

  32. @ disco stu,

    Stand corrected, you would be wrong. Echo Park Ave, All the way to Cerro Gordo has had commercial zoning from the get go. The most famous photo of snow falling on the Echo Park Ave Street car in the was taken in front of the commercial building at Cerro Gordo and EP Ave. in 1949.
    http://www.uncanny.net/~wetzel/echopark.htm

    There are other currently active commercial lots between Baxter and Cerro Gordo.

    PL

  33. that needed to say “that was taken”! new ky pad!

    PL

  34. I like Marc, I like Fix. I live very close. I don’t want alcohol served there. There have been 2 gang murders on our block in 2 years. There have been 4 additional gang shoot-outs and 1 police raid. There are 2 pre-schools and 1 elementary school on the same block. Throwing Alcohol into the mix is not a good idea. There are already drunks on the corner from the bus stop, parties with 30 kids yelling and fighting into all hours of the night, the last thing we need is a bar on the corner. It’s a bad idea, it has way too much potential to bring violence in our great little neighborhood. It’s just not worth the risk.

  35. I live two blocks from Fix and I wholeheartedly support the beer/wine permit application. Reasons:

    *it’s a beer/wine permit, not a full alcohol license. there’s a difference
    *I don’t get the gang activity connection. Are people arguing that local gangsters will start coming to Fix, getting drunk off of (expensive) beer and wine, and then increasing their violent activity past current levels? C’mon.
    *you’ve got to cut back on the medical marijuana if you think that EP Ave above Baxter is suddenly going to become a commerical haven. I’m surprised Fix has lasted this long, frankly. There isn’t enough foot traffic to sustain a strip of businesses up here. Plus, the hill is too f-ing steep!
    *Could someone cite some precedent for elementary school kids in L.A. getting run down by drunk drivers at 5pm?

    My only concern is parking. Patrons will probably park on my block. But until there’s a strip mall or whatever “nearby resident” weirdly envisions, I don’t see this being a deal-breaker either.

  36. Given the concerns about parking, child safety, and gang activity, it sounds like the best thing to do would be to shut down the school and open up more family friendly restaurants.

  37. Hahaha, you guys are delusional! Do you have ANY idea who the target demographic of this establishment actually is?? Bougie ‘creative professionals’ who want to sip a nine dollar glass of wine while they’re working on their screenplay or whatever, not every tom dick and harry in the neighborhood looking to get loaded.

    Perhaps you should be a little more concerned with the notorious gang house across the street from the school?? I have several friends who live in spitting distance of Fix, and in my experience that is more more of a threat posed by people just sitting in their yards drinking and harassing passersby.

    And good point about Ivanhoe and Edendale.

  38. As someone who drinks heavily, I resent the implication that people having drinks at Fix will lead to drunk driving …especially around children. That is just not kosher, and I don’t appreciate this kind of discrimination against us who like to partake from time to time. I am willing to lay down my life so that Fix can get its beer and wine license because if they are refused it is the first step to a totalitarian state.

  39. What interesting comments! (So many people are concerned about grammar; I hope mine will pass muster).
    Regarding Fix: I live around the block from Fix Coffee. I know that it is located on a commercial property which gives the owner the right to run a business there. No hearing is required. However there is no right to have a beer & wine license. For that a business has to apply to the authorities and hearings have to be held.
    The reasons I oppose this license is that Baxter/Echo Park is not the place for a late night restaurant with its associated traffic, noise, trash, congestion and (if it’s successful) customers lining the sidewalks. Elysian Heights is a residential neighborhood with schools and homes on steep, narrow streets surrounding Fix. In Los Angeles, Elysian Heights passes for a quiet neighborhood. Sunset Boulevard is where a place such as Marc proposes belongs.
    Although there are commercial zoned lots along Echo Park Avenue, those businesses originally housed small tradesmen catering to residents daily needs, such as groceries, shoe repair, cleaners, etc. Fix’s proposal is ground-breaking for Elysian Heights and has implications for the future of northern Echo Park Avenue. Will it be a quiet, family- friendly residential area, or a noisy, urban hot-spot?

  40. Aside from a few of these posts: Susan, bh, nearby resident, I feel like this issue is being discussed and debated among people who don’t own property in the neighborhood. This combo of naivete and lack of investment lends itself to shortsighted and incongruous remarks. If you lived up here, and owned up here, near FIX, above Baxter, you would understand our desire to protect this last vestige of sanctuary and probably feel as most of us do.
    We just really don’t need/want a nighttime restaurant (with or without alcohol). I know that’s not too hard to grasp, so I suspect that many of these posts are disingenuous and can’t be taken seriously.
    I’m boycotting FIX–although I’ve spent hundreds of dollars there– and ask others who aren’t in favor of their expansion to do likewise.

  41. Great dm and others – seems the idea of boycotting is picking up speed with local homeowners. I’m completely in. We don’t want restaurant business up at Baxter and above in the evening. That’s the way it goes. Boycott FIX in objection to later hours!

  42. I actually believe that it will help improve the neighborhood, and will only increase our property values. This is exactly the type of business you want to protect an investment; run down houses in a slightly sketchy neighborhood aren’t bringing up any property values.

    the kids from Sunset aren’t coming up here. why? because Fix isn’t for cool kids; it’s for yuppies (who already live up here). the gang members aren’t going to drink at Fix (that’s just ridiculous, they’d be bored to death). besides: you can drink there now (just got to BYO); been going on for awhile and no one has been run over, shot or killed because of it. Most of you probably didn’t even notice it. If you haven’t noticed people drinking there for free, I doubt you will notice people drinking a glass of over priced wine.

  43. “i’m fine with it” and others voicing similar opinions — no offense, but you seem to be missing the point a little here. The issue isn’t really just Fix and what they’re trying to do. It’s a question of what kind of character do you want for your neighborhood? If this venture goes through and is successful, it’s a *guarantee* that others will follow suit, because others will follow the money.

    Do you want Echo Park Ave up around Baxter to become just another busy commercial strip like Sunset? Or do you value the fact that this is a relatively quiet enclave from which we can easily get to some of the best hot spots of LA?

    Personally, the character of Elysian Heights is what drew me here in the first place, and that’s why I’m opposing this move by Marc. If his move to expand succeeds, it will set a precendent and will make it that much more difficult to reverse in the future. Perhaps commercialization is inevitable in all corners of our city, but that doesn’t mean we have to lie down and let it happen on its own schedule and terms.

    This is also why I’m with the people here boycotting Fix. I’ve really enjoyed Fix in the past (and would go several times a week), but I can’t in good conscience continue to support a business with my dollars when they are taking actions that will (IMHO) harm the neighborhood around them.

  44. @BH: you are right about the special character that we enjoy here in EP, but we obviously differ in opinion and also in the fears that we have. i’m not really worried that the neighborhood will be overrun with businesses. it’s not set up for it. if i were to open a new business, I wouldn’t go into a residential neighborhood with no parking or foot traffic, buy a house, tear it down and then build my business. that would be a recipe for financial ruin. there are only a few spots that are good for a business: a couple of empty storefronts and some existing stores. i can’t imagine it would be worth anyones time and effort (and money) to create any new commercial spaces. there wouldn’t be enough financial incentive. i am more worried about inappropriate housing being built in the neighborhood (which I think is inevitable unfortunately).

    I respectfully submit that you are in the minority (considering how Fix has been doing fine for business since your boycott began).

  45. this is a residential area. if you want to open a restaurant that serves beer and wine, move to sunset blvd.

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