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Planning Commission puts off hearing Bowling Alley

By Gene Williams
Staff Writer

September 22 -- A proposal to put a 15,000-square-foot upstairs bowling alley on the Third Street Promenade was scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission Wednesday evening. But following the City Attorney’s advice, commissioners put off hearing the plan until a later date.

At the center of the delay are issues surrounding City and State regulations governing liquor licenses (see related story).

Architect David Hibbert and his client are hoping for a type 47 license – the kind granted to restaurants. But the City staff report states that the applicants are seeking a type 48 license – the kind issued to bars -- which would prohibit persons under 21.

Before the commission can hear Hibbert’s project, new notices will have to be published restating the kind of license he is seeking.

In the meantime, Hibbert is going back to the drawing board for design modifications including a full service kitchen to satisfy City Hall.

Hibbert said his plans always included food service, and he thought he would have no trouble qualifying for the less restrictive liquor license.

Patterning his project on successful bowling alley in Hollywood, his preliminary plans included a kitchen where catered food could be brought in from outside sources and prepared for presentation.

But while that seems to work in Hollywood, it apparently won’t in Santa Monica. Hibbert said he is looking more closely at how the Hollywood bowling alley – called Lucky Strike – operates, to find out what it is that makes them qualify for the less restrictive license.

City and Bayside officials have supported the new bowling alley since the idea was brought up early this year, Hibbert said.

The project is planned for the second floor of the old Woolworth building above Johnny Rockets restaurant and includes 12 bowling lanes, a 250-square-foot bar and a 1,000 square foot lounge area.

“Everyone is really excited about the project,” said Hibbert. The only real snag has been the liquor license. He expects to have that and some smaller bugs worked out before the commission is ready for a hearing, possibly as early as next month.

With the bowling alley as the main event scheduled Wednesday, the meeting may have been the shortest in Planning Commission history. In fact, it was almost over before it began

At 7 p.m., five of seven commissioners took to the dais, conducted routine preliminary business, decided to continue the hearing to a later date, and went home. It was all over by 7:20.

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