1                    CITY OF JACKSONVILLE


       2                    LAND USE AND ZONING


       3                         COMMITTEE




       5                      SPECIAL MEETING






       8             Proceedings held on Tuesday, January 15,


       9   2008, commencing at 4:10 p.m., City Hall, Council


      10   Chambers, 1st Floor, Jacksonville, Florida, before


      11   Diane M. Tropia, a Notary Public in and for the State


      12   of Florida at Large.




      14   PRESENT:


      15        MICHAEL CORRIGAN, Chair.

                CLAY YARBOROUGH, Vice Chair.

      16        RICHARD CLARK, Committee Member.

                MIA JONES, Committee Member.

      17        ART SHAD, Committee Member.

                JACK WEBB, Committee Member.



      19   ALSO PRESENT:


      20        JOHN CROFTS, Deputy Director, Planning Dept.

                SEAN KELLY, Planning and Development Dept.

      21        TRACEY ARPEN, Office of General Counsel.

                DYLAN REINGOLD, Office of General Counsel.

      22        JESSICA STEPHENS, Legislative Assistant.

                MERRIANE LAHMEUR, Legislative Assistant.


                                 -  -  -








           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1                       I  N  D  E  X


       2   ITEM/FILE NO.




       4             EXCEPTION E-04-117 TO AARON HILL TO ALLOW





                     RESTAURANT (4-COP SRX) AT 7701 ARLINGTON

       7             EXPRESSWAY, PURSUANT TO SECTION 656.141,


       8             2005-331-A AND REHEARING APPEAL OF ZONING

                     EXCEPTION E-04-117; ADOPT RECOMMENDED


                     (DISTRICT 1- YARBOROUGH)



      11                         -  -  -

































           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1                   P R O C E E D I N G S


       2   January 15, 2008                        4:10 p.m.


       3                         -  -  -


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Ladies and gentlemen,


       5        we are ready to get started with our Land Use


       6        and Zoning special appeal hearing.  I'll call


       7        the meeting to order.


       8             I'm LUZ Chairman Michael Corrigan.  Also


       9        present with us is Councilmember Jack Webb,


      10        Councilmember and Vice Chairman Clay Yarborough,


      11        Councilwoman Mia Jones and Councilmember


      12        Art Shad.


      13             We're here to hear bill number 2007-835.


      14             Before we get started, I will call on our


      15        representative from the Office of General


      16        Counsel, Mr. Tracey Arpen, to lay the ground


      17        rules for us.


      18             MR. ARPEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      19             Actually, what you're here on now is an


      20        appeal of a zoning exception.  It may seem


      21        strange that it's an appeal, but a zoning


      22        exception which was granted in 2004.


      23             Just as a way of background, a little bit


      24        of how you got here today, the exception was


      25        granted back in 2004.  There was an appeal to





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        the LUZ Committee in 2004, which was denied, and


       2        that recommendation to the LUZ Committee was


       3        upheld by the council.  After that, there was a


       4        lawsuit filed against the City as a result of


       5        the denial of the appeal and the granting of the


       6        exception.


       7             Among the allegations in the lawsuit


       8        were that the opponents of the rezoning -- I'm


       9        sorry -- of the zoning exception were denied due


      10        process, that there were ex-parte communications


      11        and several other issues.


      12             And so we thought that the fairest and most


      13        simplest way to resolve that lawsuit might be to


      14        grant a rehearing before the LUZ Committee with


      15        the opportunity for disclosure of any ex-parte


      16        communications and opportunities.


      17             What you will actually have before you is a


      18        more elaborate process than the 2004 LUZ


      19        Committee had because, under this circumstance,


      20        the parties have requested a more formal


      21        proceeding.


      22             And so you actually had attached to your


      23        agenda for the appeal a memorandum from myself


      24        and Shannon Eller of the office explaining the


      25        procedure that would be followed for a formal





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        appeal.  And so it will actually be a little bit


       2        longer than you might typically experience for


       3        an appeal on a zoning exception, but it's what


       4        we consider the formal appeal process.


       5             Again, you will be rehearing an appeal as


       6        though it had never been heard by this body


       7        before.  You will hear presentations by both


       8        sides, and then you will make a decision on


       9        that.


      10             There is one preliminary matter which would


      11        need to be taken up before we get to the


      12        presentations.  There is an issue as to whether


      13        one of the individuals is considered to have an


      14        affected party status under the rules.  An


      15        affected party, under the formal rules, has an


      16        opportunity to speak for a longer length of


      17        time, to make a 15-minute presentation as


      18        opposed to a three-minute public comment


      19        section.


      20             Mr. Ted Wendler believes he is properly


      21        entitled to an affected party status.  So as a


      22        preliminary matter, Mr. Wendler would make a


      23        presentation as to why he believes he is an


      24        affected party.


      25             The committee would then have to make a





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        determination because he was not a party who was


       2        entitled to written notice as being within a


       3        350-foot range of the site.  But under the law,


       4        he may still be an affected party if he can


       5        demonstrate that he is suffering or will suffer


       6        an adverse effect to an interest protected or


       7        furthered by the comprehensive plan or the


       8        zoning code and can demonstrate that the alleged


       9        adverse effects, if shared in common with other


      10        people in the community at large, exceed in


      11        degree the general interest in community good


      12        that's shared by all persons.


      13             So, in other words, he's not within the


      14        350 feet.  But if he can show that he has an


      15        adverse effect and that those adverse effects


      16        exceed what anybody else in the community


      17        outside the 350-foot range would suffer, then he


      18        would be entitled to an affected party status.


      19             So what we have suggested is a presentation


      20        by Mr. Wendler of up to five minutes as to why


      21        he believes he would be an affected party and


      22        then a decision by the committee as to whether


      23        or not he is entitled to that status.  If he is,


      24        he would get 15 minutes to speak.  If he's not,


      25        he's still entitled to speak to the committee





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        during the three-minute public comments in favor


       2        or opposition to the appeal.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Well, just a point of


       4        clarification, two things.  One, when he


       5        finishes his -- when Mr. Wendler finishes his


       6        five-minute presentation, a voice vote will be


       7        taken to determine whether he's an affected


       8        party?


       9             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct, Mr. Chairman.


      10             THE CHAIRMAN:  And then in his presentation


      11        in the five minutes, he's to speak only on why


      12        he's an affected party, not pro or con on this


      13        particular legislation?


      14             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.


      15             The presentation on the affected party


      16        status should not go to the merits of whether or


      17        not the zoning exception was a good idea or a


      18        bad idea but just as to how, if granted, it


      19        would affect him in a degree other than anybody


      20        else who's outside the 350-foot range.  It would


      21        basically put him more in the category of people


      22        who would live closer in the sense that he would


      23        have a greater adverse affect than everybody


      24        else who's beyond 350 feet.


      25             THE CHAIRMAN:  Councilmember Shad, do you





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        have a question?


       2             MR. SHAD:  Yes.  Thank you.


       3             Mr. Arpen, do all affected parties get


       4        15 minutes?  Because there's dozens of affected


       5        parties, correct?  Can you explain that?


       6             MR. ARPEN:  Actually, in this case, there


       7        are only two others that are affected parties.


       8        So under the rules and under the case you have


       9        before you today, there are two affected parties


      10        who are qualified as affected parties.


      11             I'm not sure whether they will both be here


      12        or whether they will speak for themselves or


      13        have an agent or spokesman on their behalf, but


      14        Ann Burt and Donald Smith [sic], both clearly


      15        qualify as affected parties and being within the


      16        350 feet, and I believe they appeared at the


      17        Planning Commission back in 2004.


      18             So you really have two, possibly three


      19        affected parties.


      20             MR. SHAD:  My question was, where did the


      21        15 minute -- is it just a standard rule that


      22        every affected party gets 15 minutes?


      23             MR. ARPEN:  What happens is --


      24             MR. SHAD:  I know we have some cases.


      25        We've had dozens.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct,


       2        Councilmember Shad, under the rules we have


       3        adopted, what you most often use, which is the


       4        informal hearing process.


       5             But if either side opts to avail themselves


       6        of the formal hearing process, there's actually


       7        in the council rules a procedure set out, which


       8        is sort of tracked in the attachment to the


       9        agenda, which sets forth opening statements,


      10        presentations, public comments, rebuttal


      11        evidence and so forth.


      12             So those time frames and format come


      13        straight from the council rules where either


      14        party decides to invoke the possibility of a


      15        formal hearing.


      16             MR. SHAD:  So going forward, if there's


      17        five affected parties on one side, they would


      18        get five times 15?


      19             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.


      20             MR. SHAD:  And then the other side, if


      21        there was just the applicant, would he get just


      22        15 or would he get five times 15?


      23             MR. ARPEN:  Typically, if there's one


      24        applicant, they would get only 15.  But we would


      25        always advise the committee if there's any issue





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        of fairness or an opportunity to fully rebut


       2        issues raised by either side, that you err on


       3        the side of granting full opportunity for an


       4        argument to be made as opposed to cutting


       5        somebody off when they believe they've had an


       6        inadequate amount of time to rebut a lengthier


       7        argument by the other side.


       8             MR. SHAD:  Thank you.


       9             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Councilmember


      10        Shad.


      11             (Mr. Wendler approaches the podium.)


      12             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Wendler.


      13             MR. WENDLER:  That's correct.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Good afternoon.


      15             Welcome.  You have five minutes to present


      16        your argument.


      17             MR. WENDLER:  I could have saved him that


      18        long speech.  I withdraw my request.


      19             THE CHAIRMAN:  All right.  Thank you very


      20        much.  You're making our job phenomenally


      21        easier.


      22             Thank you, Mr. Arpen.


      23             Now that we've concluded that portion, I


      24        believe we're now ready for the resolution to be


      25        read.  Will you be reading that or Legislative





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Services, or who will be handling that?


       2             MR. ARPEN:  I believe that Legislative


       3        Services would if they have it available in


       4        front of them.  If not, I can find it.


       5             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.


       6             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, the resolution is


       7        several pages long.  I had advised staff to read


       8        the title of the resolution, and we have a copy


       9        that would be available to anybody who would


      10        need to read the entire resolution itself.


      11             THE CHAIRMAN:  All right.  If we could just


      12        read the title to the resolution, please.


      13             MS. STEPHENS:  "A resolution concerning


      14        appeal of final order issued by the Planning


      15        Commission approving the application for zoning


      16        exception E-04-117 to Aaron Hill to allow for


      17        the retail sales and service of all alcoholic


      18        beverages, including beer, liquor or wine, for


      19        on-premise consumption in conjunction with the


      20        service of food from a menu in conjunction with


      21        a bona fide restaurant (4-COP SRX) on property


      22        located in Council District 1 at 7707 Arlington


      23        Expressway, pursuant to Section 656.141,


      24        ordinance code; repealing resolution 2005-331-A


      25        and rehearing the appeal of zoning exception





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        E-04-117; adopting recommended findings and


       2        conclusions of the Land Use and Zoning Committee


       3        providing an effective date."


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


       5             We are now ready for any disclosure of


       6        ex-parte communications by council members.  Are


       7        there any declarations to be made?


       8             Councilwoman Mia Jones.


       9             MS. JONES:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I


      10        apologize for my voice.


      11             On May 25th, 2005, I arrived approximately


      12        8 p.m. at the restaurant, and then I proceeded


      13        to conversate with some of the patrons and the


      14        employees.  I placed an order for dinner after


      15        going over the menu in more detail and speaking


      16        with the musicians who were there that evening.


      17        After choosing not to have desert, I requested a


      18        bill and paid with my credit card.


      19             Before I finished my meal, I asked the


      20        owner what his plans were for the business.  He


      21        indicated that it would be similar to what would


      22        be called a supper club and would provide for a


      23        full bar for patrons for lunch and dinner and


      24        late night dining.  He went on to say that he


      25        also had a private dining room for private





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        parties.  He offered to give me a tour and


       2        shared with me some of the details of the


       3        renovation that had already taken place.


       4             I thanked him for the tour and encouraged


       5        him to move forward with his vision and


       6        providing quality food, great entertainment, and


       7        a relaxing ambience.  Please do not hesitate to


       8        contact me.


       9             This was going to our general counsel when


      10        asked about the notes that I had taken after the


      11        meeting that took place.


      12             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you very much.


      13             Councilmember Yarborough.


      14             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      15             I'd like to declare ex-parte communications


      16        with Mr. Ted Wendler, December 9th, 2007, at


      17        3:30 p.m. to discuss the history of this issue.


      18             Thank you.


      19             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      20             Seeing no other ex-parte declarations, we


      21        are ready to have the matter introduced.  We are


      22        going -- let me let the speakers know.  We are


      23        going to have each one of you sworn in, as you


      24        come up and speak, by our court reporter.  We


      25        will do that individually as you come up to the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        podium for the first time, and I'll try to


       2        remind you in further appearances that you're


       3        still under oath.


       4             So with that, I'll turn to the Planning


       5        Department and ask for their introduction of the


       6        matter with the Planning Department staff.


       7             MR. KELLY:  Thank you.


       8             To the Chair, this application, again, was


       9        an exception allowing for the retail sale and


      10        service of all alcoholic beverages, including


      11        beer and wine, for on-premises consumption in


      12        conjunction with the service of food from a menu


      13        and in conjunction with a bona fide restaurant.


      14             Staff reviewed the application, found it to


      15        be consistent in that the service of alcohol was


      16        incidental to the service of food at this


      17        location.


      18             Given the license stature, the location on


      19        Arlington Expressway, in addition to the use


      20        that had previously occupied that same location,


      21        which was a Red Lobster, which was also a


      22        bona fide restaurant, staff had supported the


      23        exception which did go to the Planning


      24        Commission, and the Planning Commission then


      25        also approved in conjunction with the staff





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        report.


       2             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Kelly.


       3             If I could ask my court reporter, is it


       4        more efficient for us to swear everybody in at


       5        one time or individually?


       6             (Discussion between the Chairman and the


       7        Court Reporter.)


       8             THE CHAIRMAN:  We'll do it as I described


       9        earlier.  That will be fine.


      10             We are now ready for an opening statement


      11        by the applicant, who's Aaron Hill or his


      12        applicant agent, Mr. Harden.


      13             (Mr. Harden approaches the podium.)


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Good afternoon.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      16             Paul Harden, 1301 Riverplace Boulevard.


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  You have three minutes,


      18        Mr. Harden, for your opening statement.


      19             MR. HARDEN:  If I go over on my opening


      20        statement, you can take that time off my


      21        15 minutes, if that's okay, because I think


      22        that's probably the longer portion of my


      23        presentation.


      24             Mr. Chairman, as you have heard from


      25        Mr. Arpen and Mr. Kelly, an application was





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        filed for retail sale of alcohol at a location


       2        on the Arlington Expressway back in 2004.  This


       3        location was previously a Red Lobster


       4        restaurant.


       5             That Red Lobster restaurant located at that


       6        site served alcohol for somewhere around 12 or


       7        15 years before it was shut down and then was


       8        vacant for a while, and then my clients acquired


       9        the site.


      10             The application was filed in late 2004.


      11        That application on its face shows that it meets


      12        all nine of the criteria of the zoning code for


      13        granting of the SRX license.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Harden, if I can


      15        interrupt you and stop the time for a second, I


      16        did not swear you in.


      17             MR. HARDEN:  Well, this is an opening


      18        statement.  None of this is evidence.  I think


      19        it would be appropriate to swear -- you can ask


      20        Mr. Arpen; he's your lawyer -- but you swear


      21        people in when we get to the evidentiary


      22        portion.


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  I agree with you.  I just


      24        want to make sure the other side understood the


      25        parameters.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             Go ahead.  Thank you.


       2             MR. HARDEN:  Following the application,


       3        which showed on its face that my client met all


       4        of the criteria of the zoning code, the Planning


       5        Department researched the application and on


       6        January 27th, 2005, issued a detailed report


       7        finding that the applicant met each and every


       8        one of the nine criteria of the zoning code for


       9        granting of the SRX license.


      10             This is important because, as you know, in


      11        a quasi-judicial function, you are to base your


      12        decision only on the competent and substantial


      13        evidence as to whether those nine criteria are


      14        met.


      15             On January 27th of 2005, the Planning


      16        Commission met.  They considered all of the


      17        evidence, considered the Planning Department


      18        report, and they found by a seven to one vote


      19        that my client met each and every one of the


      20        criteria and granted the exception.


      21             An appeal was taken to the LUZ Committee,


      22        then, at that time, consisting of members of the


      23        LUZ Committee in 2005.  That committee found


      24        that my client met each and every one of the


      25        criteria, that the appellant did not meet the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        standard for the appeal, and, again, upheld the


       2        application for the grant of the exception.


       3             We are now -- that matter was then


       4        considered by the full council who by super


       5        majority vote also found that my client met all


       6        the criteria and was entitled to the exception.


       7             We are back here before the LUZ Committee


       8        on what Mr. Arpen explained was an agreement


       9        between the appellant and the General Counsel's


      10        Office to rehear this matter to which my party


      11        was not a client -- my client was not a party.


      12        I said that backwards.


      13             Decisions on zoning exceptions, as noted,


      14        are to be based solely on the criteria of the


      15        zoning code.  On at least three occasions, three


      16        separate bodies -- the LUZ committee, the


      17        Planning Commission, and the full council --


      18        have found that my client met each and every one


      19        of the criteria.


      20             Now, the burden that the appellant has


      21        today is a much more difficult burden than


      22        determining if the criteria are met.  I want to


      23        cite to the committee Irvine versus the City of


      24        Jacksonville Planning Commission.


      25             This is a Florida Supreme Court case, and





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        it says, "Once the petitioner has met the


       2        initial burden of showing that his application


       3        meets the statutory criteria for granting the


       4        exception, the burden to demonstrate by


       5        competent substantial evidence presented at the


       6        hearing is that the application does not meet


       7        the standards and" -- this is a very important


       8        and -- "was, in fact, adverse to public


       9        interest."


      10             So my client, having met the burden of the


      11        criteria, they have to prove not only that we


      12        don't meet the criteria, but, in addition to


      13        that, that the granting of this exception to


      14        sell alcohol that another operator operated on


      15        for 15 years at the exact same location was


      16        against the public interest.


      17             Now, since we've heard this appeal a couple


      18        of times, I know what the pitch is that the


      19        appellants are going to make, and their argument


      20        is that the report of the Planning Department


      21        does not form competent substantial evidence to


      22        uphold the application.


      23             I would cite to the committee two cases,


      24        one out of the Second District Court of Appeal


      25        and one out of the Fifth District Court of





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Appeal.


       2             The first one is Hillsborough County vs.


       3        Longo.  It says that you can base an application


       4        solely on competent substantial evidence by the


       5        report of staff.  Likewise, in Battaglia Fruit


       6        vs. City of Maitland, one of my favorite cases,


       7        the Fifth DCA, you can, again, base a zoning


       8        approval solely on the evidence based on -- from


       9        the planning staff.


      10             So notwithstanding the earlier arguments of


      11        the applicant, the competent substantial


      12        evidence of the Planning Department has been


      13        held by both the three courts of appeal as well


      14        as the Florida Supreme Court that it can be the


      15        sole criteria to base your competent substantial


      16        evidence.


      17             In this particular case, we have two years


      18        of activity on the site.  If you go back and


      19        were to read the record, which you already have


      20        before you -- and let me confirm through


      21        Mr. Arpen that in the record is the Planning


      22        Department report --


      23             MR. ARPEN:  (Nods head.)


      24             MR. HARDEN:  -- the May 2005 transcript of


      25        the LUZ committee, the January 2005 transcript





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        of the Planning Commission.


       2             So the complaints, if you will, that were


       3        suggested, which I will tell you do not rise to


       4        the standard of adverse to public interest, over


       5        two years have not been proven out.


       6             Mr. Hill has operated this business and


       7        this restaurant for two years.  There have been


       8        no police reports.  There have been no incidents


       9        to shutting down.  There have been no complaints


      10        by the alcohol and beverage folks.  There have


      11        been no violations of his liquor license, all


      12        the suggested horrors that the appellants


      13        suggested last time.


      14             I would respectfully request that you


      15        uphold the actions previously by the Planning


      16        Department, the Planning Commission, the LUZ


      17        Committee, and the full council.


      18             Now, let me also give you one other tidbit


      19        for you to consider.  In order to file this


      20        appeal, the applicants have to explain to you


      21        why they want you to overturn the actions of the


      22        Planning Commission, and here I'm reading from


      23        their appellant document.


      24             It says, "Give a description of the


      25        specific error you believe the Planning





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Commission committed.  Please provide a


       2        description in the space below."


       3             The answer is, "The Planning Commission did


       4        not properly consider the preponderance of


       5        evidence of record" -- "preponderance of


       6        evidence of record presented at the public


       7        hearing, and the proposed use does not meet the


       8        standards and criteria of an exception."


       9             That does not meet the burden of an


      10        appellant.  So even if they were to prove what


      11        they said, which they can't because you have the


      12        Planning Department's report finding they meet


      13        each and every one of the criteria and both


      14        Battaglia Fruit and Hillsborough County say that


      15        is sufficient competent substantial evidence to


      16        shift the burden, even that doesn't mean the


      17        appeal should be upheld.


      18             Because as Irvine, the Florida Supreme


      19        Court case, unluckily, in an appeal that came


      20        from the City of Jacksonville Planning


      21        Commission -- and I'm sure Mr. Arpen did his


      22        best on defending -- says that in addition to


      23        showing that they don't meet the nine criteria,


      24        which we know they do because there's competent


      25        substantial evidence for Battaglia, they then





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        have to prove it is adverse to the public


       2        interest, a very, very difficult burden.


       3             I would respectfully suggest to you the two


       4        years of activity at this site where Mr. Hill


       5        has run a very, very fine establishment, very


       6        similar to the Red Lobster activity, for 12 to


       7        15 years shows that it's not adverse to the


       8        public interest.


       9             With that, I'll sit down and let them make


      10        their opening statement and then present the


      11        evidence upon which we rely.


      12             Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Harden.


      14             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, just to respond


      15        to one of the questions Mr. Harden raised, I


      16        would like to state for the record that the


      17        materials before the committee do include the


      18        transcript of the January 27th, 2005, Planning


      19        Commission meeting.


      20             However, because this is a rehearing,


      21        basically starting fresh, we did not include in


      22        the materials the transcript -- the


      23        presentations and debate before the LUZ


      24        Committee the last time they took it up.


      25             So what you've got is the Planning





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Commission transcript but not the prior LUZ


       2        transcript since this is a rehearing.


       3             MR. HARDEN:  Most importantly the report of


       4        the Planning Department is, however, part of the


       5        record, Mr. Arpen; is that correct?


       6             MR. ARPEN:  It is.  That's correct.


       7             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  Mr. Chairman, I would


       8        respectfully request that the May 2005


       9        transcript, which is sworn testimony, whether


      10        the outcome of it is inconsequential as


      11        Mr. Arpen suggested, but the testimony itself is


      12        relevant and admissible, and I would ask that


      13        that be introduced unless there's an objection.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      16             THE CHAIRMAN:  Seeing no objection, at this


      17        point we'll allow it.


      18             Mr. Harden, I show that you took eight


      19        minutes for your opening statement.  I'll deduct


      20        those five minutes from your --


      21             MR. HARDEN:  By my math, eight minus 18


      22        would leave me ten minutes for my presentation.


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  Exactly.


      24             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, if it's


      25        acceptable to the committee, one recommendation





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        I would make -- and I imagine Mr. Harden or the


       2        other side wouldn't have any opposition to it --


       3        would be that we make available to the committee


       4        and put in the record the testimony and evidence


       5        presented during the LUZ hearing but not include


       6        the deliberations, which were -- which were the


       7        committee's discussions, again, since in our


       8        view this ought to be a fresh rehearing and not


       9        be affected by what the committee may have


      10        discussed previously, but certainly the


      11        evidence -- no sense in repeating it.


      12             MR. HARDEN:  May I be heard on that issue


      13        and it not be deducted from my time?


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Quick response.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  With all due respect to


      16        Mr. Arpen's opinion, the actual finding of the


      17        committee that we met the criteria -- not the


      18        debate; I understand the issue on the debate --


      19        the finding of the committee that we met the


      20        nine criteria, I believe, is relevant under a


      21        finding that a quasi-judicial body is to give


      22        deference to findings by parties who have that


      23        obligation.  And, in this particular case, it


      24        was the obligation of the LUZ Committee to make


      25        a finding one way or the other.  You don't have





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        to agree with it, but it's admissible evidence,


       2        and you're required to give deference to it.


       3             That's my pitch.


       4             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, I think our


       5        office position on that would be that although


       6        there was a previous decision of the committee,


       7        that the effect of this resolution in granting


       8        the rehearing would be to repeal the previous


       9        action and to rehear and decide it freshly.


      10             So our view would be that the evidence


      11        could be relevant but that the decision of this


      12        committee should be made independently of the


      13        committee in 2005.


      14             MR. HARDEN:  I don't disagree that it's an


      15        independent decision.  I'm just saying the


      16        finding, I think, is relevant.  That's, again,


      17        without --


      18             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Harden.


      19             MR. HARDEN:  Thank you.


      20             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Yarborough has a


      21        question.


      22             MR. YARBOROUGH:  I just wanted to make a


      23        comment.  If we do what Mr. Harden suggests and


      24        introduce that in, I haven't had -- I had an


      25        opportunity last night to read over the Planning





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Commission transcript, but I have not had an


       2        opportunity to read over what the LUZ Committee


       3        did.


       4             So I don't know if we would be in the -- I


       5        mean, it's up to the committee -- if we'd be in


       6        the proper posture to take action.  But not


       7        having reviewed all the documents that may be


       8        pertinent to this proceeding, I don't know if it


       9        would be appropriate to move forward and act on


      10        it if we have not had time to review all the


      11        pertinent documents, Mr. Chairman.


      12             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      13             I'll take Mr. Harden's request into


      14        consideration.  I believe Mr. Crescimbeni is


      15        going to --


      16             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Mr. Chairman, just as a


      17        point of order, if we're going to include the


      18        testimony or the evidentiary portion of the May


      19        17th, 2005, LUZ meeting -- is that what you're


      20        asking for, Paul?


      21             MR. HARDEN:  Yes.


      22             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  This was also heard at


      23        the July 19th, 2005, LUZ meeting.  I would ask


      24        that you also consider entering that as well


      25        since both of these meetings were conducted by





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        LUZ on this issue.


       2             THE CHAIRMAN:  Well, here's what I'm going


       3        to do:  I'm going to allow it to be referenced


       4        by either party, both of those meetings.  As


       5        Councilman Yarborough has pointed out, we


       6        haven't been afforded the opportunity to review


       7        those before we arrived today.


       8             So both parties may reference them in their


       9        discussions, but they'll have to educate this


      10        committee as part of that discussion, and it


      11        will count as part of your time as you do that.


      12             From the opposition side, I have Ann Burt


      13        or agent or Donald Smith or agent.  Who would


      14        like to go first?


      15             (Audience member approaches the podium.)


      16             THE CHAIRMAN:  Are there any other affected


      17        parties here today that are wishing to speak?


      18             AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  (No response.)


      19             THE CHAIRMAN:  Seeing none, good


      20        afternoon.  Give your name and address for the


      21        record and your opening statement, please.


      22             Obviously, since I had leniency in


      23        Mr. Harden's time, I'll have some leniency in


      24        yours and we'll deduct it off of your


      25        presentation time at the end.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you.


       2             THE CHAIRMAN:  Good afternoon.


       3             AUDIENCE MEMBER:  My name is Ann Burt.  I


       4        reside at 7866 Glen Echo Road North in


       5        Jacksonville.


       6             I would like to begin by stating that


       7        Mr. Harden is not correct as to why we were


       8        here.


       9             We are here because we were denied


      10        procedural due process to present our facts


      11        relating to other matters in this case.  We are


      12        not here to argue the point that Mr. Hill has


      13        the right to operate a restaurant in this


      14        location.


      15             We have no argument with the Planning


      16        Commission report.  We are here to present


      17        substantial competent evidence that the


      18        establishment known as Arielle's engages in


      19        nightclub activity.  We are here to correct a


      20        grievous error made by general counsel regarding


      21        the right of the City to condition a zoning


      22        exception in regard to hours of operation.  And


      23        we are here to request that this committee


      24        condition the hours of operation on this


      25        establishment and thereby ensure the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        compatibility of this establishment with the


       2        surrounding neighborhood.


       3             And I am designating John Crescimbeni to


       4        speak as my agent during the other portion.


       5             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you very much.


       6             MS. BURT:  Thank you.


       7             THE CHAIRMAN:  Donald Smith.


       8             (Audience member approaches the podium.)


       9             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Smitha -- I've been told


      10        that it is Smitha.


      11             DR. SMITHA:  Smitha.


      12             THE CHAIRMAN:  I apologize.  I thought it


      13        was a typo, and it was not, so I apologize.


      14             DR. SMITHA:  My name is Donald Smitha.  My


      15        address, for the record, is 812 Alderman Road,


      16        Jacksonville.  It is immediately adjacent to the


      17        subject property.


      18             I would request that -- I have some records


      19        here to submit for the record.  Number 1, a


      20        petition for the Writ of Certiorari.  Number 2,


      21        a first amended complaint, Case No.


      22        162005CA006374.  And, number 3, a first amended


      23        petition for the Writ of Certiorari.


      24             I have these to submit, but I would like to


      25        have my time be applied to my agent, John





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Crescimbeni, please.


       2             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  We can do that.


       3        Thank you much.


       4             You can give that information to


       5        Legislative Services.


       6             MR. HARDEN:  Mr. Chairman, those are


       7        irrelevant documents.  I would like for -- I


       8        don't know who you would get rulings from, but


       9        certainly if the finding of the LUZ Committee


      10        were relevant court documents -- it's just their


      11        petition for certiorari that was never heard by


      12        the circuit court.


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Arpen.


      14             MR. ARPEN:  Your Honor -- not Your Honor.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  I like that, though.


      16             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman.


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  I did stay at a Holiday Inn


      18        Express last night.


      19             MR. ARPEN:  I've been in court too much


      20        this week.


      21             Anyway, it would be our advice to you that


      22        because this is -- it's like a step back in


      23        time.  You're putting yourselves back in the


      24        shoes of the LUZ Committee that heard this back


      25        in 2005 before there was an appeal filed, and it





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        would be our recommendation that the committee


       2        not consider the court pleadings that were filed


       3        subsequent to that.


       4             But certainly to the extent there were any


       5        issues raised in those pleadings that they would


       6        like to raise this time, they could certainly


       7        include that as part of their presentation.


       8             In our view, it would be inappropriate to


       9        include in the record court pleadings which took


      10        place after the prior hearing when the purpose


      11        of this rehearing is to put you back in the


      12        shoes of the committee in 2005, sort of a step


      13        back in time.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  On advice of counsel,


      15        we will not allow them to be submitted.


      16             Mr. Smitha did indicate that


      17        Mr. Crescimbeni will be representing him and


      18        Ms. Burt as their agent.


      19             So, Mr. Crescimbeni, do you have any


      20        opening statements as part of their


      21        presentation?  Is that a no?


      22             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Does the applicant go


      23        first?


      24             THE CHAIRMAN:  If you could come to the


      25        microphone, please.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Sorry.  They concluded


       2        their opening statements, so --


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Thank you very much.


       4        Thank you, Mr. Crescimbeni.


       5             We are now ready for presentation of


       6        evidence.  If I could have -- Mr. Crescimbeni,


       7        are you going to speak for both -- for both the


       8        agents?  Are you going to be the only speaker on


       9        the presentations?


      10             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  More than likely.


      11             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  If I could have


      12        Mr. Crescimbeni and Mr. Harden please come


      13        forward and be sworn in by the court reporter.


      14             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  (Complies.)


      15             MR. HARDEN:  (Complies.)


      16             THE REPORTER:  Would you raise your right


      17        hand for me, please.


      18             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  (Complies.)


      19             MR. HARDEN:  (Complies.)


      20             THE REPORTER:  Do you affirm that the


      21        testimony you're about to give will be the


      22        truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the


      23        truth?


      24             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I do.


      25             MR. HARDEN:  I do.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             THE REPORTER:  Thank you.


       2             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you very much.


       3             We are now ready for presentations of


       4        evidence.  We'll begin with the applicant who's


       5        represented by Paul Harden.


       6             Mr. Harden, you have ten minutes remaining


       7        for your presentation.


       8             MR. HARDEN:  I won't take nearly the ten


       9        minutes.


      10             Paul Harden, 1301 Riverplace Boulevard.


      11             Let me, again, clarify for the record that


      12        we would like to introduce into evidence the


      13        report of the Planning and Development


      14        Department regarding application for zoning


      15        exception E-04-117, dated January 27th, 2005.


      16             May I have an indication on the record that


      17        is in evidence, please.


      18             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.


      19             MR. HARDEN:  Is that a yes, it's in


      20        evidence?


      21             THE CHAIRMAN:  Yes, it is evidence.


      22             MR. HARDEN:  I'm sorry?


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  It is evidence as will be


      24        explained by you.


      25             MR. HARDEN:  Well, actually, Mr. Chairman,





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        it's not evidence to be explained by me.


       2             Again, I know you're going to rely on your


       3        own lawyer, but they have asked for the formal


       4        hearing.  As such, I would like to require that


       5        they be held -- this portion is now just


       6        presentation of evidence.  It can no longer be


       7        argument and opening.


       8             I'm going to go through the Planning


       9        Department report and present my position on it


      10        as well, but that the evidence -- that this


      11        report itself is evidence, and we would ask that


      12        you rely on --


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  The Planning Department


      14        report is definitely evidence.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  Thank you very much.


      16        Appreciate it.


      17             The first criteria for consideration -- I


      18        want to provide you with evidence on that -- is


      19        whether the proposed use is consistent with the


      20        comprehensive plan.


      21             The subject property is in the neighborhood


      22        commercial functional land use category.  You


      23        have attached to that application, and I would


      24        confirm that it is accurate, the map indicating


      25        that the site is surrounded by commercial uses





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        on all four sides.  The front is on the


       2        Arlington Expressway, a road that has about


       3        80,000 trips a day on one side of the road.


       4        That's where it fronts on there, with the


       5        service road, of course, in between.


       6             The future land use element calls for the


       7        providing of land use and zoning activity to


       8        integrate commercial areas into the area.  I


       9        would cite to you objective 3.2 of the 2010


      10        comprehensive plan, and I would render to you my


      11        opinion that this site meets the -- is, in fact,


      12        consistent with the comprehensive plan.


      13             I would also note to you that your experts,


      14        the Planning Department, have found that the


      15        site -- that the exception is consistent with


      16        the comprehensive plan.


      17             The second criteria is whether or not the


      18        use is compatible with the existing uses or


      19        zoning and the general character of the area.


      20        The Planning Department has opined -- and I


      21        agree with that opinion -- that the subject


      22        property is zoned CN.


      23             It's an existing 8,000-square-foot


      24        building.  That building previously was a


      25        Red Lobster.  It was in this same exact use.  It





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        had a zoning exception for alcohol at that


       2        location.  The orientation of the structure is


       3        towards the Arlington Expressway, which, as I


       4        indicated to you, is approximately 80,000 trips


       5        a day along that one location.


       6             The Planning Department has in their list


       7        of criteria number 2 -- and I will confirm the


       8        accuracy of that -- indicated the surrounding


       9        uses to which the property is placed.


      10             As such, I would tell you that because of


      11        the orientation and scale of the structures,


      12        that no existing property values will be


      13        affected and that there are similar uses in the


      14        area.


      15             With regard to the third criteria, whether


      16        there will be an environmental impact


      17        inconsistent with health, safety, and welfare, I


      18        would tell you that this building was used for


      19        this exact same use for approximately 12 to


      20        15 years.  During that time, there were no


      21        environmental impacts.


      22             For two years this property has been in


      23        this same use.  So the opinion of the Planning


      24        Department back in 2005 as to criteria 3 has


      25        been confirmed.  There are no negative





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        environmental impacts or should I say


       2        environmental impacts inconsistent with health,


       3        safety, and welfare of the community for the use


       4        which has been in effect for two years.


       5             The fourth criteria is whether the proposed


       6        use has a detrimental effect on vehicular or


       7        pedestrian traffic.


       8             The site plan, which you have in evidence,


       9        shows that there are existing curb-cuts along


      10        the service road along the Arlington Expressway


      11        and then one along Alderman Road.  The site has


      12        sufficient on-site parking to meet the


      13        requirements of the zoning code.


      14             The Planning Department found that that


      15        criteria was met, and I would confirm by my own


      16        personal experience that criteria number 4 is


      17        met.


      18             The fifth criteria is whether the proposed


      19        use will have a detrimental effect on


      20        development in the area.


      21             The Planning Department found no -- I would


      22        point out to you that the site is surrounded by


      23        developed-out properties, if you will.  The only


      24        properties not currently developed are


      25        properties that have previously been developed





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        and are now either vacant or need reuse


       2        activity.  So there is no activity on the site.


       3             For 12 to 15 years, again, Red Lobster


       4        located there at -- that was located at this


       5        location, it did not affect the future


       6        development of the site.  And indeed the last


       7        two years would show that the restaurant


       8        location with the retail sale of alcohol did not


       9        detrimentally affect the future development of


      10        the site.


      11             Criteria 6 is whether the proposed use


      12        would create objectionable and excessive noise,


      13        lights, vibrations, fumes, odors, dust.  The


      14        Planning Department opined that it did not.


      15             I will tell you that for two years they


      16        have operated at this location.  There have been


      17        no police reports.  There have been no


      18        complaints to the Environmental Protection


      19        folks.  So I think that -- would respectfully


      20        suggest to you that there are no objectionable


      21        or excessive noise, lights, vibrations, fumes,


      22        et cetera, as a result of the use.


      23             The seventh criteria is whether it will


      24        overburden existing public facilities.  The


      25        Planning Department opined that there is





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        available public facilities to the site, that it


       2        had been previously developed into the


       3        commercial use, and that there were adequate


       4        facilities.  And, again, for two years they have


       5        used the public facilities at that location with


       6        no problem.


       7             The eighth criteria is whether there's


       8        sufficient access for police and fire to the


       9        site.  As you can see, there are -- there's


      10        frontage, 275 feet, along the Arlington


      11        Expressway, as you can see from the site plan I


      12        should say, and that there is adequate access


      13        for fire, police and other services.


      14             Finally, the ninth criteria is whether the


      15        use is consistent with the definition of a


      16        zoning exception.  I will render to you my


      17        opinion that, in fact, it is consistent with the


      18        zoning exception request.


      19             The zoning for the retail sale of alcohol


      20        is a listed exception in the CN zoning category,


      21        which is what is at this site, as well as the NC


      22        future land use map category, and as such meets


      23        the ninth criteria.


      24             And I would ask you to note for the record


      25        that the Planning Department found that all nine





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        of the criteria were met, that on two occasions


       2        the Planning Commission and the Land Use and


       3        Zoning Committee found that all nine of the


       4        criteria are met, and we would respectfully


       5        suggest that that meets the burden required of


       6        the applicant.


       7             Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


       8             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Harden.


       9             There is an opportunity for


      10        cross-examination of the witness by the other


      11        party.


      12             MR. HARDEN:  There's a lot of lawyers that


      13        would like to have this chance.


      14             Mr. Crescimbeni, do you want to


      15        cross-examine me?


      16             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  (Shakes head.)


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  Seeing no cross-examination,


      18        it is now time for the presentation of evidence


      19        by the affected parties.  Mr. Crescimbeni, as


      20        the affected parties have indicated, will be


      21        representing them.


      22             (Mr. Crescimbeni approaches the podium.)


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Crescimbeni, you have


      24        15 minutes for your presentation of evidence.


      25             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Thank you.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             If I can get these distributed to the


       2        committee members.


       3             Thank you.


       4             John Crescimbeni, P.O. Box 8962,


       5        Jacksonville, 32239.


       6             MR. HARDEN:  Mr. Chairman, before you


       7        give -- I would just like to look at whatever


       8        else -- I wanted to look at it before you give


       9        it to them.


      10             MS. STEPHENS:  (Tenders documents to


      11        Mr. Harden.)


      12             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  If I could just go ahead


      13        and just start, Mr. Chairman.


      14             Dr. Smitha and --


      15             THE CHAIRMAN:  Can I clarify?


      16             Are you speaking for both or are you going


      17        to speak one at a time or --


      18             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I will speak for both.  I


      19        don't think I'll need their total time.


      20             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.  I appreciate it.


      21             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  To begin with, I don't


      22        think Dr. Smitha and Ms. Burt agreed to be here


      23        today.  They, I think, would have just as soon


      24        had their day in court.  This appeal was a


      25        mechanism to make the court case go away for the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        City and the City Council.  So I want to make


       2        that clarification.


       3             And, secondly, I don't think Dr. Smitha or


       4        Ms. Burt have any objection to the Planning


       5        Department report at this time, and they concur


       6        that, you know, the nine criteria that


       7        Mr. Harden took you through were all met.


       8             The primary objection they do have,


       9        however, is one of compatibility, and by


      10        granting this exception without a condition


      11        limiting the hours of operation would not be


      12        compatible with the surrounding area.


      13             Let me remind you that this establishment


      14        is operating in a building formerly occupied by


      15        a Red Lobster restaurant, but here's the


      16        important part:  It's in a neighborhood


      17        commercial land use category, a category defined


      18        by the zoning code as one which is to, and I


      19        quote, serve the daily needs of contiguous


      20        residential neighborhoods, end quote.


      21             Most other restaurants or establishments


      22        that operate as restaurants with a 4-COP SRX


      23        license, instead, operate in the much more


      24        intense community/general commercial land use


      25        category.  And you have a part of that record,





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        and I'm going to go ahead and I'll submit this


       2        for the secretary.


       3             You have a listing of 4-COP SRX licenses on


       4        a number of restaurants in Jacksonville, and


       5        there are four on there, including Arielle's,


       6        that operate in the neighborhood commercial land


       7        use category.


       8             THE CHAIRMAN:  Can you provide one of those


       9        to Mr. Harden, please.


      10             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Yes, he does have one.


      11             MR. HARDEN:  I have one.


      12             This is irrelevant to the nine criteria.


      13        They have stipulated we meet the nine criteria.


      14        That's all we're here to suggest to you.


      15             THE CHAIRMAN:  It's his presentation.  If


      16        he wants -- you can rebut --


      17             MR. HARDEN:  With all due respect, they


      18        asked for a formal presentation.


      19             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  No, we didn't ask for a


      20        formal presentation, Mr. Harden.  We didn't ask


      21        for this.


      22             MR. HARDEN:  Who did then?


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  First off, we're not going


      24        to have an argument between the two of you at


      25        the podium.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             I'll go to Mr. Arpen, who's our legal


       2        counsel, to advise us on what we should do.


       3             MR. ARPEN:  Actually, Mr. Chairman, I


       4        believe that -- and Ms. Sheppard was the one who


       5        coordinated the arrangements for the formal


       6        hearing.  It was my understanding through her


       7        that one of the parties had requested a formal


       8        hearing.


       9             Now, I don't know whether it was Ms. Burt,


      10        Dr. Smitha or Mr. Wendler who requested it, but


      11        I do know there was a request from one of the


      12        three of them that there be a formal


      13        proceeding -- one of the three of them or their


      14        agent, that there be a formal proceeding in this


      15        case.  Under the rules, once any party requests


      16        it, it invokes the right to it.


      17             So I don't know what origin the request


      18        was, just that our office received a request


      19        that it be handled as a formal hearing, which is


      20        why we're in the more extended --


      21             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Let me back up and


      22        restate that, then.


      23             We didn't necessarily request that it be


      24        reheard by LUZ.  But when LUZ decided to rehear


      25        this, we did, in fact, request a formal hearing





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        when the City decided to hear this case or hear


       2        this matter again.  But, like I said, we would


       3        have just as soon taken it up with the Circuit


       4        Court.


       5             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  I have a question


       6        from Councilmember Webb.


       7             MR. WEBB:  Thank you.


       8             Through the Chair to General Counsel and, I


       9        guess, for the Chair as well.  To Mr. Harden's


      10        point, what is the procedure?  What are the


      11        council rules with regard to the question of


      12        determination of relevance in this type of


      13        proceeding?  Is it the Chair that rules on the


      14        question of relevance or is it a majority vote


      15        of the council?  What is the procedure?


      16             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Arpen.


      17             MR. ARPEN:  Actually, I would need to


      18        refresh my recollection.


      19             Through the rules, I believe the committee


      20        Chair rules on the issue of admissibility.  And


      21        I would presume that subject as -- under any


      22        other issues of the council, that if any member


      23        of the committee wishes to contest that ruling


      24        through a vote of the full committee, that could


      25        be done.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             But I would think that rather than having a


       2        vote on each objection that may be raised and


       3        any question of whether anything would come in,


       4        that the Chair make the ruling subject to the


       5        opportunity for the committee as a whole to


       6        overturn that ruling.


       7             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  I guess back through the


       8        Chair to General Counsel.  With regard to our


       9        posture this evening regarding this appeal, we


      10        are hearing -- this is a rehearing of the appeal


      11        to the full -- excuse me -- to the LUZ,


      12        challenging the ruling of the LUZ on this


      13        application that came -- that was back in '05;


      14        is that correct?


      15             MR. ARPEN:  It -- it's actually a -- I'm


      16        not sure if I followed that.


      17             What it is, it's actually this committee


      18        standing in the shoes of the 2005 committee and


      19        rehearing the appeal from the Planning


      20        Commission as though it were being heard the


      21        first time today.


      22             So you are actually not reviewing the


      23        decision made in 2005 by the LUZ Committee and


      24        the council.  You are hearing fresh the appeal


      25        of the decision of the Planning Commission,





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        which was to grant the zoning exception.  So


       2        it's as though three years had not elapsed or


       3        two years had not elapsed and you were the body


       4        hearing the appeal of the zoning exception grant


       5        from 2005.


       6             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  Thank you.


       7             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  My question to


       8        Mr. Arpen is, if this is an appeal, we are


       9        strictly hearing evidence presented at the


      10        original Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting


      11        or the Planning Commission meeting or the


      12        Planning and Development staff report, correct?


      13             It's not an opportunity to introduce new


      14        evidence.  Typically, when we hear an appeal, we


      15        don't hear new evidence.  We hear argument of


      16        why the previous evidence wasn't considered


      17        accurately.


      18             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.


      19             Under Section 656.143 of the ordinance


      20        code, under the scope of review for the council


      21        action on a zoning appeal, actually what it says


      22        is, "The council's review shall be a de novo" --


      23        which means a new -- "review of the record and


      24        applicable law, provided however any council


      25        member may view the property and consider that





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        view."


       2             And then it says, "The record shall include


       3        all evidence and testimony presented to the


       4        commission" -- and that would also include the


       5        downtown review board for downtown properties --


       6        "as well as any evidence presented to the


       7        appropriate committee of the council."


       8             So it's a de novo hearing in that you --


       9        the ruling of the Planning Commission really


      10        doesn't come to you so much with a presumption


      11        of correctness.  It's evidence you can consider,


      12        but it's your review of the record and the law


      13        to determine whether it meets the criteria set


      14        forth in the ordinance code for zoning


      15        exceptions.


      16             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  I have two


      17        questions.


      18             Councilmember Yarborough.


      19             MR. YARBOROUGH:  I guess I'll ask the


      20        Chair, then, in line with what Mr. Arpen said,


      21        if you will allow this evidence to be admitted


      22        if it's not new, meaning between 2005 and -7,


      23        that Mr. Crescimbeni has given for our review,


      24        will you allow that to be admitted?


      25             THE CHAIRMAN:  I'll answer that in just a





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        minute.


       2             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  Councilmember Webb.


       4             MR. WEBB:  Thank you.


       5             Through the Chair to General Counsel,


       6        again, my understanding of the ordinance with --


       7        this is a shifting burden analysis, in my


       8        understanding of the ordinance, that the --


       9        the applicant has the burden of satisfying the


      10        nine points listed with regard to consistent


      11        with the -- consistency with the comprehensive


      12        land use plan -- excuse me -- ordinance.


      13             At that point, though, however, once he


      14        satisfies that burden, it may shift -- the


      15        council may consider evidence -- or the


      16        commission may consider evidence of adverse


      17        impact to the community; is that correct?


      18             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.


      19             Although adverse impact to the community is


      20        one of the criteria which is to be considered in


      21        the review of the zoning exception, which one of


      22        them -- for example, item 3 is -- item 2 is


      23        whether it's compatible with existing conditions


      24        and zoning in the area, and number 3 is whether


      25        it will have an environmental impact





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        inconsistent with the health, safety, and


       2        welfare of the community.


       3             So the adverse impact is a matter you may


       4        consider, but it's also one of the criteria for


       5        the initial decision on the zoning exception as


       6        well.


       7             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  That being the case,


       8        though, the evidence of Mr. -- and I don't want


       9        to beat this horse to death, but the evidence


      10        that Mr. Crescimbeni is introducing is relevant


      11        to the criteria that are -- that were before the


      12        commission that's being appealed here today; is


      13        that correct?


      14             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  And if it will help,


      15        Mr. Chairman, we introduced this evidence at the


      16        LUZ meeting -- the two previous LUZ Committee


      17        meetings.


      18             MR. WEBB:  Through the Chair to the General


      19        Counsel, I guess my -- or to the Chair, I guess


      20        my concern is that we -- we're de novo at this


      21        point.  We're back to where we started.  So


      22        we're not limited by the evidence that was


      23        necessarily introduced back in '05; is that a


      24        fair statement, Mr. Assistant General Counsel?


      25             MR. ARPEN:  Through the Chair, I believe





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        that's correct.


       2             I think that's reinforced by the fact that


       3        Mr. Harden previously made reference to


       4        conditions that have existed since 2005


       5        operating out at the site.  So to the extent


       6        that the committee is to consider evidence


       7        presented by Mr. Harden as to the lack of


       8        adverse effects in the two years it's been in


       9        operation -- and then certainly the other side


      10        would be able to present any evidence to the


      11        contrary even though it may have occurred since


      12        the 2005 decision.


      13             MR. HARDEN:  I don't disagree with that.


      14        That's not my objection, just so you will know.


      15             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.


      16             MR. HARDEN:  It's a relevancy objection.


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Crescimbeni, what were


      18        you trying to introduce to the committee?


      19             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I'm sorry.  Let me back


      20        up a little bit.


      21             What I was trying to tell the committee was


      22        that this establishment operates in a


      23        neighborhood commercial land use category.  Most


      24        restaurants or establishments that operate as


      25        true restaurants operate in a much more intense





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        land use category.  And the table that we're


       2        introducing, which was introduced previously,


       3        lists a number of restaurants in the area, and


       4        you will note that only four of them exist in


       5        the neighborhood commercial land use.  The rest


       6        of them are in more intense land use and zoning


       7        districts.


       8             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  So the table you're


       9        trying to introduce had been previously


      10        introduced at a previous hearing?


      11             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  That's correct.


      12             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Then I'll allow that.


      13             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  At the Planning


      14        Commission hearing, you know, I believe the


      15        Planning Commissioners recognized that.


      16             And we're interested in limiting the hours


      17        of operation as a condition to this exception.


      18             In fact, Commissioner Register specifically


      19        asked staff the following question, quote, I


      20        know that we don't, as a part of the approval


      21        process, require someone to give us hours of


      22        operation, but I also know that in the past we


      23        have put some contingents on conditions as a --


      24             MR. HARDEN:  I don't want to keep


      25        interrupting, but I have to preserve my





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        objections.  So maybe you could give me a better


       2        way to do it because I don't want to interrupt


       3        Mr. Crescimbeni --


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  Well, you're going to have a


       5        chance for rebuttal.


       6             MR. HARDEN:  That's not the point,


       7        Mr. Chairman.


       8             They've asked for a formal hearing, and


       9        that's why, although it may have been introduced


      10        into evidence before, there wasn't an


      11        opportunity for me to object because it was an


      12        informal hearing.  Now we're on the record at


      13        their request for a formal hearing.  They have


      14        to comply with the rules which allow me to


      15        object to relevance.


      16             None of this, what he's saying, is


      17        admissible as evidence.  Again, I don't mean --


      18        you hear it all the time in the normal committee


      19        hearings, but they've asked for a different type


      20        hearing that Mr. Arpen explained to you.  So I


      21        have to preserve, without looking like a jerk,


      22        my objections for the record.


      23             I'm trying not to interrupt him, but his


      24        reading from transcripts is not evidence that's


      25        relevant for the committee's consideration.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             And, again, maybe it's best to have


       2        Mr. Arpen --


       3             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Mr. Chairman, Mr. Harden


       4        introduced the Planning Commission transcript.


       5        If it's not relevant, I'm not sure why he


       6        introduced it.  He introduced the transcript


       7        from the Planning Commission earlier in his


       8        presentation.


       9             MR. HARDEN:  Actually, it was already in


      10        the record, but that's not, again, my issue.


      11             I have to preserve for the record my


      12        objections, and you tell me the best way to do


      13        it without interrupting him, and I will be happy


      14        to do it.


      15             THE CHAIRMAN:  Well, what you have to


      16        understand is that most of us up here, with the


      17        exception of Mr. Webb, are not in the legal


      18        field.  So we're having to rely on our Office of


      19        General Counsel for guidance as we proceed


      20        through this matter.


      21             We want to ensure that both parties have a


      22        fair hearing, but at the same time we have to


      23        make sure it's done in an orderly fashion.


      24             While I recognize Mr. Harden's opposition


      25        to this being presented, we're going to give you





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        a little bit of leeway to discuss it because


       2        of -- we're not strictly adhering to the rules.


       3        It's just -- we gave Mr. Harden more than three


       4        minutes for his opening statement, but I'm not


       5        going to have a whole lot of leeway.


       6             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


       7             THE CHAIRMAN:  So let's stick to the issue


       8        and get done.


       9             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  We are here only because


      10        we didn't get a fair hearing last time.  That's


      11        why we're here today, bottom line.


      12             So if I could continue.


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  Well, before you continue,


      14        one quick housekeeping -- if you have arrived


      15        for the 5 o'clock Land Use and Zoning Committee


      16        meeting, that will take place.  We are now


      17        hearing an appeal hearing that started shortly


      18        after 4 o'clock, and the Land Use and Zoning


      19        Committee meeting will start immediately


      20        following this appeal.


      21             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      22             Backing up again, we believe the Planning


      23        Commission had an intent or desire to perhaps


      24        limit the hours of operation for this


      25        establishment.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             Commissioner Register specifically asked


       2        the following question, quote, I know that we


       3        don't, as a part of the approval process,


       4        require someone to give us hours of operation,


       5        but I also know that in the past we have put


       6        some contingents on conditions as it relates to


       7        hours of operation, and you can give any comment


       8        to the thought process, end quote.


       9             Mr. Herzberg, one of the staff members of


      10        the Planning Commission, responded as such,


      11        quote, through the Chair, I'd be --


      12             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, if I could just


      13        interrupt.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Go ahead.


      15             MR. ARPEN:  Before we get to that, I


      16        think -- just to make the record clear, I think


      17        we probably need a ruling.


      18             As I understand, Mr. Crescimbeni is going


      19        to, at this point, be referring to the


      20        transcript of the LUZ Committee.  And as I


      21        understand -- Mr. Harden has, as I understand


      22        his objection, an objection to this being


      23        considered by the committee?


      24             MR. HARDEN:  No.  We're now past opening


      25        statements.  They're the ones who wanted this





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        procedure.


       2             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Harden, could you come


       3        to the microphone, please.


       4             MR. HARDEN:  I'm sorry.


       5             We're not in argument stage now.  We're


       6        only in the presentation of evidence.  His


       7        reading transcripts is not admissible evidence


       8        at this point of the proceeding.


       9             Again, I'm trying to follow the rules that


      10        are set out, and I have to object if I believe


      11        that the evidence is inappropriate or


      12        objectionable for any reason.


      13             His reading of the transcript and giving


      14        you his opinion of what they were saying is not


      15        relevant evidence.


      16             THE CHAIRMAN:  I guess the reason I'm


      17        having trouble with it is that we were presented


      18        the transcript and the documents we received as


      19        part of the preparation for this.  So,


      20        therefore, we are already taking that document


      21        into consideration.


      22             MR. HARDEN:  Which is fine.  But just like


      23        in a court proceeding, one witness testifies.


      24        The next witness can't get up behind him and


      25        read what the last witness said as part of the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        evidence.  That's basically what he's trying to


       2        do.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  Councilmember Webb.


       4             MR. WEBB:  Thank you.


       5             I beg your indulgence of this.  Through the


       6        Chair to Mr. Arpen, again, this is a de novo


       7        review with the findings of the Planning


       8        Commission; is that correct?


       9             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.


      10             MR. WEBB:  All right.  So we're looking at


      11        this with a fresh face, right?


      12             MR. ARPEN:  (Nods head.)


      13             MR. WEBB:  Now, I understand Mr. Harden's


      14        objection, but at the same time I think what


      15        Mr. Harden is objecting -- well, Mr. Harden has


      16        presented the findings of the Planning


      17        Commission; is that correct?


      18             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.  Yes, he has.


      19             MR. HARDEN:  Planning Department.


      20             MR. WEBB:  The Planning Department.  I'm


      21        sorry.


      22             MR. HARDEN:  Which is admissible evidence


      23        for the cases that I submitted.


      24             MR. WEBB:  It's admissible.  Okay.  Very


      25        good.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             According to the case law that you


       2        provided, it can serve as competent substantial


       3        evidence.  Not necessarily so, but it can.


       4             MR. HARDEN:  I disagree with your view of


       5        that, but --


       6             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  But just to be clear,


       7        you've introduced the findings of the Planning


       8        Department.  All right.


       9             Okay.  All right.  Very good.  I


      10        understand.


      11             MR. HARDEN:  Now he's reading the opinions


      12        of fact finders, which is not evidence.  It's


      13        the opinion of a fact finder just like you,


      14        which is not relevant to the proceedings.  You


      15        hit it dead on.


      16             MR. WEBB:  Well, very good.


      17             Why would it not be relevant?  Again, this


      18        is de novo.  So why would the transcripts from


      19        the Planning Commission not be relevant in a


      20        de novo proceeding?


      21             MR. HARDEN:  A transcript from the Planning


      22        Commission of evidence would be.  What he's


      23        reading is a statement by a member of the


      24        Planning Commission as to -- as to asking


      25        questions of general counsel of a legal





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        opinion.  That's not evidence.  That's a


       2        question of a judge, if you will, a


       3        quasi-judicial officer.  That's not evidence.


       4             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  Thank you.  I understand


       5        your objection.


       6             THE CHAIRMAN:  Councilman Yarborough.


       7             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


       8             I was still wondering if what had been


       9        handed in that was, I guess, dated before 2005,


      10        which would be part of that original evidence


      11        that was introduced that's sitting right there


      12        on the table, if we could take a look at that?


      13        That's the list that he's referring to, I think.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Let me get us back in the


      15        proper posture.  There was evidence presented by


      16        Mr. Crescimbeni regarding other establishments


      17        in the city.  That is admissible evidence, in my


      18        opinion.  That was presented at a previous


      19        hearing.  It was evidence presented at a


      20        previous hearing.  That is allowable.


      21             I've now had time during this discussion to


      22        review the Planning Commission transcript, and I


      23        will allow -- I will allow Mr. Crescimbeni to


      24        recite other witnesses' testimony at that


      25        particular hearing, but I will not allow him to





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        present -- recite the commissioners' transcript


       2        to us as part of this documentation because


       3        they're sitting in a similar role as we are.


       4        They are not expert witnesses.  In that


       5        document, they were giving their opinion of


       6        that.


       7             So, Mr. Crescimbeni, if you could keep your


       8        quotation of previous testimony to witnesses


       9        only and not to commissioners, I would


      10        appreciate it.


      11             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  One of the fundamental


      12        portions of the lawsuit dealt with an inaccurate


      13        legal opinion that was given by the General


      14        Counsel's Office.  That's why there was a


      15        lawsuit, and I think we need to address that.


      16        And I think it's fair to recite the question


      17        that was asked of the general counsel and the


      18        answer, and then we have some statutes that we'd


      19        like to refer to as to why the opinion was


      20        incorrect.


      21             THE CHAIRMAN:  I'm okay if you recite what


      22        the General Counsel's Office testified.  I'm


      23        just not okay using the discussions of the


      24        commission members as part of your evidence.


      25             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Well, then, would you





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        accept my paraphrasing what the question was?


       2             Because without the question, you may not


       3        be able to interpret the answer from the general


       4        counsel.


       5             THE CHAIRMAN:  I think it's fair for you to


       6        say at the commission meeting, the question was


       7        raised --


       8             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  At the Planning


       9        Commission meeting, there was a question raised


      10        as to the desire to limit the hours of operation


      11        for this establishment.  A question was asked of


      12        staff, and staff responded by saying that they


      13        thought they could do it, but they would defer


      14        to the general counsel.


      15             Are you implying that I can read you the


      16        general counsel's answer to the question?  Would


      17        you like to hear that?


      18             THE CHAIRMAN:  That's your prerogative.


      19             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  General counsel said,


      20        "Through the Chair, I do think that there's a


      21        problem with trying to establish what hours the


      22        business can operate as long as they're within


      23        statutory guidelines" --


      24             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, if I could just


      25        add -- just for ease of reference, if he could





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        refer to the page.


       2             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I'm sorry.  It's the


       3        Planning Commission meeting of June 27th, 2005,


       4        page 126 of the transcript.


       5             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


       6             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  The general counsel said,


       7        quote, Through the Chair, I do think that


       8        there's a problem with trying to establish what


       9        hours the business can operate as long as


      10        they're within the statutory guidelines on


      11        alcohol sales and operating within the


      12        constraints of a bona fide restaurant, end


      13        quote.


      14             With all due respect to the general


      15        counsel, that opinion was flat wrong.  Both the


      16        Planning Commission and the City Council have


      17        the authority and power to limit hours of


      18        operation, and in the case of an exception such


      19        as this may do so as a condition of the


      20        exception.


      21             Florida Statute 462 --


      22             MR. HARDEN:  Mr. Chairman,


      23        Mr. Crescimbeni's legal opinion is irrelevant,


      24        and, again, for the record, I object to him


      25        providing you with -- again, we're at the point





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        in the proceeding where he's presenting evidence


       2        and his legal opinion is of no relevance.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  But his opinion would be


       4        allowed if he could just remove the --


       5             MR. HARDEN:  Not to a legal matter.


       6             He's opining that the legal opinion of the


       7        general counsel is wrong.  It would be similar


       8        to a lawyer opining in court that the judge is


       9        wrong.


      10             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Harden, if you are going


      11        to speak, you're going to have to come to the


      12        microphone.


      13             MR. HARDEN:  I'm sorry.  I'm trying not to


      14        interrupt him.


      15             So I, again, object to Mr. Crescimbeni


      16        presenting his legal opinion on the matter.


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  Your objection has been


      18        noted, and I'm sure Mr. Crescimbeni will take it


      19        into account as he rephrases what he just said.


      20             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      21             Florida Statute 462.45 says, quote, Nothing


      22        contained in the beverage law shall be construed


      23        to affect or impair the power or right of any


      24        county or incorporated municipality of the state


      25        to enact ordinances regulating the hours of





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        business, end quote.


       2             In addition, the Department of Business and


       3        Professional Regulation, the DBPR, takes the


       4        position that a local government has the right


       5        to limit hours of operation because of the


       6        compatibility factor.


       7             For the record, we'll submit this document,


       8        which you have.  At the bottom of the page,


       9        there are a number of cases cited that support


      10        the ability of local government to limit hours


      11        of operation.


      12             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, again, I think


      13        this gets a little confusing because we're


      14        operating so far out of the realm in which the


      15        LUZ Committee typically operates.  And I think


      16        now I'm following Mr. Harden's objection, which


      17        is that what you're hearing now -- it's okay to


      18        put the statutes in as evidence, and it would be


      19        our view that it's okay to put in portions of


      20        the transcript that may have been -- what may


      21        have been stated before.


      22             As I understand Mr. Harden's objection, I


      23        would advise the committee -- I think it's well


      24        taken -- that once you go beyond putting the


      25        statute in and begin arguing in terms of what





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        that means or what that permits you to do, then


       2        you're sort of moving -- think of yourself in


       3        the courtroom.  You're moving beyond the phase


       4        of putting evidence into the record, and you're


       5        now moving to the phase of closing argument.


       6             That really ought to be issues that are


       7        addressed in the closing argument; whereas, this


       8        block of time is for getting the evidence into


       9        the record.  The closing argument portion is the


      10        time in which you comment upon the evidence that


      11        you were able to get into the record.


      12             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Having received that


      13        advice from general counsel, Mr. Crescimbeni, I


      14        urge you to strictly enter things into the


      15        record, and you can make the relevance of them


      16        in argument at a later point.


      17             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      18             In addition, the Planning Department


      19        maintains a database of zoning actions for 4-COP


      20        and SRX licenses that have included limitations


      21        on hours of operation.


      22             The point I'm trying to make here is that


      23        there are limitations quite often imposed on


      24        establishments such as restaurants.  In order to


      25        be compatible with the contiguous surrounding





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        residential neighborhood -- which the NC land


       2        use category, again, specifically states that


       3        this establishment is to serve the daily needs


       4        of -- it is not unreasonable for this committee


       5        to ask for an 11 p.m. closing time.


       6             You'll note on the document that I did


       7        submit, the four -- the list of all the


       8        restaurants, the four that are located in the


       9        neighborhood commercial land use category, they


      10        do have closing times listed at the bottom of


      11        page 3 which are set.  I mean, they have -- they


      12        don't operate until midnight, 1 o'clock,


      13        2 o'clock, 3 o'clock in the morning.  They're in


      14        an NC neighborhood -- an NC land use category,


      15        and they have early closing times.


      16             In testimony before the Planning


      17        Commission, the applicant stated that he was


      18        going to operate much like the former


      19        Red Lobster restaurant.  In fact, the applicant


      20        stated the following -- and these all come from


      21        the Planning Commission transcript of January


      22        27th.


      23             Quote, What I'm doing is nothing much


      24        different than what a Red Lobster is doing, end


      25        quote.  Quote, Now, we're not doing anything





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        different than what a Red Lobster is doing other


       2        than you can enjoy some music with your dinner,


       3        end quote.  And quote, We're not doing club, end


       4        quote.


       5             In testimony -- I'm sorry.  We're going to


       6        skip the LUZ testimony.  However, there's


       7        considerable evidence that I'd like to submit


       8        that suggests that this establishment is not


       9        operating as a restaurant.


      10             If I could have the committee aide put this


      11        on the screen, please.


      12             Some of the marketing materials associated


      13        with this establishment certainly suggest that


      14        they're more than a restaurant, and you have


      15        those in your handout.


      16             The first one is a set of postcards


      17        advertising events on Tuesday evening.  You can


      18        see they talk about drink specials.  The second


      19        one is an entertainment flier.  It talks about,


      20        at the bottom, that dinner is no longer served


      21        once the show begins.


      22             The next page is off the Web site for the


      23        applicant.  It talks about Sundays, that food is


      24        only served from 12 to 6 p.m.  On Fridays and


      25        Saturdays, it talks about late night dancing and





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        dancing all night.


       2             The next page has a postcard that


       3        references speed dating.  It talks about 6 p.m.


       4        until.  There's no established closing time.  At


       5        the bottom of that page, corporate Wednesdays,


       6        it talks about drink specials and hours of


       7        5 p.m. until.  Again, no closing time.


       8             The following page talks about corporate


       9        Wednesdays at the bottom.  They have a buffet


      10        that ends at 8:30.  Power jams with Dr. Doom


      11        until 2 a.m.


      12             And then the following are some postcards.


      13        The top one talks about the doors opening at


      14        9 p.m.


      15             As evidenced by these marketing materials,


      16        we think it's reasonable to conclude that this


      17        establishment is not always operating like a


      18        Red Lobster which used to close at 10 p.m. on


      19        weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends and is,


      20        instead, operating as something much more than a


      21        restaurant.


      22             In testimony of the Planning Commission


      23        meeting of January 27th, 2005, page 73 of the


      24        transcript, the applicant said that he had been


      25        in the entertainment business all of his life.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        No reference to the restaurant business, the


       2        entertainment business.


       3             There was also evidence, based on the


       4        number of cars witnessed in the parking lot,


       5        that this establishment's peak traffic hours are


       6        at times not normally associated with dinner


       7        time.


       8             I pass this establishment on a regular


       9        basis myself.  In the early evening hours, 6, 7,


      10        8 o'clock at night, there's virtually no cars in


      11        the parking lot.  But at 11 or 12 o'clock at


      12        night, there are 30 or 40 cars in the parking


      13        lot.  There are other speakers available to


      14        testify to this as well if needed.


      15             In addition, there is evidence that a


      16        limousine business is operating on the


      17        premises.  That use is not permitted by right or


      18        exception in the commercial neighborhood zoning


      19        district or the neighborhood commercial


      20        neighborhood land use category.  You have a


      21        photo of the limousine service that's on display


      22        there with additional signage, and there are


      23        other speakers that can testify to that as


      24        well.


      25             With regard to the conditions the Planning





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Commission did impose, they did impose the


       2        following four conditions on this exception.


       3        The first three have not been complied with.


       4        The fourth one, if complied with, is not being


       5        performed in an efficient manner.  Those four


       6        conditions were the following:


       7             The first condition required was,


       8        "Perimeter landscaping along the right-of-way


       9        and terminal islands at each row of parking" --


      10        and those shall be provided pursuant to part 12


      11        of the zoning code -- "and such landscaping


      12        shall be subject to the approval of the Planning


      13        and Development Department."


      14             The second condition was, "One monument


      15        sign shall be allowed and limited to a maximum


      16        of 120 square feet and 20 feet in height and no


      17        other signage."


      18             The third condition was, "A privacy fence,


      19        the height of which shall be the maximum allowed


      20        under the zoning code, shall be erected along


      21        the northern property line that is 100 percent


      22        opaque."


      23             And the last condition was that, "The


      24        applicant and his or her employees police the


      25        premises each morning for trash or other





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        debris."


       2             Again, the conditions requiring the


       3        landscaping, fence, and removal of the pole sign


       4        have not been complied with because the trash is


       5        often found on adjacent properties, which we


       6        have witnesses to testify to that if needed.


       7             If that condition is being performed, it


       8        certainly isn't being performed to the


       9        expectation or objectives of the Planning


      10        Commission and the City Council.


      11             In conclusion, the primary objection we


      12        have to this exception is one, again, of


      13        compatibility.  Granting this exception without


      14        a condition limiting hours of operation is not


      15        compatible with the surrounding area.


      16             Again, the neighborhood commercial land use


      17        category, only four restaurants on that chart in


      18        that category.  That category specifically


      19        states, "Establishments in this land use


      20        category are to serve the daily needs of" -- and


      21        I quote -- "contiguous residential


      22        neighborhoods," end quote.


      23             Inasmuch as no other contiguous business


      24        establishment is open past 11 p.m., it is not


      25        unreasonable for this committee to ask for an





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        11 p.m. closing time for this establishment.


       2             Thank you.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Crescimbeni.


       4             Mr. Harden, you have five minutes to


       5        cross-examine.


       6             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  How do you want me to


       7        do it?  Do you want me to walk up and --


       8             (Inaudible discussion.)


       9             THE CHAIRMAN:  Both of you need to be at


      10        the microphone.


      11             MR. HARDEN:  Yell loudly?


      12             THE CHAIRMAN:  Yeah.


      13             (Mr. Harden approaches the podium.)


      14             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  Mr. Crescimbeni, you


      15        are the representative of both Mr. Smitha and


      16        Ms. Burt in this proceeding, correct?


      17             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  That is correct.


      18             MR. HARDEN:  Do you agree, Mr. Crescimbeni,


      19        that the report of the Planning Commission


      20        establishes that all nine criteria of the zoning


      21        code are met?


      22             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  We do.


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  Gentlemen, if you're going


      24        to do that, you're going to have to speak a lot


      25        louder than that.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  We've already agreed to


       2        that, Paul.


       3             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  So you agree that the


       4        nine criteria of the zoning code are met in the


       5        application of the applicant?


       6             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Yes.


       7             MR. HARDEN:  Your only objection is to --


       8        or your main objection is the hours of operation


       9        and the entertainment?


      10             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Our objection is that


      11        when the hours of operation question came up at


      12        the Planning Commission, it was an inappropriate


      13        legal opinion rendered, and we never got to


      14        address that point in any of the subsequent


      15        hearings, that's correct.


      16             MR. HARDEN:  You agree there's no


      17        limitation on hours of operation currently in


      18        the condition?


      19             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  That's correct.


      20             MR. HARDEN:  And you agree that


      21        entertainment is a legal use at the site in the


      22        CN zoning category?


      23             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Under certain conditions,


      24        yes.


      25             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  You agree that the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        business is operating consistent with the zoning


       2        exception that was approved, including the lack


       3        of hours -- current lack of hours of operation


       4        and entertainment?


       5             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  No, I disagree.


       6             The zoning exception provided for


       7        conditions, none of which have been met.


       8             MR. HARDEN:  I'm sorry.  Let me restate the


       9        question.


      10             There is no limitation currently on hours


      11        of operation?


      12             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  That's correct.  That's


      13        why we're here.  We're seeking a limitation on


      14        the hours of operation.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  You agree that the


      16        entertainment is a legal use at the site?


      17             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Only under certain


      18        conditions.


      19             MR. HARDEN:  But it is a legal use under


      20        the CN zoning category?


      21             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Only under certain


      22        conditions.


      23             MR. HARDEN:  What are those conditions?


      24             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  In conjunction with a


      25        restaurant, food sales have to be a certain





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        percentage, et cetera.


       2             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  You are aware that for


       3        two years that Arielle's has presented to the


       4        food and -- the Division of Alcoholic Beverages


       5        their food sale percentages and have met those


       6        requirements?


       7             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  No, sir.  I'm only aware


       8        of one audit performed by the beverage folks.


       9             MR. HARDEN:  But in that audit, they found


      10        they met the criteria of 51 percent; is that


      11        correct?


      12             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  That audit was conducted


      13        very early on, and I can't comment on anything


      14        past that.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  So you have no personal


      16        knowledge of whether or not they're meeting the


      17        requirements of the beverage commission?


      18             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  There's been no audit


      19        since the first audit was conducted.


      20             MR. HARDEN:  You have no personal knowledge


      21        of whether they're violating the requirements of


      22        the beverage commission; is that correct?


      23             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I have no personal


      24        knowledge as to whether they're meeting or


      25        violating the requirements.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MR. HARDEN:  That's all I have,


       2        Mr. Chairman.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Thank you very much.


       4             We are now ready to hear comments from the


       5        public.  The comments from the public will begin


       6        with persons in support of the applicant, I


       7        believe.


       8             Mr. Arpen, am I correct on that?


       9             MR. ARPEN:  That is correct, Mr. Chairman.


      10             Actually, the public comments first are


      11        those in favor of the -- I would say in favor of


      12        the zoning exception, and then followed by those


      13        in opposition to the zoning exception.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Do I have anyone in


      15        the audience in support of the zoning


      16        application?


      17             MR. HARDEN:  Mr. Hill is here, but he has


      18        nothing else to add.


      19             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Let the record


      20        reflect that Mr. Hill is here and does not wish


      21        to speak.


      22             Do I have any members of the audience --


      23        seeing no other members in favor, do I have any


      24        members of the public that are in opposition to


      25        this zoning exception?





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             (Dr. Smitha approaches the podium.)


       2             DR. SMITHA:  My name is Donald Smitha.  My


       3        address is 812 Alderman Road, Jacksonville,


       4        33211.


       5             THE CHAIRMAN:  Before you start --


       6             Mr. Arpen, he designated Mr. Crescimbeni as


       7        his agent.  Wouldn't he not have been speaking


       8        through his agent or --


       9             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct, Mr. Chairman.


      10             He did indicate, I believe, in response to


      11        cross-examination, that his agent -- that


      12        Mr. Crescimbeni indicated he was the agent for


      13        both Ms. Burt and Dr. Smitha, so that


      14        Mr. Crescimbeni was speaking on his behalf.


      15             To the extent that Dr. Smitha wants to make


      16        any additional comments, I think that the proper


      17        procedure would be that he request that the


      18        Chair permit him to -- to the extent


      19        Mr. Crescimbeni hasn't used up the time for both


      20        of the affected parties, that he request that


      21        that portion of the hearing be reopened so that


      22        he could make any comments that Mr. Crescimbeni


      23        didn't cover, which ruling would be within the


      24        discretion of the Chair.


      25             THE CHAIRMAN:  If he was able to do that,





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Mr. Harden would have the right to cross-examine


       2        him, correct?


       3             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  I believe


       5        Mr. Crescimbeni had about three minutes left of


       6        testimony.  So if you would like to provide


       7        testimony, please note that Ms. Burt would also


       8        be part of that same scenario.  So if she's


       9        going to want to speak, both of you would have


      10        to be within that three-minute time period, and


      11        both of you have to be subject to


      12        cross-examination.


      13             MS. BURT:  (Inaudible.)


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Come to the microphone if


      15        you've got a point of order, please.


      16             MS. BURT:  Dr. Smitha had a 15-minute time


      17        limit, and I had 15 minutes.  So Mr. Crescimbeni


      18        does not get 30 minutes; is that correct?


      19             DR. SMITHA:  Or did that include all of


      20        Mr. Harden's interruptions?


      21             MS. BURT:  I'm just curious.


      22             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Arpen.


      23             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, under the


      24        rules -- and I believe this was a question that


      25        Councilmember Shad raised -- it's 15 minutes per





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        affected party the way the rules are written.


       2        So it's actually a total of 30 minutes for the


       3        two affected parties, Ms. Burt and Dr. Smitha.


       4             I don't know whether you were keeping track


       5        of it on the basis of a 15-minute block of time


       6        or a 30-minute block of time.


       7             THE CHAIRMAN:  We were doing it based on a


       8        15-minute block of time.  If that's going to be


       9        the case, I will give Mr. Harden a total of ten


      10        minutes of cross-examination based on those


      11        findings.


      12             MR. ARPEN:  One other point is, to the


      13        extent that they're making their presentation as


      14        a part of the presentation of evidence as


      15        opposed to opening statement or closing


      16        argument, any witness that appears at this point


      17        would also need to be sworn as well as being


      18        subject to cross-examination.


      19             THE CHAIRMAN:  Sure.  Okay.  Do you


      20        understand that Mr. Smitha?


      21             DR. SMITHA:  Yes, sir.


      22             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  If I could have the


      23        court reporter -- Ms. Burt, if you plan on


      24        speaking, if you'd come down as well and go


      25        ahead and get sworn in, I would appreciate it.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             (Ms. Burt approaches the podium.)


       2             THE REPORTER:  Would you raise your right


       3        hand for me, please.


       4             DR. SMITHA:  (Complies.)


       5             MS. BURT:  (Complies.)


       6             THE REPORTER:  Do you affirm that the


       7        testimony you're about to give will be the


       8        truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the


       9        truth?


      10             DR. SMITHA:  Yes, ma'am.


      11             MS. BURT:  I do.


      12             THE REPORTER:  Thank you.


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      14             Go ahead, sir.  Remember, we're presenting


      15        evidence is the nature that we're in right now.


      16             DR. SMITHA:  Yes.


      17             My dental practice has been located on the


      18        corner of the street immediately adjacent to


      19        Arielle's since 1985.  And during that time, we


      20        had many years of a good relationship with


      21        Red Lobster.  And in the past two years of


      22        operation of Arielle's, my observation has been,


      23        as was testified to earlier, that there is


      24        little or no traffic at the noon hour, little or


      25        no traffic in the late afternoon or early





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        evening.


       2             I do not have personal knowledge except for


       3        one occasion when I saw a packed parking lot at


       4        about 11 o'clock, but that was my only


       5        observation late in the evening.  But typically


       6        during the dinner hour or lunch hour, there's


       7        nothing there.  And the trash does seem to


       8        collect along the fence row on the other side of


       9        Arielle's, next to the tire store, and I just


      10        see no likely -- likeness of Arielle's with the


      11        Red Lobster.


      12             Thank you.


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      14             (Mr. Harden approaches the podium.)


      15             THE CHAIRMAN:  Would you like to


      16        cross-examine?


      17             MR. HARDEN:  If you can come close, I'll


      18        speak loudly.


      19             DR. SMITHA:  Sure.


      20             MR. HARDEN:  Dr. Smitha, you heard --


      21        Mr. Crescimbeni is your representative?


      22             DR. SMITHA:  Yes.


      23             MR. HARDEN:  And you heard him say that he


      24        agreed that the nine criteria of the zoning code


      25        were met by the Planning Department report; is





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        that correct?


       2             DR. SMITHA:  I heard that, yes.


       3             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  Do you agree with that?


       4             DR. SMITHA:  I'm not qualified to answer


       5        that question.


       6             MR. HARDEN:  You have no reason to disagree


       7        with the testimony; is that correct?


       8             DR. SMITHA:  I have no reason to disagree.


       9             MR. HARDEN:  You have no personal knowledge


      10        of the restaurant operation being more than


      11        51 percent of the gross sales of the Arielle's;


      12        is that correct?


      13             DR. SMITHA:  Except it is my understanding


      14        that their only time of restaurant operations is


      15        in the early evening when we observe no traffic


      16        there.


      17             MR. HARDEN:  Well, do you have any personal


      18        knowledge that they're not complying with --


      19             DR. SMITHA:  No, I do not.


      20             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  That's all I have.


      21             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      22             Ms. Burt.


      23             (Mr. Burt approaches the podium.)


      24             MS. BURT:  I live in Alderman Park, a


      25        community of 800-plus homes located just north





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        of Arielle's.  I pass Arielle's every day, twice


       2        a day on my way to and from work, and I also


       3        pass there on my way to shop on the weekends.


       4             Once again, regarding the late hours,


       5        during normal mealtimes, I observe basically an


       6        empty parking lot.  It's even difficult to


       7        determine if they're open if I was looking for a


       8        meal.


       9             On the other hand, just my daughter, who


      10        was working a restaurant on Atlantic Boulevard,


      11        would close down that restaurant in her work as


      12        a waitress and come back and asked me one night,


      13        "Well, what's going on at Arielle's?  After


      14        other restaurants are closed, Arielle's is not


      15        closed."


      16             On Tuesday, January 8th, a week ago, I


      17        drove up to Arielle's at 7:45, and there were


      18        four cars in the parking lot.  At 11:45, when I


      19        drove back, there were 45 cars in the parking


      20        lot.  I counted them.  This indicates the


      21        activity at Arielle's takes place late at night,


      22        and this is not compatible to the neighborhood.


      23             We in Old Arlington have already


      24        experienced the negative impact of -- the


      25        adverse impact of nightclub activity in





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        locations where nightclubs do not belong.


       2             You may or you may not -- I know it's a new


       3        council, but we had the issue of the old


       4        Chi-Chi's restaurant, which was Nautica


       5        Seafood.  Once again, the applicant said, "I'm


       6        going to be a seafood restaurant," and he really


       7        did give it a good-faith try.  It didn't fly,


       8        and almost overnight he became Club Nautica.


       9             The negative effect on that neighborhood,


      10        which was exactly like this, abutted right up to


      11        residential.  Mr. Harden always says it's


      12        commercial, but I think the people who live


      13        right behind Arielle's would call themselves --


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  We have a point of order


      15        from the opposition.


      16             MR. HARDEN:  I would object to the


      17        relevance of the operation of another facility.


      18        It has no relevance to whether this meets the


      19        nine criteria.


      20             MS. BURT:  My feeling is that it is


      21        relevant if nightclub late night activity has a


      22        negative impact on a community.


      23             We have already experienced the negative


      24        impact of a restaurant that said they were going


      25        to be a restaurant that morphed into a





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        nightclub.  And if you want to go back that far


       2        in the transcripts, we'd have to go find them,


       3        but those residents experienced intrusion into


       4        their parking area.  They heard conversations


       5        outside their walls, urination on their walls at


       6        night.  They suffered an adverse effect.


       7             Now, I'm not saying that has happened with


       8        Mr. Hill's establishment, but I'm telling you


       9        that this is late night activity next to a


      10        residential area.  We had to deal with that.  We


      11        dealt with Sharky's.


      12             Someone told me one time that when you've


      13        been kicked enough, you know when a kick is


      14        coming, and that is what I feel.


      15             So would you like to cross-examine me?


      16             MR. HARDEN:  Yes.


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  Ms. Burt, does that conclude


      18        your testimony?


      19             MS. BURT:  Almost.  Almost.


      20             MR. HARDEN:  Thank you for volunteering.


      21             MS. BURT:  It says, "In connection with a


      22        bona fide restaurant."


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Thank you.


      24             Mr. Harden, you now have the right to


      25        cross-examine for five minutes.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MR. HARDEN:  Ms. Burt, Mr. Crescimbeni is


       2        your representative?


       3             MS. BURT:  Yes.


       4             MR. HARDEN:  You heard him say that you


       5        agree that the nine criteria of the zoning code


       6        were met in the application; is that correct?


       7             MS. BURT:  And the application states, "In


       8        conjunction with a bona fide restaurant."  So


       9        the answer is yes, in conjunction with a


      10        bona fide restaurant.


      11             MR. HARDEN:  You agree with Mr. Crescimbeni


      12        that the nine criteria of the zoning code are


      13        met for the exception; is that correct?


      14             MS. BURT:  As a bona fide restaurant, yes.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  Do you have any personal


      16        knowledge as to whether or not Arielle's meets


      17        the 51 percent requirement?


      18             MS. BURT:  I do have knowledge.


      19             I will say that my neighbor, who is a


      20        certified public accountant, Mr. Ted Wendler,


      21        who is here, has been in contact with the


      22        department that regulates that.  An audit has


      23        been done, and they said that it met the


      24        51 percent criteria.


      25             I also -- he could tell you that it is not





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        based on audited financial statements, meaning


       2        that it is the representation of the owner to


       3        provide a lie.


       4             I'm an auditor with the school system.  I'm


       5        also a CPA, and if you don't have an audited


       6        financial statement, you don't have much, but


       7        we're not even arguing that point with this.


       8             You -- the City elects to rely on that


       9        department to establish that criteria.  We're


      10        saying fine.  We're just saying protect us


      11        because this is contiguous to residential, and


      12        we're saying protect us with conditions.


      13             MR. HARDEN:  Your answer is the only


      14        knowledge you have is that Arielle's meets the


      15        requirement of a bona fide restaurant for food


      16        sales?


      17             MS. BURT:  No.  My answer is that that


      18        department, based on what I consider a faulty


      19        system for auditing, says that it does.


      20             MR. HARDEN:  Do you have personal knowledge


      21        that Arielle's does not meet the criteria?


      22             MS. BURT:  If the criteria is 51 percent


      23        food, how -- I have never been presented with


      24        his financial statements.


      25             MR. HARDEN:  Do you have any knowledge that





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        it does not meet the criteria?


       2             MS. BURT:  I think I answered your


       3        question.


       4             MR. HARDEN:  I don't think you have.


       5             MS. BURT:  Did I not?  What did I not say?


       6             THE CHAIRMAN:  Yes or no?


       7             MS. BURT:  I do not know what his financial


       8        statement reads.


       9             MR. HARDEN:  You have no personal


      10        knowledge?


      11             MS. BURT:  Correct.


      12             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  Now, you've talked


      13        about Nautica and Sharky's.  Those are two


      14        separate establishments not located at the


      15        Arielle's site?


      16             MS. BURT:  Located very close, along the


      17        same area.


      18             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  And those are currently


      19        existing facilities?


      20             MS. BURT:  Sharky's is gone, and


      21        Club Nautica is closed up and another owner has


      22        that building.


      23             MR. HARDEN:  They fronted along the


      24        Arlington Expressway?


      25             MS. BURT:  Yes.  They -- let me say they





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        front along a service road that leads into


       2        neighborhoods.  Okay?  That is not the


       3        expressway.  And, furthermore, they fronted


       4        along a service road and Nautica backed up to


       5        residents.


       6             MR. HARDEN:  Okay.  Unlike Arielle's is


       7        surrounded by commercial zoned -- CRO-zoned


       8        property?


       9             MS. BURT:  The CRO, commercial, residential


      10        office.


      11             MR. HARDEN:  Yes.  CRO is the zoning of all


      12        the surrounding properties?


      13             MS. BURT:  What was the question?


      14             MR. HARDEN:  This site is surrounded on all


      15        sides by CRO property?


      16             MS. BURT:  It is surrounded by CRO,


      17        commercial-residential-office property.


      18             MR. HARDEN:  None of that CRO is a


      19        residential use, is it?


      20             MS. BURT:  I think if it says residential.


      21             Are we not talking about the people that


      22        live right behind this establishment?


      23             MR. HARDEN:  All of the CRO is in a


      24        commercial use that surrounds this site; is that


      25        correct?





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MS. BURT:  Are not -- the apartments behind


       2        there, is that not a -- is that not


       3        residential?


       4             I mean, I don't know.  I'm asking.  To me


       5        it's residential.  So you're saying it's


       6        commercial, but I say it's residential.


       7             MR. HARDEN:  It's zoned CRO?


       8             MS. BURT:  Okay.


       9             MR. HARDEN:  Is that correct?


      10             THE CHAIRMAN:  "I don't know" is --


      11             MR. HARDEN:  If you don't know --


      12             MS. BURT:  I guess I don't know the answer


      13        to that question.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  That's a fine answer.


      15             MR. HARDEN:  That's all I have.


      16             Thank you.


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      18             Okay.  Committee members, as part of the


      19        presentation of evidence, council members are


      20        allowed to ask questions of the presenters.  Are


      21        there any questions of the presenters of


      22        evidence?


      23             Councilmember Yarborough.


      24             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you.


      25             Actually, if I can make one comment, and





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        then I'll ask a few questions.


       2             On the map that we were given, the


       3        properties abutting Arielle's, just to the north


       4        are CRO, but to the west, where Dr. Smitha's


       5        office is, is CO.  So it's not all CRO.


       6             The other thing I'll note is that it's


       7        within 400 feet of the first house in Alderman


       8        Park, which is zoned RLD .


       9             Mr. Harden, if you could come up, please,


      10        sir.  I just have a few questions for you.


      11             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Harden.


      12             (Mr. Harden approaches the podium.)


      13             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you.


      14             Mr. Harden, I think right across the


      15        expressway from the property where Arielle's is


      16        is Jim's Place, and I'm not certain how that's


      17        zoned.  But would you characterize that as a


      18        bona fide restaurant or is that a nightclub; do


      19        you know?


      20             MR. HARDEN:  It's in a commercial general


      21        zoning category.  Is that the question?


      22             MR. YARBOROUGH:  No.  How would you


      23        classify the restaurant?  Would it be -- is it


      24        bona fide?  Is it a nightclub; do you know?


      25             MR. HARDEN:  Jim's I do not know, but I do





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        know that the Arlington Expressway has 80,000


       2        cars going one way on its side between it and


       3        there.  But I don't know -- I have no personal


       4        knowledge of Jim's Place.


       5             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Okay.  Thank you,


       6        Mr. Harden.


       7             If I could have Ms. Burt come back up or


       8        Mr. Crescimbeni if he'd like to represent her.


       9        I have just a couple of questions.


      10             Thank you.


      11             (Mr. Crescimbeni approaches the podium.)


      12             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Mr. Crescimbeni, am I


      13        correct that I heard you -- when you were giving


      14        your presentation, did you mention that when


      15        Red Lobster was still occupying the building


      16        there at 7707 Arlington Expressway, in your


      17        opinion, did you believe that that had a


      18        detrimental effect on the surrounding properties


      19        there when it operated?


      20             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Red Lobster operated as


      21        bona fide restaurant until they relocated to the


      22        Regency Square area, and they were compatible


      23        with the neighborhood.  But they did have a


      24        closing time of weekdays at 10 p.m. and Friday


      25        and Saturday or weekend nights at 11 p.m.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Okay.  And would -- in


       2        your opinion, would the operation of Arielle's


       3        there, as it is, have, I guess, a negative


       4        effect on the property values, the surrounding


       5        property values in the community there?


       6             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I think if it operates as


       7        a bona fide restaurant, it would not have an


       8        adverse effect on property values.  But that


       9        zoning district doesn't accommodate anything but


      10        a bona fide restaurant.  It doesn't accommodate


      11        a nightclub or a lounge or anything else, and


      12        that could have an adverse effect on property


      13        values.


      14             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you.


      15             One more question for Mr. Harden, if I


      16        could, Mr. Chairman.


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  Sure.


      18             MR. YARBOROUGH:  I was looking at the


      19        definition of "bona fide restaurant,"


      20        Mr. Harden, and I think it's that the building


      21        would have to be such that it sells -- or it


      22        takes in, I'm sorry -- derives not less than


      23        51 percent of the income from the sale of food


      24        sold and consumed on premises.  It mentions some


      25        other things.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             Is this classified as a bona fide


       2        restaurant?  And I ask that because some of


       3        these visuals that we received that denote what


       4        is supposedly taking place at Arielle's, this


       5        looks more, to me, like a nightclub because it


       6        does have a dance floor and an open area for a


       7        live band, and there are nearly naked women on


       8        this picture here.


       9             MR. HARDEN:  Now, Mr. Yarborough, I don't


      10        agree with you that it's nearly naked women, but


      11        let me answer your question.


      12             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Well, if you could answer


      13        the question about it being a restaurant.


      14             MR. HARDEN:  Well, that was a comment, not


      15        a question.


      16             Arielle's restaurant has met continuously


      17        for the last two years the requirements of a


      18        bona fide restaurant, deriving more than


      19        51 percent of its sales from food.  Yes, it is a


      20        bona fide restaurant.


      21             The use of a restaurant with a dance floor


      22        is a legal use in a bona fide restaurant.  For


      23        instance, you have Friday's.  For instance, you


      24        have -- there are a lot of restaurants that have


      25        dance floors.  That is not an illegal use.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             The use of a restaurant for entertainment,


       2        for instance, the Alhambra restaurant, with an


       3        SRX license is a legal use for a restaurant


       4        use.  You can have entertainment as a legal use


       5        in a restaurant.


       6             The definition for "bona fide restaurant"


       7        is as you read, and for two years Arielle's has


       8        met those requirements for a bona fide


       9        restaurant.


      10             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Okay.  The reason I'd


      11        asked, Mr. Harden, is because the definition of


      12        "nightclub" was a bar, tavern, dance club or


      13        other like establishment typically characterized


      14        by the service of alcoholic beverages, set aside


      15        a floor area for dancing or live performance of


      16        music, which Arielle's does have, but not


      17        including a bona fide restaurant according to


      18        the ordinance code.


      19             MR. HARDEN:  That's right.  So if it


      20        includes a bona fide restaurant, it meets the


      21        requirement of a bona fide restaurant.


      22             There are literally hundreds of


      23        restaurants.  The fact that the way the people


      24        dress there might not meet your criteria doesn't


      25        make it not a bona fide restaurant.  The fact





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        that the type of entertainment there may be


       2        something that someone disagrees with doesn't


       3        make it illegal.  The type of people that visit


       4        the restaurant doesn't make it illegal.


       5             If it meets the 51 percent criteria, it's a


       6        bona fide restaurant and, therefore, is


       7        available to operate in the CN zoning category.


       8             And, yes, let me make it very clear for the


       9        record, Arielle's meets that requirement for a


      10        bona fide restaurant.


      11             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you.


      12             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Harden.


      13             I actually have a question for


      14        Mr. Crescimbeni -- or representing as an agent.


      15             (Mr. Crescimbeni approaches the podium.)


      16             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Crescimbeni, I heard a


      17        number of references to a former Red Lobster


      18        that was there.  Is that, in your opinion, a


      19        bona fide restaurant?


      20             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I'm sorry.  What was the


      21        question?


      22             THE CHAIRMAN:  The Red Lobster that's been


      23        referenced several times before, was that a


      24        bona fide restaurant?


      25             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Yes.  I mean, in my





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        opinion, it met the criteria of a bona fide


       2        restaurant.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  Have we ever seen audited


       4        records that showed the percentage of food


       5        versus alcohol served in the Red Lobster at that


       6        location?


       7             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I couldn't answer that


       8        question.  We've never submitted the records.


       9             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  I guess the other


      10        question, it was referenced -- I don't think you


      11        made it or maybe you made it, but I know the


      12        people you represent made it -- that they've


      13        been there at various different hours and


      14        there's not been any business there.


      15             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I made that reference as


      16        did some of the other speakers, yes.


      17             THE CHAIRMAN:  I mean, I guess --


      18             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  The -- I'm sorry.


      19        Go ahead.


      20             THE CHAIRMAN:  Would you consider, for the


      21        sake of discussion, an Outback restaurant to be


      22        a bona fide restaurant?


      23             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Yes.


      24             But remember that this restaurant is in


      25        the -- it's in the lowest intensity zoning





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        district that a restaurant can be in, the lowest


       2        intensity.  On the list I submitted, there were


       3        only four other -- there were three other


       4        restaurants in that lowest intensity.


       5             I think, you know, if you look on the list


       6        and there's an Outback on there, it's probably


       7        going to be a much more higher intense


       8        district.  And, yes, I would consider an Outback


       9        to be a bona fide restaurant.


      10             THE CHAIRMAN:  The reason I asked the


      11        question is that Outback doesn't open until


      12        dinner at night.  So they're not going to be


      13        open during the hours that you typically --


      14             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  The more important


      15        question, I think, Mr. Chairman, with respect to


      16        my -- from my friends here would be what time


      17        Outback closes.


      18             THE CHAIRMAN:  Right.  Okay.  Thank you.  I


      19        appreciate it.


      20             I have Councilwoman Mia Jones.


      21             MS. JONES:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      22             Mr. Crescimbeni, if you could back come up.


      23             (Mr. Crescimbeni approaches the podium.)


      24             MS. JONES:  The determination of whether a


      25        business is a bona fide restaurant, you had





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        stated that it's determined by whom?  What


       2        agency, organization would have the licensure


       3        authority over that?


       4             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  The State, Department of


       5        Business -- I'm sorry.  DBPR, I believe, is the


       6        one that inspects restaurants with regards to


       7        the 51 percent audits, but this -- you know this


       8        City Council has the ability to determine what's


       9        a bona fide restaurant as well.


      10             MS. JONES:  So based on the information


      11        that you've been able to gather and your clients


      12        have been able to gather, that licensure from


      13        that organization has never been taken from


      14        Arielle's?


      15             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Well, Ms. Jones, I'd love


      16        to sit down with you at a future date and talk


      17        to you about that process, the audit process,


      18        which is very, very lax.  But there's only been


      19        one audit performed, one audit only, and that


      20        was performed within a couple of months of the


      21        establishment.


      22             MS. JONES:  Well, I'm an accountant, too.


      23        And although I'm not a CPA, I know all about


      24        organizations -- whether they be state, federal


      25        or local -- have whatever their criteria is, and





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        I believe that they would not hold this business


       2        to any higher standard.


       3             So I just want to hear from you whether or


       4        not, based on the information that you have,


       5        have they lost that licensure ability?


       6             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Not to my knowledge.


       7             MS. JONES:  Thank you very much.


       8             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


       9             Councilmember Webb.


      10             MR. WEBB:  Thank you.


      11             Through the Chair to Mr. Crescimbeni,


      12        please.  The Planning Department findings, were


      13        they challenged at the Land Use and Zoning


      14        Committee?


      15             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I would have to defer to


      16        Ms. Burt.


      17             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  Ms. Burt.


      18             MS. BURT:  We originally did challenge that


      19        this would be detrimental to the community


      20        because all of our evidence of late night hours,


      21        liquor, and this very -- it's nonintense


      22        zoning.  It was supposed to serve the contiguous


      23        neighborhood.  It would have an adverse impact


      24        on the neighborhood.


      25             So, yes, we did challenge that.  We put





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        that forward.  Today we put all that aside and


       2        said protect us by conditioning this.  And if


       3        he's a bona fide restaurant, fine.


       4             MR. WEBB:  I understand.  Thank you.


       5             Through the Chair to the General Counsel's


       6        Office.  If an applicant or a successful


       7        applicant for an exception is not acting in a


       8        manner consistent with that exception, what is


       9        ordinarily the remedy available to the


      10        community?


      11             MR. ARPEN:  Actually, it would be -- there


      12        is a mechanism for enforcement of the City


      13        zoning code, which would include acting


      14        consistently with any zoning ordinances or


      15        zoning exceptions or variances which may be


      16        granted relief -- or not relief -- an


      17        enforcement action against a business or, for


      18        that matter, any property owner who's not


      19        complying according to the zoning code or the


      20        grant of a rezoning or exception or variance is


      21        subject to enforcement either through the


      22        Municipal Code Enforcement Board or through a


      23        citation under the City's ordinance code or


      24        through an action filed in Circuit Court for


      25        failing to comply with the zoning regulations





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        applicable to that particular property.


       2             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  Thank you.


       3             Through the Chair to Mr. Harden.  I have a


       4        question for you, sir.


       5             I want to get some clarification on some


       6        testimony that you introduced.  I believe you


       7        stated that your client, the applicant, at --


       8        and read some transcript as well -- at the


       9        Planning Commission, that he would operate much


      10        like a Red Lobster.  Would you clarify that?


      11             MR. HARDEN:  I did not read any transcript


      12        from the Planning Department.  The issue was


      13        whether or not it's a bona fide restaurant.


      14             MR. WEBB:  Let me --


      15             MR. HARDEN:  My point was that the


      16        Red Lobster had an alcohol exception.


      17             MR. WEBB:  I understood that.


      18             MR. HARDEN:  Yeah.  But I didn't read any


      19        of the transcript.


      20             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  Understood.


      21             A question to Mr. Crescimbeni.  Your


      22        recollection of the testimony of the applicant


      23        at the Planning Commission was that, what, that


      24        this would, in fact, act --


      25             MR. HARDEN:  The transcript of the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Planning Commission is in evidence.  So his


       2        recollection --


       3             MR. WEBB:  Okay.  Well, we'll review that.


       4             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Through the Chair to


       5        Councilman Webb, I read the testimony of the


       6        applicant.  I can reread that into the record if


       7        you'd like.


       8             MR. WEBB:  Could you just indicate to me


       9        the relevant --


      10             THE CHAIRMAN:  The page number is all we


      11        need.


      12             MR. WEBB:  The page number would be great.


      13             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  The Planning


      14        Commission -- it's the transcript of the


      15        Planning Commission of the meeting of January


      16        27th, 2005, page 72, page 108, and page 109.


      17             MR. WEBB:  Thank you, Mr. Crescimbeni.


      18             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Through the Chair to


      19        Mr. Webb, if I could just elaborate.


      20             You referenced the enforcement process or


      21        there was a comment about the enforcement


      22        process.  Three of these conditions that were


      23        applied by the Planning Commission and adopted


      24        by the council were not performed.


      25             MR. WEBB:  Mr. Crescimbeni, through the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Chair, I don't want to get you in trouble on


       2        appeal of this matter.


       3             Okay.  The last question, through the Chair


       4        to general counsel.  Again, procedurally, we're


       5        considering this -- this review of the Planning


       6        Commission decision de novo; is that correct?


       7             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.


       8             MR. WEBB:  Are we precluded from hearing


       9        evidence to refute some of the evidence that may


      10        have been presented at the Planning Commission


      11        some years back?  I mean, this is like back to


      12        the future.  We know now what we didn't know


      13        then.


      14             MR. ARPEN:  Through the Chair, that's


      15        correct.  You can consider evidence --


      16             Because we're now at this point in time,


      17        you can consider evidence as to the actual


      18        operations of the facility in the last two years


      19        or any other evidence that may be relevant in


      20        the last couple of years.  I think both sides


      21        have presented evidence in that regard.


      22             MR. WEBB:  All right.  Thank you.


      23             I have no further questions.  I would like


      24        to review the transcript, though, please.


      25             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             Councilmember Shad.


       2             MR. SHAD:  Thank you.


       3             We're in committee?  Did we close?


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  No.  We are actually


       5        clarifying presented evidence from the two


       6        sides.


       7             MR. SHAD:  When we get into committee, I'll


       8        speak up.


       9             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      10             Councilwoman Jones.


      11             MS. JONES:  Mr. Crescimbeni, could you come


      12        up.


      13             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  (Complies.)


      14             MS. JONES:  Or, actually, I think that


      15        would be Ms. Burt.  I think she was the one that


      16        made a statement about the property values.


      17             MS. BURT:  I didn't make a statement about


      18        property values.  I did --


      19             THE CHAIRMAN:  If you're going to talk, you


      20        have to come to the microphone.


      21             MS. BURT:  I'm sorry.  I made no statement


      22        about property values.  I did make a statement


      23        about having been negatively impacted by


      24        nightclub activity in the past.


      25             MS. JONES:  I just wanted to bring it to





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        the body's attention that when you look at the


       2        sales over the past three years, they seem to be


       3        going up.


       4             In 2006, they look in that immediate


       5        neighborhood behind the establishment that we're


       6        talking about, 2- -- the highest is $285,000,


       7        just in 2006, and the lowest in 2006 looks to be


       8        about 145-.  And back in previous years, in


       9        2004, it was at 154- and 140-.


      10             So I just wanted to make sure that the body


      11        understood that there have been significant


      12        sales in the area.  And, to me, it doesn't


      13        appear that they've been negatively impacted by


      14        the establishment.


      15             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      16             Councilman Yarborough.


      17             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you.


      18             Actually, Ms. Jones prompted me to ask a


      19        question of legal.  Is it not true that property


      20        values have been increasing in various places


      21        all over the city of Jacksonville?


      22             MR. ARPEN:  I'm not sure that it's


      23        appropriate for me to be the one to answer that


      24        question.  I think the committee can rely upon


      25        their own common knowledge as to what may have





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        occurred within the real estate market in the


       2        city of Jacksonville in the last few years.


       3             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you.


       4             And I guess this question would be to the


       5        Planning Department.


       6             On criteria number 2, the question is,


       7        "Will the proposed use be compatible with the


       8        existing contiguous uses?"  What do we use as


       9        the definition of "compatible"?


      10             Either to Mr. Crofts or Mr. Avery, what is


      11        that definition?  And I ask for a reason.


      12             MR. CROFTS:  Compatible uses in the


      13        comprehensive plan and the zoning code are in


      14        some cases like similar uses, identical uses


      15        adjacent to the property or juxtaposition to


      16        it.  We have a range of uses that could be also


      17        determined to be compatible as it relates to a


      18        transition from a low density residential to an


      19        office type of use to smaller density


      20        multifamily use.


      21             So compatibility deals with identical as


      22        well as uses that have certain types of impact


      23        such as noise, traffic and other intense or


      24        dense types of characteristics.


      25             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Okay.  Thank you.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             Mr. Chairman, at this point, would it be


       2        appropriate to continue to comment on the item


       3        or wait until we get into a motion?


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  I'd prefer to get back into


       5        committee.


       6             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Okay.  I'll do that.


       7             THE CHAIRMAN:  Strictly questions for the


       8        presentation of evidence.


       9             Thank you, Councilmember Yarborough.


      10             We're now ready for public comments.  We've


      11        inquired before as to the public comments from


      12        Ms. Burt and Mr. Smitha, and they both were part


      13        of the evidence.  We now are looking for public


      14        comments from anyone in favor of the -- in favor


      15        of the --


      16             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman, to be consistent


      17        with the order of presentation as we've followed


      18        it so far, I would say first you would take any


      19        public comments in favor of the applicant or the


      20        zoning exception and then any public comments in


      21        opposition to it.


      22             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Seeing no speakers in


      23        favor of the zoning application, we will now


      24        turn to the opposition.  I only have one card.


      25        That's Mr. Ted Wedler -- or Wendler, excuse me.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Mr. Wendler.


       2             MS. BURT:  I'm sorry.  He just went to the


       3        restroom.


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  We'll be a little


       5        lenient if he comes back in the next couple of


       6        minutes.


       7             I see no public comments issued at this


       8        point.  So, therefore, we have no reason to have


       9        rebuttal evidence on the public comments.


      10             We are now ready for closing statements.


      11        The closing statements will begin with


      12        Mr. Harden, who will have three minutes, and


      13        followed by either Mr. Crescimbeni or Ms. Burt


      14        or Mr. Smitha for a total combination of ten


      15        minutes, followed by Mr. Harden, who will have


      16        an additional two minutes at the end.


      17             I'm hoping that Mr. Wendler would come back


      18        in, but I do not see him.


      19             MS. BURT:  Sorry.  He takes medication.


      20             THE CHAIRMAN:  That's okay.


      21             All right.  Based on that, we will begin


      22        with Mr. Harden with closing statements.


      23             MR. HARDEN:  The evidence is finished?


      24        You're not going to let anyone else talk?


      25             THE CHAIRMAN:  Unless he walks in the door





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        before you get to the microphone, that is a


       2        correct statement.  I do not see him coming in


       3        the door, so we are finished with the


       4        presentation of evidence.  We're now going to do


       5        closing statements and then come into committee.


       6             MR. HARDEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


       7             As I indicated in my opening statement,


       8        your only job today is to determine whether or


       9        not the nine criteria are met.  Those nine


      10        criteria have been met as stipulated by the


      11        appellants.  Both Mr. Crescimbeni and his two


      12        clients indicated --


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Harden, Mr. Wendler is


      14        here.  Would you have an objection to him making


      15        his comments or not?


      16             MR. HARDEN:  I'm going to do graciously


      17        what you're going to make me do anyway.


      18             THE CHAIRMAN:  I appreciate your patience,


      19        Mr. Harden.


      20             Mr. Wendler.


      21             MR. HARDEN:  I have to turn my back to


      22        these people that are waiting.


      23             (Mr. Wendler approaches the podium.)


      24             THE CHAIRMAN:  Sir, I appreciate you


      25        getting back in here.  You have three minutes to





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        make comments, please.


       2             MR. WENDLER:  I thought I could leave


       3        because I didn't get called.  I'm out of


       4        breath.


       5             Anyway, I drive by Arielle's quite often.


       6             THE CHAIRMAN:  Give me your name and


       7        address for the record, please.


       8             MR. WENDLER:  Ted Wendler, 7876 Glen Echo


       9        Road North, Jacksonville.


      10             I drive by the old Red Lobster very often.


      11        And during the day, there's never any business


      12        at Arielle's.  And even in the evening when I


      13        would come back from dinner, say, at 7 o'clock,


      14        there may be two or three cars there, which I


      15        assume are maybe employees or whatever.  And


      16        then late at -- if I come by there late --


      17        later, like 10:30 or 11 o'clock, there may be


      18        40 or 50 cars.  So that tells me that this place


      19        is entertainment more than it is dinner.


      20             Now, that's just my opinion, but I think


      21        it's a reasonable position.  People don't


      22        typically eat at 10 o'clock.  I know some people


      23        do, but somebody should be there earlier if this


      24        is really a restaurant.  It's more like a club,


      25        maybe a nightclub.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             And one other issue, I have done some


       2        research on this 51 percent business.  And


       3        specifically I asked for the audit manual of the


       4        ABT people who do these 51 percent audits, and


       5        they've done one audit on this establishment.


       6             Oh, by the way, I'm a certified public


       7        accountant and have been for 35 years.


       8             They have done one audit.  That was done


       9        shortly after they opened, within four months


      10        when they opened.  They have not done another,


      11        and they don't intend to do another.  Unless


      12        there is a complaint, then they would.


      13             I also asked them what the criteria was.  I


      14        asked for their audit manual, which is how CPAs


      15        determine what they're going to do, how they're


      16        going to audit.  And they said if this place --


      17        if a place looked like a club, they would use a


      18        different process.


      19             Well, they couldn't define what a club


      20        looks like.  They referred me to their legal


      21        department.  I asked them, "Does this give the


      22        appearance of a club?"  And they sent back, "We


      23        don't know."  So if they don't know what a club


      24        looks like, how can they possibly audit it?


      25             Now, this audit that was done -- and I have





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        a copy of the audit -- was done using the


       2        licensee's financial statements.  They weren't


       3        audited financial statements.  At least they


       4        didn't say they were.


       5             I see my time is up, so I'll shut up.


       6             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


       7             Does either side have any rebuttal


       8        questions?


       9             Mr. Crescimbeni, does your side have any


      10        rebuttal evidence?


      11             MR. HARDEN:  No, that's fine.


      12             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I don't need to speak.


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Harden, do you have any


      14        rebuttal evidence?


      15             MR. HARDEN:  Yes.


      16             Let me tell you again, in response to


      17        Mr. Wendler, on every occasion we have met the


      18        requirement of a bona fide restaurant.  That is


      19        the 51 percent income.  There is no evidence to


      20        the contrary tonight, and I will tell you that


      21        we have met it under each occasion.


      22             Second of all, it's not illegal to eat


      23        dinner at 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock at night.  I


      24        often do it myself at a restaurant near my


      25        house.  And so the fact that there's cars there





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        at different times doesn't make that illegal.


       2        Again, it's not illegal under the CN zoning code


       3        to have entertainment with your dinner.  So


       4        without conceding when the cars are or not


       5        there, it's not an illegal use to serve dinner


       6        at 9 or 10 o'clock in a restaurant.


       7             THE CHAIRMAN:  Does that conclude your


       8        rebuttal evidence?


       9             MR. HARDEN:  It does.


      10             THE CHAIRMAN:  All right.  We are now on


      11        closing statements.  We are going to begin with


      12        those again.


      13             Mr. Harden, you have three minutes,


      14        followed by five minutes for Ms. Burt or


      15        Mr. Smitha, and then followed by two minutes


      16        from Mr. Harden.


      17             MR. HARDEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      18             Paul Harden, 1301 Riverplace Boulevard.


      19             As I indicated, your sole duty as a


      20        quasi-judicial officer today is to make a


      21        determination as to whether or not the nine


      22        criteria have been met.  It has been conceded in


      23        the record that the nine criteria have been


      24        met.


      25             I'll read to you very clearly from the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Florida Supreme Court, Irvine versus City of


       2        Jacksonville, that once the burden -- once the


       3        petitioner has met the initial burden of showing


       4        the application met the criteria, the burden


       5        shifts.  Once you meet those nine criteria, it


       6        shifts.  There has been no competent substantial


       7        evidence -- actually, no evidence presented that


       8        the criteria are not met.


       9             The sole use of the Planning Department


      10        report as the competent substantial evidence has


      11        been confirmed by the Battaglia Fruit case.


      12             Once that happens, which it has, they have


      13        to present evidence that the criteria have not


      14        been met.  There has been no evidence.  In fact,


      15        it's been conceded that the nine criteria are


      16        met.


      17             But there is a further burden on top of


      18        that you don't get to unless you prove the nine


      19        criteria aren't met, and that is that it's


      20        adverse to the public interest.  There's been no


      21        competent substantial evidence that the use is


      22        adverse to the public interest.


      23             Mr. Hill has continued to operate in


      24        compliance with the terms of the zoning code.


      25        This facility is located on a very, very busy





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        thoroughfare.  In all due respect, the


       2        businesses on either side, if you were to


       3        believe the opponents that all the activity when


       4        they eat dinner and enjoy the facility is at


       5        9 or 10 o'clock, those facilities are closed,


       6        the tire store to the east, Dr. Smitha's office


       7        to the west.  There's a substantial buffer to


       8        the CRO uses to the rear.  There's been no


       9        complaints by those folks.


      10             So, again, basing it just on the criteria,


      11        the competent substantial evidence -- not just


      12        the competent substantial evidence, the totality


      13        of the evidence is that we meet the nine


      14        criteria.  And based on that, meeting the nine


      15        criteria, we are entitled to the exception, and


      16        we would respectfully request that you grant


      17        it.


      18             Mr. Crescimbeni himself said they're not


      19        here today to complain about the exception.


      20        They want to deal with other issues.  This is


      21        not the forum.  I think Councilman Webb


      22        indicated there are -- yes, Mr. Arpen -- what


      23        the other forums are.


      24             There are other forums.  We'll be happy to


      25        deal in those forums if there's a suggestion





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        that we aren't meeting the conditions, but what


       2        we're here today to do is determine if we meet


       3        the nine criteria, and all of the evidence shows


       4        that we do.


       5             Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


       6             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Harden.


       7             Mr. Crescimbeni, how are you going to


       8        handle the closing arguments?


       9             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  I'll handle them.


      10             Thank you.


      11             THE CHAIRMAN:  Are the other two parties


      12        going to speak or not?


      13             MS. BURT:  No.  Thank you.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Was that a no?  I'm sorry.


      15             MS. BURT:  (Shakes head.)


      16             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Crescimbeni, go ahead.


      17             MR. CRESCIMBENI:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      18             Again, Dr. Smitha, Ms. Burt, the


      19        neighborhood doesn't have an objection to a


      20        bona fide restaurant operating at the location.


      21        The Red Lobster was a bona fide restaurant.  The


      22        Red Lobster closed at 10 p.m. on weekdays,


      23        11 p.m. on weekend nights, and they were happy.


      24        They just want a good neighbor there.  That's


      25        all they want.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             The question is -- and again, we recognize


       2        that the criteria were met.  We also know that


       3        this council has the ability to restrict hours


       4        of operation, period.  And the question is, does


       5        this establishment operate as a restaurant or


       6        does it operate as something other than a


       7        restaurant, something beyond a restaurant?


       8        Because anything beyond a bona fide restaurant


       9        can't happen in this zoning district.  It cannot


      10        happen in this land use category.


      11             Restaurants with 4-COP SRX licenses are


      12        generally in more intense zoning districts.


      13        This is one of four on the table that I gave you


      14        that's in the neighborhood commercial land use


      15        category, the CN zoning district.


      16             Restaurants close at reasonable times.


      17        This one doesn't.  Restaurants post their hours


      18        of operations on the door.  This one doesn't.


      19        Restaurants typically don't have drink specials


      20        or advertisements advertising that the food


      21        service -- they stop serving food at 6 p.m., as


      22        the evidence that we've submitted indicates, or


      23        that they don't open until 9 p.m.


      24             Restaurants usually comply with the


      25        conditions of their exception.  This exception





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        was granted with some conditions; landscaping,


       2        fencing, removal of signage.  None of those have


       3        taken place.


       4             You talk about the process.  Yeah, the


       5        citizens have a process available to them.  The


       6        citizens use that process.  They complained to


       7        the City about those exceptions not being -- I


       8        mean, about those conditions not being complied


       9        with.


      10             The applicant certainly has complied with


      11        the sale of alcohol.  He got that and four


      12        conditions.  He marched full steam ahead on the


      13        sale of alcohol but didn't do anything about the


      14        other conditions.  They complained to the City.


      15        Nothing happened.  They took that complaint and


      16        complained to a high-ranking Planning Department


      17        person.  We have that in writing.  Nothing


      18        happened.


      19             So don't -- you know, the system is there,


      20        but, folks, it doesn't work.  It didn't work


      21        when I was on the council, and it still doesn't


      22        work.


      23             You have the ability to limit hours.  The


      24        other four restaurants on that list that are in


      25        the NC, the least intense zoning district, close





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        at 10 and 11 o'clock, 10 o'clock on weeknights,


       2        11 o'clock on weekends.  That's all we're asking


       3        for in this case, and you have every right to


       4        make that limitation.


       5             Mr. Harden mentioned the Alhambra.  The


       6        Alhambra is a great example.  The Alhambra is in


       7        a CCG-1 zoning district, not CN.  And the cars


       8        all arrive at the Alhambra at the same time, and


       9        they generally stay until the performance is


      10        over.


      11             Again, they're looking for a good


      12        neighbor.  You've seen the evidence.  Ask


      13        yourself, is this a restaurant?  Does a


      14        restaurant post their hours?  Does a restaurant


      15        stay open till 2 or 3 or 4 o'clock in the


      16        morning?  Does a restaurant limit food sales at


      17        a specific -- do they cut off food sales at


      18        6 p.m.?   Does a restaurant typically not open


      19        till 9 p.m.?


      20             You have the evidence before you.  Make


      21        that determination.  If it's a bona fide


      22        restaurant, the neighborhood is happy.  We can


      23        live with it, providing they perform the


      24        conditions that were placed upon them.  If it's


      25        not a bona fide restaurant, it doesn't belong in





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        the neighborhood commercial land use category or


       2        the CN zoning district.


       3             It's the least intense category.  They're


       4        one of only four restaurants in that category.


       5        Everyone else is in something much more


       6        intense.


       7             This abuts residential property.  It abuts


       8        commercial office property.  The land use


       9        category for neighborhood commercial says it has


      10        to serve the contiguous residential


      11        neighborhood.  I didn't make that up.  It's in


      12        your zoning code.


      13             Thank you.


      14             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      15             Mr. Harden, you have two minutes to make a


      16        closing argument.


      17             (Mr. Harden approaches the podium.)


      18             MR. HARDEN:  I'll go very quickly.


      19             Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      20             In all due respect, notwithstanding the


      21        fact you may have stayed at a Holiday Inn


      22        Express last night, Mr. Crescimbeni's definition


      23        of what a restaurant is is inaccurate.  The


      24        definition is in the zoning code, and it's in


      25        the alcoholic beverage regulations.  There are





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        no closing hour requirements from the definition


       2        of a bona fide restaurant.  There are a lot of


       3        restaurants open past 10 o'clock at night.


       4             The only criteria for a bona fide


       5        restaurant is the 51 percent sale of food.


       6        There has been no evidence to the contrary that


       7        Arielle's does not meet that.  Indeed, it has


       8        met that criteria for two years.


       9             They, again, in their closing statement


      10        concede that we meet the nine criteria.  That


      11        ends the question that we're here about


      12        tonight.  Whether or not it's a bona fide


      13        restaurant, they could have another forum to


      14        debate that, but there's no evidence to the


      15        contrary.  That's not -- whether or not they


      16        meet the conditions is in another forum.


      17             The only thing you're here tonight to


      18        decide is whether or not the nine criteria are


      19        met, and the totality of the evidence shows


      20        that's the case.


      21             Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      22             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Harden.


      23             That concludes the evidence presentation


      24        from both parties.


      25             Councilmember Yarborough, this took place





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        in your district.  Do you have any comments as


       2        we get into committee?


       3             MR. YARBOROUGH:  I'll just ask Mr. Arpen,


       4        and then I'll make a few comments.


       5             To grant this, Mr. Arpen, if we move to


       6        grant, it's -- the language is a little bit


       7        tricky on the agenda, "Appeal of final order by


       8        Planning Commission approving the application."


       9        So if the appeal is granted, basically, then, it


      10        revokes the application for the exception; is


      11        that right, and puts it back?


      12             MR. ARPEN:  That's correct.


      13             Through the Chair, the appeal that's before


      14        you is an appeal of the City -- of the Planning


      15        Commission's action granting the zoning


      16        exception.  So an action to deny the appeal


      17        would be an action -- would be a vote to affirm


      18        the vote of the Planning Commission.


      19             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Uphold the exception.


      20             MR. ARPEN:  Uphold the exception.


      21             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Okay.  Thank you.


      22             Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      23             Just three real quick observations, and


      24        I'll be done with my comments.


      25             I disagree with Mr. Harden's assertion that





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        all the criteria have been met.


       2             If you look in our book that we have on


       3        this, number 2, as far as the question about,


       4        "Will the proposed use be compatible with the


       5        existing continuous [sic] uses," et cetera, and


       6        then it talks about orientation of structures


       7        and property values, the answer that was put in


       8        by the department said "yes."


       9             It goes on to say, "Retail sale and service


      10        of alcoholic beverages" -- "permissible use by


      11        exception."  But it also says, "As stated in the


      12        definition, these uses may be appropriate if


      13        controlled as to number, area, location in


      14        relation to the neighborhood and that promote


      15        the public, health, safety, welfare" -- here's a


      16        word -- "morals, order, comfort, convenience,


      17        appearance, prosperity or general welfare of the


      18        surrounding" -- or, I'm sorry, there's a period


      19        there -- "prosperity or general welfare.  The


      20        proposed use is incidental with the primary use


      21        as a restaurant.


      22             I disagree that it promotes morals,


      23        comfort, convenience of the contiguous


      24        surrounding uses of the property at 7707, the


      25        Expressway.  That's one observation.  So I don't





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        believe the criteria has been met.


       2             The other thing, as has been put in the


       3        admissible evidence from Mr. Crescimbeni -- he


       4        mentioned the other three restaurants in the


       5        city that have been given the 4-COP SRX license


       6        that are in an NC -- that have an NC land use


       7        designation.  The closing times for the weekdays


       8        and weekends are all listed here, and they all


       9        close -- the latest one is midnight, Chili's


      10        Grill & Bar on Atlantic Boulevard.  This would


      11        be open much later than any of these other three


      12        restaurants on a weekday or on the weekend.


      13             And then, lastly, the other conditions have


      14        not been met that could have been met between


      15        the time this was done two years ago and now,


      16        and those conditions were put into place two


      17        years ago to protect and help the contiguous


      18        neighboring properties around Arielle's.


      19             So those could have been met, and I


      20        understand they've been operating with the


      21        exception for the past, I guess, year and a half


      22        to two years, but these other conditions were


      23        not met and they could have been, so that's a


      24        concern too.


      25             And when we put the conditions in, we're





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        doing that to protect the neighboring


       2        properties.  And right along this we have the


       3        dentist office, we have a playground, we have


       4        the apartments, we have a tire shop.  And then


       5        right behind there is the entrance, right there


       6        off the side road, to Alderman Park, an 800-home


       7        neighborhood that sits right there behind this


       8        location.  So I would just ask that you support


       9        this.


      10             And those are all my comments,


      11        Mr. Chairman.


      12             Thank you.


      13             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Councilman


      14        Yarborough.


      15             Councilmember Shad.


      16             MR. SHAD:  Thank you.


      17             To the committee, I did find Mr. Harden's


      18        argument pretty persuasive.  I think the -- you


      19        know, I think we may have -- from testimony from


      20        some of my colleagues, we may have some


      21        questions on the process currently in front of


      22        restaurants on becoming bona fide, and I -- I


      23        understand.  I've had a good deal of dealing


      24        with that in my district, and I don't know what


      25        ability we have except to acknowledge that the





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        applicant is playing by the rules that we


       2        currently have established.


       3             If we want to, as a council, look at -- I


       4        don't know if we can supersede what's governed


       5        at the State level, but if we were able to put


       6        something in play here, I think the applicant


       7        would have the opportunity to abide by those


       8        rules if we were going to put those in, but


       9        currently there are other rules, the 51 percent.


      10             The discussion of the hours I do find a


      11        little silly.  There are so many bona fide


      12        restaurants that have -- that are open 24 hours,


      13        that have drink specials, that have dance


      14        floors.  To use that as an argument against


      15        being a bona fide restaurant I just find


      16        completely unmoving.


      17             So what is before us today, the nine


      18        criteria being met, is not even in dispute, and


      19        I don't see how we could do anything but support


      20        the Planning Commission's decision, and then I


      21        would work with any council member -- if we want


      22        to tighten up the rules on bona fide


      23        restaurants, let's do that, but that's not in


      24        front of us today.


      25             So I am going to make the motion to deny





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        the appeal and support --


       2             MS. JONES:  Second.


       3             MR. SHAD:  So I'd make that motion.


       4             That's a motion, that's a second, and then


       5        I --


       6             THE CHAIRMAN:  Just to get us in the proper


       7        order, we have a motion and a second to move to


       8        deny the appeal.


       9             Go ahead, Mr. Shad.


      10             MR. SHAD:  But it does concern me -- and I


      11        would like to have -- I don't think it's part of


      12        this proceeding, but the fact that there are


      13        other conditions on that property that aren't


      14        being met, whether -- I heard discussion about a


      15        sign and about a privacy fence.  That is


      16        troubling, and I would like us -- you know,


      17        whatever we could do to address that.


      18             I don't believe that's in front of us now,


      19        but I think it's something that was brought up


      20        that should be addressed in the future, so I


      21        would hope that that would be fixed going


      22        forward.


      23             Thank you.


      24             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


      25             Councilwoman Jones.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MS. JONES:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


       2             If I could get staff to give me a


       3        definition for "contiguous."


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  What is the Planning


       5        Department's typical definition for


       6        "contiguous?"


       7             MR. KELLY:  Through the Chair to


       8        Councilmember Jones.  My definition, although


       9        it's not in the code, but I would say that


      10        contiguous means adjacent to.


      11             MS. JONES:  Adjacent to, meaning touching


      12        on whichever side of the --


      13             MR. KELLY:  Correct.


      14             MS. JONES:  -- property?


      15             Okay.  So, in this particular instance, the


      16        properties that we are looking at that are


      17        contiguous are the apartment complex behind it


      18        and the tire shop on the, I guess, eastern side


      19        of the property?


      20             MR. KELLY:  Correct.


      21             The tire shop to the east is zoned CCG-2


      22        and the apartment complex is zoned CRO.


      23             MS. JONES:  Okay.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      24             I do support the motion that was just


      25        made.  And if we want to send something over to





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        Tallahassee when I get over there, we'll look at


       2        it.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Councilmember


       4        Jones.


       5             Councilmember Yarborough.


       6             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


       7             MR. ARPEN:  Mr. Chairman.


       8             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Arpen.


       9             MR. ARPEN:  Before we move any farther,


      10        just to clarify things and get the record


      11        straight.


      12             Actually, because there's a resolution


      13        before you which did not presume which way the


      14        vote would go, I believe the motion that


      15        Councilmember Shad made is more appropriately a


      16        motion to amend the resolution to proceed as he


      17        made in his previous --


      18             THE CHAIRMAN:  My understanding was -- his


      19        was an amendment to the bill is what my


      20        understanding was.


      21             Is that correct, Councilmember Shad?


      22             MR. SHAD:  Yes.


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  That is it.  Thank you.


      24             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


      25             And back to the second criteria, I just





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        want to hammer this out before we take the vote.


       2             Because this was written by the Planning


       3        Department, I'll pose this to them.


       4             The answer was "yes" to criteria number 2,


       5        which would bring it in line with the rest of


       6        the other eight criteria.  In listing those


       7        descriptors of the effects on the properties,


       8        where it mentions safety, welfare, morals,


       9        order, comfort and convenience, what are the


      10        definitions -- I couldn't find one in the


      11        ordinance code -- for "morals" or "comfort" or


      12        "convenience"?


      13             It talks about the continu- -- contiguous,


      14        excuse me, surrounding properties.  So what is


      15        our benchmark or definition for "morals,


      16        comfort, and convenience"?


      17             The answer was "yes," so I assume that


      18        someone objectively evaluated this and came up


      19        with the answer of "yes."


      20             Could you elaborate, please.


      21             MR. KELLY:  Through the Chair to Councilman


      22        Yarborough --


      23             THE CHAIRMAN:  Mr. Kelly, before --


      24             Is this on the denial or is this on the


      25        bill itself, Councilman Yarborough?





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             MR. YARBOROUGH:  It's on the denial.  It


       2        affects my vote on that, Mr. Chairman.


       3             THE CHAIRMAN:  I just wanted to clarify.


       4             Thank you.


       5             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Thank you.


       6             THE CHAIRMAN:  Go ahead, Mr. Kelly.


       7             MR. KELLY:  Thank you.


       8             With regards to the second criteria


       9        regarding the existing contiguous uses, that the


      10        proposed use will be compatible with existing


      11        contiguous uses or zoning and compatible with


      12        the general character of the area considering


      13        the population, density, design, scale, and


      14        orientation of the structures to the area,


      15        property values and existing similar uses or


      16        zoning -- is the criteria.


      17             I would just add that the Red Lobster had


      18        been closed for sometime.  It was contributing


      19        to the -- some of the blight along the Arlington


      20        Expressway.  We looked at that.


      21             We looked at the scale of the use in that


      22        the alcohol service was incidental, again, to


      23        the service of food and primary use as a


      24        restaurant.


      25             We also looked at the orientation of that





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        use in that the use was oriented towards


       2        Arlington Expressway, those structures.


       3             With regards to morals, order, comfort,


       4        convenience, and general welfare, I guess


       5        everybody has a different opinion of -- of what


       6        that means.


       7             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Okay.  So -- well, I guess


       8        that concerns me a little bit too.


       9             So it could be -- to me, it could be a more


      10        strict perception of that or a more stringent


      11        one.  But to someone else, if they interpret it


      12        more loosely, I mean, that seems to open it up


      13        for -- you know, especially in a case like this,


      14        I mean, some could argue that -- and I will --


      15        that it does not uphold the morals or comfort or


      16        convenience of the neighborhood.


      17             I guess in the -- Mr. Kelly, in the


      18        department's view, it does -- and I guess I


      19        would ask what the definitions would be of those


      20        because there has to be some objective criteria


      21        as it relates to this that we're -- that we're


      22        talking about.


      23             MR. CROFTS:  In representation of the


      24        department, my position is that, particularly --


      25        this is, obviously, a general motherhood and





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        apple pie type of characteristic that flows with


       2        the definition, but --


       3             As we get into morals and we get into


       4        comfort and this general welfare, I mean, that's


       5        almost beyond our particular purview in terms of


       6        assessing impacts, the legislation from a


       7        planning standpoint.


       8             We're looking at the physical development


       9        of the area, the relationships, and looking at


      10        the impacts, is it a threat, is it a traffic


      11        impact, is there some sort of criminal kind of


      12        implication or security kind of implication as


      13        it relates to the particular use.  That is the


      14        extent of our review.


      15             And I think where you're going, Councilman,


      16        with all due respect, I think you're going


      17        beyond what we would consider normally within


      18        our particular review.  We look at it from a


      19        physical impact standpoint.


      20             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Okay.  Well, I appreciate


      21        the clarification, Mr. Crofts and Mr. Kelly.


      22        Thank you.


      23             I do take a different view on it.  In my


      24        opinion, I don't believe that the criteria has


      25        been met, and I would just urge my colleagues to





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        vote in support of the appeal.


       2             And that ends my comments, Mr. Chairman.


       3        Thank you.


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you.


       5             Councilmember Shad.


       6             MR. SHAD:  Yes, sir.


       7             Just briefly, you know, we haven't heard


       8        any testimony about the morals or the comfort or


       9        convenience and anything negative in that


      10        aspect.  In fact, the only evidence we have is


      11        the Planning Department report.  And not only do


      12        we not have any substantial competent evidence


      13        to the contrary, there's no evidence at all to


      14        the contrary.  So, I mean, lack of any other


      15        evidence, I think we have to support the


      16        Planning Department report.


      17             And I believe the applicant, even though


      18        Councilman Yarborough is looking at -- and


      19        trying to disagree with one of the nine


      20        criteria, the applicants themselves, all three


      21        individually, supported and agreed that all nine


      22        criteria were met.  So that's a little unusual


      23        there, but . . .


      24             The only thing we have in front of us, the


      25        only evidence at all dealing with these nine





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        criteria is the Planning Department report.  And


       2        certainly we didn't have any substantial


       3        competent evidence against it.  In fact, we


       4        didn't have any evidence against it, so I would


       5        encourage you to approve the motion as made.


       6             Thank you.


       7             THE CHAIRMAN:  Thank you, Councilmember


       8        Shad.


       9             I'll tell you that I don't -- personally, I


      10        can't tell you what I personally feel about


      11        this.  I haven't been to this establishment, but


      12        today I'm here to make a decision based on the


      13        evidence presented to me, and I heard -- all the


      14        parties involved said they met the nine


      15        criteria.  So, as chairman of this committee, I


      16        make my decision based on the evidence


      17        presented.


      18             Having said that, I'll support the


      19        amendment as it -- that's on the floor now.


      20             Seeing no further speakers, all in favor of


      21        the amendment signal by saying aye.


      22             Aye.


      23             MR. SHAD:  Aye.


      24             MR. CLARK:  Aye.


      25             MS. JONES:  Aye.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             THE CHAIRMAN:  All opposed.


       2             MR. YARBOROUGH:  Aye.


       3             MR. WEBB:  Aye.


       4             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  The amendment


       5        carries.


       6             I need a motion on the bill.


       7             MS. JONES:  Move the bill as amended.


       8             MR. SHAD:  Second.


       9             THE CHAIRMAN:  I have a motion and a second


      10        on 2007-835 as amended.


      11             Question for Mr. Arpen, for me.  There's


      12        been a lot of discussion about the fact that


      13        certain conditions have not been met at this


      14        point on this particular project.  I guess when


      15        I listened to that and understand that this has


      16        been in litigation and back before this


      17        committee for several years, I don't -- I mean,


      18        I'm disappointed it hasn't been done, but I'm


      19        not shocked because at any point during this


      20        process my understanding is that they could have


      21        been denied the right to do what they're doing


      22        and have to shut down, therefore, not do the


      23        conditions.  So I'm just assuming that once the


      24        legalities of this is going to end that these


      25        conditions will be met on a timely basis.





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1             Is that a fairly accurate way to describe


       2        it?


       3             MR. ARPEN:  Actually, Mr. Chairman, during


       4        the time that the appeal has been pending,


       5        obviously the business has gone ahead and opened


       6        and they've been proceeding because there's been


       7        no decision of the court to the contrary.


       8             You know, to the extent that they were not


       9        already in compliance with them, any of the


      10        conditions, certainly they are expected to be.


      11        And to the extent that there is the availability


      12        of enforcement action against any violation of


      13        the conditions, that existed previously, in our


      14        view, and will continue to exist once the


      15        council decision is made.


      16             THE CHAIRMAN:  Okay.  Well, I will tell


      17        Mr. Harden as agent, I would be pleased to be


      18        updated with a plan on how those conditions will


      19        be met as soon as possible, pending the outcome


      20        of this particular hearing, because I think it


      21        is important that when we make promises to the


      22        community that those promises are kept.


      23             Councilmember Webb.


      24             MR. WEBB:  Thank you.


      25             Through the Chair -- Mr. Chair, we're on





           Diane M. Tropia, P.O. Box 2375, Jacksonville, FL 32203





       1        the bill; is that correct?


       2             THE CHAIRMAN:  We're on the bill as


       3        amended.


       4             MR. WEBB:  The bill as amended.


       5             My understanding of what was before the