I support the owners of Tupelo, 1337 Grant Avenue in San Francisco, in their effort to amend the C.U. Permit regarding entertainment.
1337 Grant Ave has been a place of entertainment for over 50 years. To take away such a storied venue is bad for business, bad for the economy, and bad for the arts.
The owners of Tupelo went through all appropriate steps to apply for its food, liquor and entertainment licenses. As part of this process they appeared before the SF City Entertainment Commission for a public hearing, at which both supporters and detractors were duly heard. At the end of this process, the Entertainment Commission unanimously granted Tupelo a license to provide live, amplified entertainment in their establishment until 1:30AM on weekends and 1:00AM weekdays. To have the City come back, three days later, and nullify that license - not for anything to do with Tupelo (or even its previous owner), but due to a multi-year series of errors by the City itself, is simply unjust and unfair.
In 1997, the owners of 1337 Grant Avenue (then La Bodega) were granted a conditional use permit to provide acoustic music from 7-10 pm. This use permit was in place until 2005 when the business was sold and the new owners changed the name to Mojito. Mojito applied for an amendment to that permit to allow for a full bar. In this planning hearing there was much discussion of live amplified music as the new owners, who had run the North Beach Jazz Festival for several years, were specifically looking to open a live music venue. The City of San Francisco Planning Commission granted Mojito an amended conditional use to have a full bar, but were unspecific on the issue of entertainment. The issue of entertainment was then taken to the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, and Mojito was granted an unrestricted Entertainment permit. That license was subsequently renewed by City Hall every year from 2005-2011. The City now claims that the location suddenly is not zoned for entertainment, despite having granted an unrestricted entertainment license to 1337 Grant Ave for 6 consecutive years.
I hope that the Planning Commission will make the right decision: To amend the Conditonal Use Permit for 1337 Grant Ave to allow for amplified music until 1:30 AM. If not, the City of San Francisco will be setting a very troublesome precedent in which honest, well-run businesses like Tupelo are open to having valuable assets stripped for no reason – which in turn damages employment for residents and artists alike. The goal of our city government should be to support hardworking small businesses like Tupelo and to support a vibrant culture in the city we all love. The City’s goals should not be to arbitrarily disadvantage businesses which have done nothing wrong or to discourage the promotion of a rich culture of art and expression.
I urge the SF City government to make the right choice and amend the C.U. for Tupelo, 1337 Grant Avenue in San Francisco.
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To lose another storied music venue in San Francisco would be a tragedy for everyone. Thank you!