LIVINGSTON -- An attempt to reopen a shuttered bar on Main Street is being met with resistance from the City Council.
Concerns about the proposal have revolved around a lack of parking spots at the location, worries about drunken driving, strains on the police department and legal fees associated with the proposal, which have already piled up to $12,000 for the city.
On Jan. 10, the Livingston Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the site at 444 Main St. that would have allowed the establishment to sell alcohol by the glass.
But the permit was later appealed by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza, who was originally in favor of the plan to allow a bar to move back into the vacant building.
The site used to be occupied by the Tequila Club, a business that had been afflicted by issues such as broken glass, litter and fighting.
During a March 6 council meeting, Espinoza said, several citizens approached him with concerns about the plan to allow a bar back into the building, prompting him to re-evaluate his stance on it.
Other council members agreed with Espinoza on his reasons for appealing the decision. Councilman Frank Vierra said that if Espinoza hadn't appealed the decision, he would have.
Mike Sperry Jr., the man behind the venture, declined to comment on the issue.
Sperry, who owns the 3rd Street Armory Co. at 737 Main St., tried to open a medical marijuana facility in Livingston in 2010, but the attempt was blocked by the City Council.
He's been selling shooting accessories out of his shop at 737 Main St., and plans to start selling firearms from the location soon.
Sperry's attorney, Mike Warda, couldn't be reached for comment Monday. During a March council meeting, Warda noted that he and his client are unsure of the reason why the conditional use permit for the business was appealed. He added that Sperry's "been on the defensive on this thing the entire time."
The building has been vacant since 2003, when the previous business closed its doors, said Donna Kenney, Livingston's community development director.
The site has been for rent for several years, Kenney said. At one point, it was considered for office space, but that plan didn't go anywhere.
During tonight's meeting, the issue will be brought back for discussion and the council will vote to approve the administrative appeal and revoke the conditional use permit that was previously approved by the Planning Commission.
The council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 1416 C St. in Livingston.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.