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Planners hear banquet hall request

Group asks for permit to serve alcohol, nearby church raises safety concerns.

April 01, 2011|By Veronica Rocha,

GLENDALE — Glendale Presbyterian Church representatives voiced concerns this week regarding a proposal by the Armenian Society of Los Angeles to use part of its newly constructed community building as a banquet hall and to allow for alcohol consumption at the multi-use cultural center.

The society submitted an application with the city’s Planning Department for a permit to operate a banquet hall with alcohol service at its three-story building on the 100 block of South Louise Street. The society is not asking to sell alcohol, only that it be allowed to provide it to its guests.

The church and the society’s building are on the same block.

Church representatives told Planning Hearing Officer Kristen Asp during a hearing Wednesday that the proposal poses a potential safety risk.

“The city has a responsibility to protect its citizens and I have a responsibility as a member of that board to try to make sure that we have, as much as possible, secured the safety of our congregation, its members and the members of the other two congregations,” said Phil Pirio, a church Elder Board member.


Lauren Ross, also representing the church, requested that Asp postpone any decision until several safety measures, such as adding valet service and constructing of a crosswalk, are met.

Asp, who was in charge of the hearing, said she will review the evidence and write up a decision.

The Glendale Police Department had already listed several permit conditions, she said. These include the addition of security guards, that music is not audible outside the building, that there is no advertising for alcohol sales, that the society adheres to California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulations, and that the building is used only for its intended purpose.

Organization officials said the building, which was slated to be used as a cultural art center, will also eventually host luncheons, member-only weddings, lectures and community events.

The building has a library, classrooms, offices and cafeteria facilities.

Planning staffers recommended approving the permit with 28 conditions, some of which included obtaining all required licenses, forbidding smoking and operating the banquet hall only from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday to Sunday and from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. Monday to Thursday.

Tomik Alexanian, a member of the organization’s board of trustees, told Asp that the organization has a long-standing history in the city and wants to work the surrounding community.

“We are glad to be neighbors with the church and we hope we will have a good neighborly relationship,” he said.

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