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For years, North Park neighbors of the Bluefoot Lounge have complained about excessive noise coming from the bar and noise and litter from patrons walking through the neighborhood to their cars late at night.

Tensions mounted during a community planning committee meeting, when Bluefoot's owners, Adam Cook and Cuong Nguyen, requested that the committee support their request to extend hours from midnight on Sunday through Thursday to 2 a.m.

The committee denied their request.

Now, weeks after members of the North Park Planning Committee denied Cook and Nguyen's request to amend their Neighborhood Use Permit, residents are incensed about a meeting between Bluefoot's owners, representatives from the Development Services Department, and the police department's vice unit.

Residents say the meeting, held shortly after the planning committee's decision on November 16, are renewed efforts by Cook and Nguyen to amend their Neighborhood Use Permit, this time to extend hours on Thursday night's from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. and to extend their Neighborhood Use Permit from two years to ten years.

Their efforts appear to have been successful.

"After the meeting, the San Diego Police Department was willing to relax the conditions of the bar to 2 a.m. on Thursday evenings from the current midnight closing," wrote one nearby resident opposed to extending the bar's hours. "Additionally, the police department was okay with [extending their] NUP.

The residents claim that the meeting is evidence that city officials are aiding Bluefoot's owners in the process.

"This appears, sadly, to be a case of support the business applicant to any extent necessary to assure them a successful outcome, and the public be damned," wrote one North Park resident in a December 6 email to Councilmember Todd Gloria.

North Park denizens have also contacted Renee Mezo of the City's Development Services Department. Mezo is handling the issue for the City.

"[Meeting with residents] is warranted unless the Development Services Department wishes to convey a message that [the department] is not working in the best interest of the community and is rather supporting one side versus another," wrote another resident to Mezo on December 6. "I hope that this is not the case and that we will start seeing more balance when Development Services Department considers issues that effect the public health, safety, and welfare of the community."

The Development Services Department is expected to announce their decision on December 8.

Cook and Nguyen failed to respond to this correspondent's request for comment, as did Mezo.

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Comments

Founder Dec. 8, 2010 @ 6:58 a.m.

This is a continuing story, see that and previous comments here: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

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Founder Dec. 8, 2010 @ 7:06 a.m.

The word is out that SDPD Vice has now decided to NOT support Bluefoot BAR and Lounge request for adding hours on Thursday night!

Notice also how Bluefoot is now using the:

Bluefoot Lounge Neighborhood Pub

Trying to modify its image to further distance itself from being a BAR!

Maybe a name change will help attract a different type of quiet patron!

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mylight Dec. 8, 2010 @ 3:14 p.m.

The bias of The Reader in regard to the Bluefoot is stunning. I live in North Park, next to the bars that are causing REAL problems- True North and U-31 especially. A man at the end of my alley was stabbed in the face! I see people having sex on front lawns, urinating in my alley (women too!), and having fights in the streets- not to mention the hookers who have sex in my alley.

I've NEVER seen any of this happen at the Bluefoot. I used to live a block from Bluefoot, and expected some noise and the occasional bar patron who couldn't hold his liquor, but NEVER was I woken up by violence or sex. I never felt like I was in danger near the Bluefoot.

Neighbors who moved near the Bluefoot should expect some noise, and those who were already living there should be glad it replaced a more rowdy, leather-daddy bar! Those who want a quiet, family neighborhood, should move to Mission Hills, South Park, or Kensington. North Park is improving, but don't expect utopia until you've gentrified the whole neighborhood.

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Founder Dec. 8, 2010 @ 6:34 p.m.

Since this is your first post, I think you are a phoblogger* for Bluefoot!

*from Urban Dictionary

Phobogger

A Phony Blogger, someone that is getting paid and or promoting Spin to disrupt a blog discussion.

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mylight Dec. 15, 2010 @ 2:12 p.m.

Just because I have an opposing opinion doesn't mean I'm a "phoblogger." Just because I created an account out of disgust with the Reader's bias against the Bluefoot doesn't mean I have some shady ulterior motive. I happen to believe that the Bluefoot is the only good community bar North Park has, and I wish we'd focus on cleaning up True North, Bar Pink, and U-31! I'm allowed to have an opinion, and if you disagree, you can write out a response, instead of being accusatory.

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OsoSally Dec. 8, 2010 @ 4:42 p.m.

Well, it seems that despite my email to the editor and author regarding the previous article on this topic, Dorian has written another one-sided piece for the Reader regarding the sensitive Bluefoot Bar issue. Regarding the last line of this article, I have checked with the bar owners Adam and Cuong—they DID receive a message on the bar answering machine from Dorian. The message was left yesterday, the SAME DAY Dorian published this article! This doesn’t seem quite right, especially considering Adam and I both wrote emails to the author after his first article, that both included the owners personal contact information. I received a response from Dorian on November 19th, so I can assure you he did receive my email.

Please, take “Founder’s” advice and visit the previous article. I have posted my letter to the Editor and author in the comments in case anyone would like to consider ways in which the article could have been more balanced.

Finally, please note that The Reader staff could not even be bothered to request or find a real logo from the establishment. The image that they are using that “Founder” commented on is in no way associated with the Bluefoot Bar and Lounge. Not only did they get the name wrong, but it’s obvious that since the bar is only open until midnight five nights a week they would most likely NOT put “Open Late!” on their logo. Perhaps we should all consider getting our news from a more reliable source.

As an aside, Dorian, I really appreciated your article “Broken Skull, Broken Heart,” especially considering my helmet saved my head last year when I was doored by a car. You’ll have to forgive my public critiquing of your two Bluefoot articles. After contacting you and seeing no adjustment in the balance of your “informative” articles, I feel the community has a right to both sides of this issue.

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Founder Dec. 8, 2010 @ 6:40 p.m.

RE: "I feel the community has a right to both sides of this issue."

And the Community also has a "RIGHT" to not have to put up with Late Night Noise and worse from Bluefoot Bar and Lounge...

Those FOUR hours they are open now, from Midnight until 2 A.M. are causing all the fuss and no amount of name calling, free drinks or previous Bar slurs will correct that, just good management and that's exactly what Bluefoot Bar and Lounge is lacking!

Happy Holidays!

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BlueSouthPark Dec. 8, 2010 @ 6:42 p.m.

The Bluefoot has people sitting at its tables out on the sidewalk all day...drive by the intersection and view the lost, wasted lives. Bluefoot is a blight and the landing place of blighted people. Future alcoholics: go find a life, something to do other than drinking yourselves stupid!

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Founder Dec. 9, 2010 @ 8:06 a.m.

Your comment is very insightful and a sad reflection on the situation that so many of our unemployed and or poor face in our Country today.

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OsoSally Dec. 9, 2010 @ 9:59 a.m.

Actually, his comment is not truly insightful, it is moral relativism. Moral condemnation should not be the basis for a political decision involving the operation of a legal business (this is not prohibition, is it?). But that IS in fact exactly what's happening in this area with regard to alcohol license protests. Founder, I notice you and your organization have protested every single new license that has come into this area--including beer and wine licenses for small boutique restaurants. I don't think you personally have an issue with this bar. I think you are using it as a scapegoat for your prohibitionist-esque cause.

Note, I have a very good job, and am a productive member of society. Sometimes I stop by the bar for a cocktail after work, then go home and work on projects (like making a quilt for my college roommate who just had her first baby). I don't have a television at home, so I have been known to walk to the bar to catch a football or soccer game I would otherwise miss. I am not wasting my life, and I am not blight. Save your judgment--driving by and seeing people on a patio does not equate to you having insight into their lives.

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nostalgic Dec. 9, 2010 @ 10:30 a.m.

This isn't about drinking; it's about parking.

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OsoSally Dec. 9, 2010 @ 11:02 a.m.

Parking? If a resident doesn't have a driveway or reserved space, should one business shoulder the blame? As a reminder, this is a high-density metropolitan area with 2-on-1 properties, apartments and businesses all along the surrounding commercial corridor and residential area.

No one has an automatic right to be able to park on the street directly in front of their home. Welcome to urban living. Walk more.

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InOmbra Dec. 9, 2010 @ 2:02 p.m.

Man, you know everything! And you seem so fair, kind, and considerate.

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OsoSally Dec. 9, 2010 @ 3:03 p.m.

Sarcasm duly noted, InOmbra. You're right, but then again I’m not here to be diplomatic. And neither, it seems, is anyone else.

I've seen what's come out of these message boards in the past few months. I have had my fill of the lies that are coming out of this situation.

Is it “fair, kind, and considerate” to place the blame of these parking issues on the owners? Is it "fair" to lie about the establishment giving away drinks? Is it "kind" to refer to anyone who happens to go to the bar as an alcoholic and blight? I don’t think so. Is it "considerate" to call any new poster a Phobogger? Is it possible there are just people out there who have equally strong feelings that are no less valid? Obviously it is, because you just signed up to share your opinion too. Of course, all you did was use your opinion to remark on me personally, instead of on the article or situation...

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InOmbra Dec. 9, 2010 @ 5:22 p.m.

You exceed all expectations! Thank you.

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Dorian Hargrove Dec. 9, 2010 @ 12:41 p.m.

"This doesn’t seem quite right, especially considering Adam and I both wrote emails to the author after his first article, that both included the owners personal contact information."

OsoSally, I did not receive an email from Mr. Cook, nor did you include his personal contact information in your email to me. I tried to contact Mr. Cook and Mr. Nguyen but neither got back to me in time for publication.

--Dorian

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OsoSally Dec. 9, 2010 @ 1:01 p.m.

Dorian, calling the bar's phone THE DAY of publication DOES NOT constitute an actual effort to get a statement from one of the owners!

Adam's email went to info@sandiegoreader.com, and specifically requested that it be forwarded to you. My email went directly to you, and I looked back at it. You're correct, I didn't include his phone number. Too bad in your response to me you couldn't even make the effort to request it, or his email address.

Also, the protesters who have been in touch with you have the owner's contact info. A simple google search finds easy ways to contact them personally, as well. Is this what journalistic integrity truly amounts to?!

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Founder Dec. 9, 2010 @ 2:46 p.m.

No true! I'm a protestor and I've never been given either of the Owner's personal contact info and would not share it without their permission.

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OsoSally Dec. 9, 2010 @ 1:30 p.m.

Did you notice that you have featured five separate quotes from protesters in your two articles, and not one quote from a supporter or an owner?

Interesting that Uptown News, Citybeat, North Park News, and the Union Tribune all managed to feature statements from BOTH sides of this issue!

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Founder Dec. 9, 2010 @ 2:50 p.m.

Quotes are quotes, what about the Late Night Problems?

What do the Owners have to say about the 4 hours per week that they are serving between midnight and 2 A.M.; what to they all have to say about that besides, we are not causing any neighbor issues?

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EnoughIsEnough Dec. 10, 2010 @ 12:10 p.m.

Dorian's bias and shoddy reporting is apparent to any educated reader. Isn't it a basic tenet of journalism to not just quote a source, but identify the source? It's not like the "Founder" (or Rick or Dana, for that matter) are Deep Throat -- we all know who you are. Dorian's failure to question anyone from the other side -- be it the bar owners, employees, patrons or one of hte dozens of neighbors who support the Bluefoot -- is pathetic. This article and its predecessor should be used in journalism classes of how NOT to be a journalist.

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Founder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 12:29 p.m.

HA HA Your comment is like the pot calling the kettle black!

Your name says it all:

EnoughIsEnough

Your very first post and you don't even say who you are and if you live close enough to really care, yet you "lecture" others...

Late Night issues are what we are talking about, not stopping by for a beer or watching a game! That's FOUR (4) hours per week, that's too many!

How are you personally impacted by Late Night issues like the folks living near Bluefoot because they over serve and do not provide state mandated Security for their business!

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EnoughIsEnough Dec. 10, 2010 @ 2:28 p.m.

"Enough is enough" meaning this dialogue is ridiculous. Neither side is going to convince the other that its position is right.

I live within walking distance of the Bluefoot, but closer to University, so I am more "impacted," as you would say, by the businesses on University. But I am also a reasonable person who realized, when I moved to this area, that is a mix of both residential and commercial, that there would necessarily be more noise, traffic and disturbances (including those that wake me up at night or leave messes in my yard) than there would be in, say, Scripps Ranch.

My post was about the one-sidedness of the reporting. Don't try to tell me what I am talking about. I'm not interested in engaging with YOU about the late night issues, which I know are exaggerated (I've watched Rick's video and it's whisper quiet). Although I do have to agree with OsoSally's take on your prohibitionist agenda and that your issue isn't so much with this bar directly, but that you're using it as a scapegoat because, as the only bar subject to an NUP because of unique zoning in that block, it appears to be the only one where your agenda stands to gain some ground.

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Founder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 2:55 p.m.

Let me answer your comment in order:

  1. Dialogue is not ridiculous, especially since so many folks don't consider the topic discussed trivial or unimportant.

  2. Late Night, Midnight until 2 A.M. closing is where the problem lies; are you really saying that you moved to NP expecting to have Late Night Noise? What about all the folks that moved here 10, 15, 20 or more years ago, before there were any Late Night issues caused by a very few number of NP Bars?

  3. One sided is simply a way of saying that you did not like the way the story was presented; the other stories were for the most part in my own opinion a cave in toward business because those owe much of they're advertising dollars to local business and are very careful to not make waves.

  4. You must not have seen all of ricks video, because after seeing it SDPD Vice decided it was persuading enough to reverse their decision to allow one additional day of Late Night usage.

  5. Forget scapegoat talk, the neighborhood is now interested in limiting Late Night noise and if the other Bar Owners were smart they would persuade Bluefoot's Owners to run a better operation and stop making problems for all the North Park business owners and the nearby residents that have to put up with it. More wealthy patrons would visit NP and all the Business's would like that!

  6. Bluefoot's NUP has expired, it should have never been issued and by the Dev. Services Dept. not modifying their most recent Bluefoot NUP decision, they are opening the City up for a big lawsuit over four (4) Late Night hour per week, because as you have pointed out, the bar IS subject to an NUP because of the unique zoning in that block. To think that DSD suggests that Bluefoot's next review should be in 5 years is an insult to the 150 residents that urged them to reduce the review period instead of make it longer!

  7. Our agenda is really quite simple: We want to improve the Quality of Life in North Park, not be #1 in violent crime in all of San Diego and stop putting up with poorly managed business's that blight our residential neighborhood.

Is that so unreasonable?

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OsoSally Dec. 10, 2010 @ 5:44 p.m.

If Late Night issues are what we are talking about…For 10, 15, 20 years and even longer, this location has been a bar that was open until 2am EVERY night of the week. This FACT had to be proven to the City. I've heard people say that "that wasn't the same" for a number of reasons. Though many of the neighbors seem to have conveniently forgotten, there were plenty of Late Night issues associated with those previous bars. So perhaps it stands to your reasoning, if "quotes are quotes" then "bars are bars." Is there anyone associated with this situation who DID NOT understand that they were CHOOSING to live next to a BAR?

Your statements that "Late Night" issues are caused because the bar "over serves" and doesn't provide "state-mandated security" and are "poorly managed" are FALSE. If the bar truly wasn't obeying the law, then I'm confident the investigations that the protesters allegations have caused (from City and State agencies) would have brought violations to light.

If you want to improve the "Quality of Life" in North Park, perhaps you could focus your efforts on NP places where violent crimes are consistently occurring. According to Police statements and official crime MAPS, I can confidently say that Bluefoot is not one of those places. Also, I really don't think that it's Bluefoot that is "making problems for all the North Park business owners." Call me crazy, but could it be the person who is talking about "big lawsuits" and calling successful businesses "blight?"

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mylight Dec. 15, 2010 @ 2:20 p.m.

I appreciate that someone else sees the bias against the Bluefoot in the Reader. I'm work in the neighborhood, and I used to make the Reader available to my patrons (many of whom also frequent the Bluefoot), but I won't anymore. I'm officially throwing out any Reader that enters my place UNTIL some FAIR reporting is done on the Bluefoot. They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and they're right! Just because there are some complaints doesn't mean they're the majority!

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XtremeAlchemist Dec. 10, 2010 @ 3:57 p.m.

Late night noise in the neighborhood due to the bar crowd going to their cars and street parking being taken away from the residents by the same crowd are two of the major issues with Bluefoot. Why don't we fix both problems, and a third, by razing the eyesore that is Pat's and make a parking lot that can service both corners (Bluefoot corner, Alexanders corner, etc..) This would also allow Jack in the Box to do their upgrade, which hinged on parking from what I heard.

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Founder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 4:38 p.m.

Better yet, move Jack into the first floor of Pats which would also have Jacks drive through and also an additional floor of parking for nearby business, then turn the land where Jack's is into an Urban Park which would make that intersection cool! I've suggested as much to the NP PAC...

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OsoSally Dec. 10, 2010 @ 5:34 p.m.

Founder, do any of us have a cool 50 million or so lying around to build a new building where Pat’s is, and not make our money back in this lifetime? Because I hear that idea was brought to the City a few years ago, and they put restrictions on how many units could be built, to the point where it became not cost-effective for developers.

With so much green space nearby is it wise, with all of the parking concerns people are raising, to be suggesting an urban park? I would really love it too, to be honest! But is it at all realistic??

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OsoSally Dec. 10, 2010 @ 5:30 p.m.

Thanks for joining the conversation with your suggestion! I’ve been to meetings, and heard this idea before…there are some other things to consider. NP already has an under-utilized parking structure within a mile of Bluefoot, on 30th and University. So the true extent of the parking “crisis” in NP may be exaggerated. But even if I'm incorrect on that, please also consider:

There are four businesses run out of that building you suggest razing: an art gallery, offices, a t-shirt shop, and Pat’s, which is now renting spaces to other local business owners. Perhaps we should consider razing a house to put in a parking lot instead?

I’m not seriously suggesting it, but trying to point out that any decision affects people you may not be considering. I’m not sure the people who live behind Pat’s would appreciate the addition of a parking structure/lot to their backyard. Many protesters seem to be trying to escape issues they had knowledge of when they moved in—plenty of the same protesters of Bluefoot’s also suggested just moving Jack in the Box to another location. Make it SOMEONE ELSE’S problem! Part of living in a high-density area is about compromise. Bluefoot’s hours are compromised because of neighboring residences; residents compromise by allowing that there is more noise than in a strictly residential area…or so the zoning suggests.

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Founder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 5:56 p.m.

All decisions require discussions and hopefully considering what is best for the future of the community...

Pats is renting until that building owner decides what they want to do with the property, it was proposed to turn it and the corner where Bluefoot is now all the way up to Lefty's into Housing with first floor storefronts that would be 4 to 5 stories high and that project got turned down.

Your comment "Many protesters seem to be trying to escape issues they had knowledge of when they moved in—" is missing the point as that corner never had Late Night issues until Bluefoot arrived and if Bluefoot had good Security, did not over serve and respected it's neighbors then Bluefoot's would not be a Late Night problem, like it is now.

  • (To use your logic) If Bluefoot's Owners knew they had "unique zoning in that block" why should they ask for the same hours as other Business's that are in an entirely different zoning location?

Just a quick comment on Jack's, they could not even move to University Ave. because the zoning would not now allow for drive throughs so that is an entirely different problem and NO Drive throughs are allowed after Midnight when the next door property is residential but that code is not being enforced (YET) in NP, but it is coming because why should NP be enforced any differently than the Gaslamp or Little Italy?

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OsoSally Dec. 11, 2010 @ 7:45 a.m.

I am not missing the point. I am arguing that it is NOT TRUE that the corner "never had Late Night issues until Bluefoot arrived." I have seen the police reports for the location. I have seen the log book from the previous bar. I have spoken to patrons of the previous bar. They were open until 2am every night AND until 4am on weekends, for years. That accounts for 18 late night hours, compared to the 4 hours Bluefoot has that you claim is such a problem! In the past, there was a large amount of sexual activity occurring outside the bar, in cars and in people's yards (that's why they LOST their right to be open until 4am). There was a large population of homeless in the area, and a drug dealer who was quite established on the corner daily. For people who have been here a long time to conveniently revise the history of the corner to make Bluefoot the "bad guy" is SO WRONG.

+It's my understanding that Bluefoot's owners are allowed to make any request of the City for their permit. Your judgement of what they "should" do is irrelevant. But, your opinion was taken into consideration by the NPPC and the City.

NP is not enforcing Municipal Codes differently than other areas. JITB has previously conforming rights to have a drive-thru at that location. It's been there since 1961. The code IS being enforced appropriately based on their rights and the associated Municipal Codes. The City Attorney has reviewed this issue, and though you may not agree with it, they have determined that it is legal. Is it because you don't understand the concept of previously conforming rights that you have consistently lied to the public, by saying that Bluefoot is operating illegally?

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Founder Dec. 11, 2010 @ 4:27 p.m.

OsoSally

  1. You must be really "connected" with Bluefoot because you are speaking about insider things that I've never seen but I have spoken to many folks that have lived near by for a long, long time and it is only since Bluefoot opened that the neighbors became worried about late night problems. BTW: How long have you lived in the area, I been around here for about 25 years?

  2. RE Bar hours: Previous Bars operating at the Bluefoot location may have been open until 2 A.M. I am not sure what the permitting process required for that was back then, but that was before the CN-1-2 zoning went into effect at that location, when bars could be open until 2 A.M. The fact remains, that the bar at that location gave up their Type 48 license (full alcohol) in 1984 well before the CN-1-2 zoning went into effect and therefore the Bluefoot can't claim previously conforming rights for a Type 48 license (full alcohol) since the bar was NOT conforming when the CN-1-2 zoning went into effect.

  3. The sexual activity of bar patrons and or their employees hasn't stopped just because the sexual orientation of the clientele has changed.

  4. Residents living near Bluefoot, who have been threatened by patrons and or had to clean up puke off of their property don't have to put up with that behavior any longer.

  5. Since Jack-In-The-Box is also being discussed now:

Jack-In-The-Box might have previously conforming rights for their drive-thru, but not Late Night operating hours, which is why they close earlier than other Jack-In-The-Box's in the area and are not open 24 hours. However, any future changes must conform to the new Municipal Code. If they wish to reestablish their drive-thru after modifications or renovations then they would need to reapply for a NEW NUP; so my guess is that we will not be seeing any Jack-In-The-Box changes in the near future unless perhaps they have to reduce their late night drive through hours which most of the nearby residents would love!

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