This week, the Simi Valley Planning Commission showed Candlelight Nightclub no love according to the Simi Valley Acorn on Friday. The Planning Commission voted to send the matter back to the City Council, but only after a 3 hour session including comments from approximately 30 area residents and remarks from the commissioners.
“When you have a CUP, and you have residents that are going to be impacted by it saying ‘no,’ it’s very hard to go against their wishes,” Commissioner Keith Mashburn said. “Your nightclub operation, from what I’ve seen, is not compatible with a residential area.”
No doubt, nobody wants to tell pissed off residents that they need to stand by and wait for the owners of this nightclub to make a good faith effort to resolve the issues. Who would want to? They’re pissed off! But this place earns money for the city AND (and read this, because this is the most important part) the owner’s genuinely WANT to resolve the issues completely and be good neighbors! Not sure you believe me? Read on…
The Gerson family continues to earn a decent living on various business ventures, including similar nightclubs and other entertainment/event venues such as Calamigos Ranch in Malibu. Frankly, closing shop in Simi Valley won’t destroy their bottom line. They’re here because they like it here and they want to be here.
I’ll bet if you asked them for a tour of the facility and a demonstration of efforts to reduce noise, they’d show you every renovation and the invoices that reflect the cost. I once watched them get a harsh scolding by our Mayor in a City Council meeting and then eavesdropped on their conversation with a disgruntled neighbor resulting in their unconditional agreement to pay cash for damages related to hit and run vandalism. Mind you, this was done with no proof or evidence that the vandal was a patron of the club, this was just an assumption. Further, I rudely listened in while the father and son owners discussed in the City Hall parking lot what they could do to power-up their efforts and make good with the residents. In my mind, these guys are 100% genuine in their efforts to do good business that works for this city.
Nevertheless, Commissioner Tim Shannon said he believed Glen Gerson, developer and operator of The Vineyards/Candlelight, when he said the current problems can be resolved.
“I believe you can get these issues rectified, if you’re motivated, in short order. And I don’t think there is any neighbor that, if you truly rectify the issues, will stand in your way,” Shannon said. “We need business in Simi Valley, but we don’t need any business at the expense of our residents and that’s the issue that I think needs to be resolved.”
I think everyone believes that last statement, including the owners of Candlelight. I think if you take a proactive effort to find out what the Candlelight owners are doing to resolve this problem, you’ll fully believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Take Chris Kim, for example, who is the former manager of the Dakota’s restaurant that previously operated at the exact same location:
“I think that Candlelight’s making the effort and it should be acknowledged that they are making the effort to meet the requirements of the city and the neighbors,” Kim said.
The most fascinating element of this story is knowing that based on current city guidelines, Candlelight is already operating within the required limits in regards to noise and amplified music. The efforts they are taking right now go way above and beyond and are a blatant showing of the Gersons’ good faith efforts to fit in. Really, all they need is time, a lot to ask of impatient, frustrated neighbors.
So with this issue once again facing City Council, the big question is will they do what’s right for Simi Valley business and the general fund? Will they inform citizens of the effort being made and ecourage them to wait and see while promoting Shop Simi First, or will they answer the angst of pissed off neighbors and ensure their votes for the next election cycle? This is politics, after all.
Read the Acorn article here…