A majority of the City Council endorsed the concept of resident-only parking restrictions near Mozambique Steakhouse to pacify neighbors’ long-running noise complaints about late-night patrons.
A public hearing on the matter was set for Dec. 7. Residents within the proposed area and two blocks around it will be notified. If accepted, neighborhood parking restrictions will take effect Jan. 1 for a four-month “study” period.
Under the proposed temporary restrictions debated on Tuesday, only residents with city-issued $40-a-year shopper’s permits displayed on their vehicles will be able to park from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in a four-block area extending behind the restaurant.
“What I particularly dislike,” said Councilwoman Jane Egly, who alone opposed the measure, “is now the neighbors and the city are taking on an extra burden because we can’t get a business to follow the rules.”
Mozambique neighbor Denise Puglisi agreed with Egly. “Why should I have to get a shopper’s permit?” she said. “Just so the city can make money? Mozambique needs to figure out their parking problem without it being our problem.”
The issue has been whether Mozambique is a family restaurant or a nightclub due to late-night entertainment. In contention is whether the business is complying with conditions imposed over the past year specifically to limit operating hours to reduce noise and neighborhood disruption from bar patrons going to their cars. The terms of the restaurant’s conditional use permit are frequently scrutinized due to continuing friction with nearby residents and the owner’s efforts to win approval of longer operating hours.
The restaurant offers acoustic music on Wednesday evenings and live bands Friday through Sunday. Weekly and Sunday night entertainment ends at 10 p.m. Music plays until midnight on Friday and Saturday. The steakhouse offers a free shuttle service within a five-mile radius and free valet parking Sunday through Thursday.
At an earlier meeting with interested neighbors and Mozambique owner Ivan Spiers, the consensus was that noisy offenders are not locals, Councilwoman Toni Iseman said. “It goes far beyond our borders,” she said. “Mozambique wouldn’t have the success they’ve had if they weren’t drawing from a bigger pool.”
According to July 1-Sept. 30 campaign disclosure reports, Spiers and two other Mozambique employees cumulatively contributed $900 to the campaign of incumbent Councilmember Kelly Boyd, who is seeking re-election Nov. 2.
If parking restrictions favoring locals fail to solve the problem after the test period, “we’ll be back to ground zero,” Iseman said. “There’s a lot at stake,” Iseman said. “If they don’t respect the quiet, Mozambique won’t be able to continue as it is. Will it be good enough is still to be seen.”
Streets recommended for restrictions are bordered by and include Bluebird Canyon Drive, Carmelita Street, Center Street and S. Coast Highway. Guests would be given day-use permits.
Five years ago, a similar proposal for restricted residential parking was voted down, Egly said.
The proposal recommends that police patrol the neighborhood late at night to check compliance with the parking restrictions. It also suggests posting six “highly reflective” no-parking signs possibly with a graphic of the shopper’s permit, three on each side of each designated street, which councilwoman Verna Rollinger regarded as sign pollution.