View Mobile Site
 

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Route 66 must pay for policing

City officials approve bike night

Posted: September 1, 2009 10:33 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission unanimously approved Tuesday night a five-year temporary-use permit for Route 66 Classic Grill. The permit will allow owner George Thomas to continue holding his popular Wednesday motorcycle night.

 
As part of the five-year temporary-use permit granted Tuesday night to George Thomas for the motorcycle nights at his Route 66 Classic Grill, he must pay the city $6,500 per year in case sheriff's deputies need to respond to trouble.

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission unanimously approved the permit, allowing Thomas to continue holding the popular bike nights his Canyon Country eatery has hosted for nearly a decade.

The commissioners were prepared to vote on a permit that called for Thomas to pay roughly $2,300 monthly between April and November to fund two on-duty sheriff's deputies to be on scene during the Wednesday bike nights.

Instead, Planning Manager Lisa Webber told the commissioners a new deal had been struck between Thomas and the city.

Thomas will, in monthly installments, pay a $6,500 deposit to the city in the event sheriff's deputies need to be sent to a bike night in response to complaints, she explained.

At the end of the bike night season, if there have been no issues, the deposit will be refunded to Thomas or he can opt to roll it over to the next year.

While glad that an agreement was reached, Commissioner Dennis Ostrom said: "This whole thing is premature" in reference to the deposit. "I would vote against it, but I don't want to vote against bike night. It sets a bad precedent."

Thomas, a retired Los Angeles Police Department captain, was glad to have his permit approved but expressed concern about the required deposit.

"It really does set a precedent," he said. "I don't feel good about having to pay $6,500 a year."

Tension over bike nights flared earlier this year when sheriff's Capt. Anthony La Berge raised concerns to city officials about what he said is a bike night presence of members of the Vagos and Mongols motorcycle clubs. The two groups are categorized as outlaw motorcycle gangs by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Thomas employs both current and retired law enforcement officials as armed security guards for his bike nights and has stressed his guards are vigilant about enforcing a "no colors" policy - barring biker gang members from coming in.

Fourteen people came forward during Tuesday night's public comment period to speak in support of Thomas, many of them opposing the requirement that he pay the city in case sheriff's deputies need to respond to a complaint.

"This has been a trouble-free event," Sand Canyon resident Mike Levison said. "It troubles me that the city I love ... has singled out George and is setting a precedent that smells a little bit like protection."

Comments

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

 
 

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...