On January 13, 2009, the Turlock City Council continued a December 9, 2008 public hearing to decided whether or not to grant an appeal of a Turlock City Planning Commission approved Conditional Use Permit for The Vintage Lounge piano bar.
Last spring a city process involving granting liquor licenses was changed to allow the Turlock City Manager to overturn a Public Convenience of Necessisity Committee’s decision which involved the Turlock Police.
The PCN Committee denied The Vintage Lounge’s Type 48 Liquor License but then the City Manager overturned the decision while taking into consideration owner Daniel Gray’s background along with the fact there is only 1 other Type 48 Liquor License in Turlock.
Councilman Ted Howze believed that allowing even one more Type 48 Liquor License was going against the long term vision of Turlock as he stated it is known that Turlock does not build bars but rather restaurants serving liquor.
While Howze pointed this out, he also brought it to the attention that they Turlock City Council was to decided on the Conditional Use Permit at this time.
After meetings and discussions since the December 9th Council Meeting, many issues had been worked out between the City of Turlock and The Vintage Lounge.
If the Council was inclined to allow the piano bar to open, there were two focal points of concern: To allow one musician playing a single non-amplified instrument with light ambient music when a performer is not playing and whether or not to allow the piano bar to stay open until 1:00am on Friday and Saturdays versus the standard condition of 12:00 midnight seven days a week.
As Councilman Kurt Spycher noted that the owner has already invested money into a vacant Main St. location in a bad economy, he looked to allow the piano bar to open. Spycher was hesitant to extend the standard hours due to a possible flood of “me too” applicants in the near future which would impact police services.
Councilwoman Mary Jackson didn’t see the piano bar crowd being a big problem and even joking about them barely staying up until 1:00am.
Mayor John Lazar stepped down due to a conflict of interest as he is the property’s realtor.
The Council voted 3-1 to allow The Vintage Loung piano bar to open with one musician playing one non-amplified instrument and to close at 12:00 midnight seven days a week.