NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — In a 6-2 vote, members of the Norfolk City Council have opted to revoke the Conditional Use Permit for California Burrito on Granby Street.
California Burrito is the fourth downtown business to shut down in the past month as part of the city’s effort to prevent violence downtown and increase public safety related to nightlife.
The permit allows a business to operate from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., have a DJ/live music and a dance floor. Without the permit, the business can’t operate.
In California Burrito’s case, there haven’t been any major violent cases related to the business.
However, the city said the restaurant violated its permit because of overcrowding.
“The concern for overcrowding doesn’t come from nowhere. Fire plays an important part in human life,” explained assistant city attorney Katherine Taylor.
California Burrito is supposed to have a maximum capacity of 49 people. The City of Norfolk said the business was caught multiple times with at least 100 people. The city said in one incident, 131 people were in the business.
California Burrito’s owner applied to increase the capacity to 99 people, but that request was denied.
Prior to the council’s vote Tuesday, attorney Jon Babineau proposed a counteroffer to keep California Burrito open. Babineau, who represents California Burrito owner Miguel Roldan, offered to modify the business’s hours to close at 11 p.m., stop serving alcohol at 10:00 p.m., have no entertainment or live music and convert the space to an upscale restaurant called Alebrije.
“This was an establishment that had mostly Latino clientele, dancing salsa and enjoying themselves in the back room. There was never a police car there. There was never any violence there,” Babineau stated.
Ted Dey who owns the building California Burrito leases told city leaders Roldan has never been late with rent, made numerous improvements to the building and is one of the most honest and hardworking individuals he knows.
The proposal has little effect on council members as they ultimately voted to take the club’s permit barring them from serving alcohol, being open until 2:00 a.m. and having live entertainment.
Babinbeau tells 10 On Your Side he plans to sit down with owner Miguel Roldan to see how he wishes to proceed. Roldan also operates California Fries and Wings on Granby Street.
“They’re taking actions that really don’t make sense. They’re nonsensical. Closing down California Burrito has made downtown Norfolk safer? Absolutely not,” Babineau concluded.