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January 14, 2004



Thanks for reporting on the zoning issue here on Broadway!
Happily the Planning Commissioners acted in the best interests of both the residents and businesses on Broadway.
The "survey" of business owners did not include a presentation of the "Big Picture" for Broadway. Most of those responding affirmatively to allow the various uses being proposed did not understand the issue was about allowing in tenants who might be willing to pay higher-than-the-going-rate for a square foot of Broadway real estate.

In speaking with one business owner who responded "Yes!" on the post card survey conducted by The City, it became clear that this individual had not understood the ramifications of allowing the "Anything Goes" policy being presented.
I asked what would she do if suddenly the "going rate" for her business was the rental fee being asked by the fellow at 1199 Broadway.
"I'd have to close my business." she said, adding "I wonder if it's too late to send in another ballot?"
Another business owner told me he had been visited by the owner of 1199 Broadway, who was lobbying for support of the zoning change.
When I explained that the building in question is not the most attractive on Broadway and the owner has curious restrictions in the lease, not to mention a premium price on the rent, this fellow said "I wish I had spoken with you before submitting that ballot. The issue I heard was merely about how the big, bad City wouldn't allow this poor, down-trodden guy to rent his facilities."
It was presented as a David vs. Goliath issue, with business owners supporting the little guy.
They did not realize the implications of other enterprises moving to Broadway for what may be an economical rent for their business, but a back-breaking rent for struggling retail operations.
The issue was presented to the merchants asking if they would support the renting of the vacant storefronts. Of course, everyone wants theses vacancies filled.
But at what cost?
If you're wondering about the curious restriction noted above: business owners have been prevented from applying cellophane tape to post signage in the windows at 1199 Broadway.
One of the original tenants was a mail box and video rental place. When the owner taped a movie poster to the window, he got a call from the landlord saying that was expressly not allowed in the rental agreement!
Nor could the news stand/cigar shop tenant post a sign for his goods, along with the same prohibition for the jeweler who was an original tenant. The rug merchants who had a storefront there, spent a small fortune with media advertising and eventually took over the entire building. They claimed to have been asked to pay a rent of $25,000 per month when they, for a variety of reasons, finally did have a real "going out of business sale"!
Walk by the place and you will notice the "For Lease" signs are not taped onto the windows....they're suspended on a rod from above!
Please contact City Council members to voice your opinion (hopefully support) of the Planning Commission's decision in this matter.

Gerald Weisl
Weimax Wines Spirits
1178 Broadway


It was very interesting to hear from a friend who stood up at this Planning Commission meeting. She was thrilled that they listened to her opinions and she felt that her presence and speaking up was so important. I wish other residents knew how much their presence and opinions matter. Of course the proposed mammoth Safeway store is a good example of how people will get together on important issues and speak up - even in the way they vote!. Yeaah!

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