POMONA - City Council members this week approved part of a businessman's request to make modifications to a conditional use permit at an East Second Street sushi restaurant, which is expected to open next month.

Council members made some of the changes that John Pena requested but left others in place.

At the suggestion of downtown property owner David Armstrong, council members added language to the conditional use permit that calls for prohibiting the placement of speakers on the building's exterior.

Also, alcohol sales will end at 1:30 a.m., the same as the council previously set, and background music will be turned off at 3:30 a.m.

The restaurant will be allowed to remain open until

4 a.m., two hours longer than previously permitted.

In six months, the council will review the restaurant's performance.

Council members also decided that a restriction barring those under 21 years old from the establishment after

10 p.m. should remain in place.

The restriction was one of several that city leaders set in the past to address problems such as fights and arrests for public intoxication linked with a pizza restaurant that had been at the same location.

Pena said restaurants don't typically prohibit those under 21 from being there after

10 p.m.

He told council members that he should be afforded the same opportunities that other businesses have.

"I shouldn't carry the old baggage of an old operator," Pena said, referring to problems a previous owner had at the site.

He added he operates other businesses in the downtown area and has done so successfully.

But Councilwoman Danielle Soto told the council that they should keep the previous history in mind.

"It's prudent on our part to take previous experiences" into making a decision, as well as Pena's own track record, Soto said.

"I'm not trying to be anti-you or anti-business," Soto said.

Rodriguez said he was uncomfortable going from

1:30 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. as the time for cutting off alcohol sales.

Pena said "15 minutes can make a big difference ... It's not because 15 minutes is going to make me a rich person."

The additional 15 minutes would help draw customers who have left other downtown establishments at the end of a concert or after attending another event.

Downtown Pomona Owners Association President Carolyn Hemming told the council that Pena has businesses downtown and operates them successfully.

A new restaurant that operates under his direction will add "a new, vibrant business" to the area, she said.


Reach Monica via email or call her at 909-483-9336.