Council: Enforcement agreement approved for La Terraza banquet hall

May 28, 2014
Santa Paula News

The third time was the charm for the owner of La Terraza in his bid to get an enforcement agreement approved that opens the way to open a banquet hall in the building adjacent to his East Main Street restaurant.

The council approved the agreement, which governs hours of operation, alcohol service and security, among other issues, at the May 19 meeting.

La Terraza owner Adan Sandoval and his representatives had already garnered approval from the Planning Commission for the project which would turn the a former furniture store into a hall with a total capacity - depending on the event and including staff - of 300.

At its first council hearing the enforcement agreement became secondary when nearby businesses expressed concerns regarding parking. The council put off making a decision and at the May 5 meeting Councilman Bob Gonzales noted that La Terraza asked that the issue be delayed.

At the May 19 meeting Vice Mayor Jim Tovias, whose business office is near the restaurant, recused himself and Gonzales declared he met with the applicant, “yesterday... I wanted to visit the facility and got a cup of water... “

Mayor Rick Cook noted that requiring valet service for banquet hall events is “superfluous... you’re making him jump through a hoop,” and not taking into account that event capacity would also depend on table-seated service.

Although still concerned with parking, Cook said security should mirror what other venues - including the city’s own - are required to provide.

Several public speakers urged the council to approve the enforcement agreement noting the good reputation and longevity of La Terraza. 

“... our family celebrated two major events,” at the restaurant said former Vice Mayor Laura Flores Espinosa, who noted larger venues are limited in Santa Paula.

The project “Meets all city requirements,” and Espinosa said, “Santa Paula needs a service like this... “

Former Mayor Gabino Aguirre said the banquet hall is “an economic development project,” and was “vetted by the Downtown Merchants Association,” as well as by “Latino merchants who discussed and approved it.”

The hall will host family events that require clothing purchases, photographers, gift buying and baked goods as well as La Terraza meals, all expenditures that Aguirre said will benefit the community.

“All we ask,” he added, “is consistency and fairness,” in dealing with the issue.

Jaime Sandoval, Adan’s brother and partner, said the family wants to create a venue, “Not just for the Latino community but for all the community,” that will also attract visitors to the city.

Gonzales said parking is still a concern and although the city cannot change the rules now, “Mr. Tovias is concerned about overflow parking,” as is the owner of Tia Babe’s, the restaurant complex where Tovias’ office is located.

The nearby museums are also concerned about parking issues.

After more comment the full council approved the enforcement agreement.

The plans for the venue call for private parties as well as the possibility of opening for Sunday brunch to feature musical entertainment.

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