's long battle to alter their liquor license, which involves the state, continues, even , begins.
“We are looking to have the final report out soon,” said Jennifer Hill, San Diego director for the state department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), of the restaurant's application for the license.
A list of conditions has been drawn up, but they have not been finalized, and even then appeals are likely, Hill said. The restaurant owners' attorney, Ron Stormoen, contends that some of the items on the list are odd and could be stricken from the final report.
These include the prohibition of happy hours and sales of pitchers of beer. The restaurant wants the changes to the license so owners can broaden their clientele and allow underage guests to dine.
Because the license is still under review, Hill would not comment on specifics in the pending report, but did explain why it was taking so long.
“It depends on the circumstances,” she said. “If there are no objections, an application can be approved in three or four months, but when there are lot of contestants it can take a long time.”
There have been objections all along, as Nicky Rottens has faced opposition from nearby residents over noise, parking and zoning issues. Those complaints have continued with ABC and each had to be examined, Hill said.
One of the “contestants” was the city of Coronado. City Hall's involvement in the ABC process is one of the complaints in the eatery's lawsuit against the city and City Manager Blair King, though Hill said “it is not unusual for elected officials to contact the ABC” with requests and concerns.
The Sept. 4 suit alleges that city officials have not taken such steps “with any other similarly situated establishment.”
“These give all my competitors an advanage and could well put me out of business,” said Tim Aaron of Nicky Rottens. “I know I've lost business because parents can't bring their kids in here. I want kids in here.”
Mayor Casey Tanaka contends that “the conditions for the various dining establishments on the 100 block of Orange (Avenue) are similar.”
Furthermore, he said, “Nicky Rottens volunteered for and accepted the set of conditions approved at their multiple public hearings.”
At its July 17 meeting when their permits come up in January.
Once ABC's report is issued, Nicky Rottens can accept or decline the conditions the agency places on the license. If they refuse they will be denied the downgraded license that allows for younger customers, but the owners can appeal.
“I suspect that this will go to a hearing no matter what,” Hill said. “If they [Nicky Rottens] agree, the contestants will appeal. If Nicky Rottens refuses, they will appeal.”