Dozens of Bootlegger's Brewery fans packed the council chambers in Fullerton last night in order to show support for the craft brewery's opening of a tasting room in downtown Fullerton's Soco District. The room was already crowded with a troop of Boy Scouts, two city commissions receiving meritorious citations, a handful of Kelly's Army waving recall signs, and Channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11.
Downtown real-estate mogul and good-government crusader Tony Bushala more or less accused the Planning Commission of malfeasance for ignoring the two houses in a manufacturing zone, and talked about the mixed-use housing approved for the south side of Santa Fe; Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva pointed out that in the wake of California's defunding of local redevelopment agencies, that project is unlikely ever to see the light of day. Bootlegger's owner Aaron Barkenhagen got up and defended his proposal, then the citizenry got their chance to talk, three minutes at a time.
The final tally of public speakers was 15 in support of Bootlegger's, 7 against, and one off-topic idiot who used his three minutes to tell the council members under threat of recall to recuse themselves.
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The comments ran the gamut from someone who decided to hold Bootlegger's accountable for the "feces and condoms" she finds in her yard from other, less well-behaved patrons of Downtown Fullerton's 51 52 drinking establishments to someone sweetly pointing out that none of these detractors bothered to show up to the Planning Commission hearing.
After the comments session was done, each of the visibly relieved council members spoke in support of the business, and voted 5-0 to deny Bushala's appeal and grant the CUP as negotiated and passed by the Planning Commission. That does not mean the brewery will be open until 2 a.m., only that they have permission to do so if they want to. Barkenhagen says he expects to stay open until 10 p.m. weekdays and midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Look for details of the opening here as soon as they're settled.