A Long Beach record store is chugging on with live music despite hurdles from the city to allow the business to open a proper music venue.
Toxic Toast Records will present Epic Beard Men on May 5; PEARS, Fireburn, HIGH and Vultures United on May 19; and MC Chris and Bitforce on May 26 at its 300-person venue adjacent to the store at 755 Pine Avenue. Tickets for the shows, ranging from $13 to $18 are available at www.ticketfly.com/search/?q=toxic+toast+theatre.
Andy George, the owner of Toxic Toast, says he is excited to add to the roster of performers at his Toxic Toast Theatre. Previously, the venue presented MC Lars in September and a sold-out Andrew Jackson Jihad show in December.
“MC Chris is a nerdcore artist so we are super excited because of the nerd fandom for Toxic Toast,” George says. “We are looking forward to PEARS because they are a young punk band that is creating more interest in the scene.”
He is anticipating announcing more concerts this month, despite opposition from the City of Long Beach regarding the official opening of the venue due to a lack of an entertainment permit.
In order to put on the shows, George has had to apply for temporary permits each time. He says temporary use permits are not sustainable for his business model since they can be costly and are limited to one every 10 days. Businesses are also limited to how many total temporary use permits they are allowed each year, he adds.
George says he’s tried to apply for a proper entertainment license from the city but has been denied twice due to the lack of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
Previously, George was told that he could only apply for the CUP if he could provide 65 parking spaces. However, George says he has studied the zoning ordinances for downtown Long Beach, and pedestrian streets do not require a CUP for first-floor entertainment.
“We are 100 percent in the right to have live music without a CUP and without parking,” George says. “Every time we quote [the city], it begrudgingly gets inched forward but everyone keeps trying to block it still.”
George says he has received little response from the city, which suggested to him that he may withdraw his entertainment application due to the lack of a CUP.
He says he has not submitted an application for a CUP yet because of a non-refundable $8,000 fee, and he feels the city would not approve him at this time without the parking. The application goes through a voting process, he says.
In September, Kevin Lee, a city spokesperson with the development services department, confirmed in an email a CUP and parking are required for assembly spaces.
“An assembly space needs a ratio of 20 parking spaces per 1000 square feet,” Lee explained. “Currently, Mr. George has not provided information as to how he will provide said spaces. The City has worked with Mr. George to try to find solutions to this, however Mr. George has not submitted a CUP application to date for the City to review.”