CUP Converts Déjà Vu Into Sports Bar

(October 21)  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors this week approved a conditional use permit that brings down a permanent curtain on the topless performances at the  Déjà Vu theater  in the unincorporated county area between Montclair and Chino.
The Déjà Vu, which was established as a club featuring topless dancing in the 1980s, became the object of dispute with the county’s planning division more than two decades ago over activity in and around the club as well as its location at the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Mission Boulevard. In 2002, after legal sparring between the county and the club’s ownership, Michigan-based Tollis, Inc., a legal settlement was arrived at by which Tollis agreed to raze the adjoining motel which rented rooms by the hour and make changes to the landscaping, lighting and maintenance and security of the property in exchange for being able to continue to operate as a strip club for ten years.
In 2012, the county moved to enforce the provision forcing its cessation as a strip club and Tollis reluctantly acceded to transforming the club into a non-adult entertainment venue or sports bar, while maintaining its liquor license.
The conditional use permit for the sports bar or comedy club called for further changes with regard to the property, in particular the demolition of the large billboard sign at the front of the property and a change in the external lighting, which entailed a rotating projector which transformed the color of the building from red to pink to purple to blue to green at night.
Tollis appealed the planning commission’s action to the board of supervisors in October 2012. The public noticing of the appeal did not specify the grounds for Tollis’ request, leading to some speculation that an effort was underway to reestablish the 7,048 square foot nightclub building at the 1.22-acre site as a strip club. In effect, Tollis was seeking to transition it to a topless/bottomless dance review that would not feature the availability of alcohol on the premises.
This week, the county and a lawyer for Tolliss gave indication that the issues in the appeal had been amicably resolved, with the county making concessions with regard to the outward appearance of the structure as well as signage, but that the night club will no longer be a venue for adult entertainment.
As a consequence of this week’s public hearing, Tollis was given a conditional use permit calling for the change of use from a nightclub with adult entertainment to a nightclub and tavern with on-site sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages and non-adult entertainment, including a sports bar, comedy club.
In her staff report on the matter, county planning director Terri Rahhal wrote, “The Applicant, Tollis Inc., submitted an application for the change of use of the existing 7,048 square foot, two-story building from a totally nude adult entertainment facility, without alcohol, to a nightclub and tavern with on-site sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages and non-adult entertainment, including a sports bar, comedy club and live music. The application proposes interior remodeling of the building, adding booths and open seating on the first floor and a sports bar and lounge, dance floor and open seating on the second floor. The project plans do not include removal of the existing performance stage and dance pole on the first floor.”
At the hearing on Tuesday of this week, however, it was reported that Tollis has now agreed to remove the dance poles, which are associated with nude or semi-nude dancing from the premises as well as the pre-existing booths, which were associated with “lap dances.”
Rahal’s report also stated that “the applicant/appellant now also objects to 14 other conditions of approval, as detailed in the appeal.”
At the hearing this week, it was revealed that the county had come to an accommodation on those objections, the most significant of which related to the color of the building, currently pink; and colored projection lighting that at night is capable of shifting the color of the building from pink to red, to green, to purple to blue; as well as the sign in front of the building, which exceeds the county’s size and height standards. As a consequence of the compromise, the building will be painted in “neutral tones” and the “light reflected on the building will be restricted to white light, with color permitted for some holidays, such as green and red on Christmas and red, with and blue on July 4.” The sign is to remain in place for five years, after which time it must be replaced with one that conforms with size and height restrictions.
Tollis’s attorney,  Alice Wong, was present at the hearing and indicated the company was amenable to the newly arrived-at terms specified by Rahal.

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