August 9, 2012

Bal Theatre Permit Pulled from Tonight's San Leandro BZA Agenda

Just hours before a scheduled San Leandro Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) meeting today, a proposed modification to the Bal Theatre's existing permit was removed from the agenda at the request of the applicant, according to an email sent by Elmer Penaranda, Senior Planner with the City of San Leandro.

Bal Theatre owner Dan Dillman says that he and city staff have not come to an agreement on a few items yet and he didn't want to waste the time of the Board or city staff. Dillman objects to Item IV B of the recommended conditions for approval, which states, in part, “Events or performances shall not utilize overhead curtains, drops, and scenery or stage effects other than lighting and sound.” Dillman wants the provision changed to state that any items on stage, such as scenery and props, shall comply with the Fire Code.

Dillman also objects to Item IV P, which states, “A condition for the annual renewal of the Business License for assembly use may be the inspection and clearance from the City Building and Safety Services Division.” Dillman says that this is unfair and that no other business in the city is subjected to a similar requirement.

Finally, Dillman also expressed objections about the staff report, which he says does not accurately portray the history of the theater, including its use for live musical performances.

The BZA was to have decided whether to approve modifications to the existing permit for the Bal Theatre. Those modifications included allowing up to 260 events/performances a year (no limits on movies), an increase from the 48 (four each month) currently permitted, and increased hours starting at 9am instead of 10am and ending at 1am on Friday and Saturday instead of 12am. According to the proposed changes, the Bal Theatre would also be allowed to serve alcohol by obtaining a license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control instead of relying on a non-profit organization or caterer to obtain a license.

Since 2009, Dillman has objected to restrictions on use of the theatre for live performances, despite signing a conditional use permit that prohibited live performances. In 2011, Dillman negotiated a modification to the permit that allowed four live performances a month. However, at a BZA meeting in July 2011 at which the permit was subsequently approved, Dillman and supporter Chris Crow argued against any restrictions on dancing, hours of operation, the frequency of live performances, and the requirement to have changes reviewed by the Community Development Department or BZA. The proposed permit has eased up on most restrictions, but a six-month review is still included.

The proposed permit includes restrictions that the theater cannot be used as a dance hall or for adult cabaret, adult motion pictures, or adult theatre. Those terms are defined in the San Leandro Municipal Code and generally include a reference to “depiction or description of specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas.”

At this time, there is no information on when modifications to the existing conditional use permit for the Bal Theatre will be discussed by the BZA.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at August 9, 2012 1:54 PM | TrackBack

Not entirely accurate, but thanks for letting people know.

Posted by: Chris Crow at August 9, 2012 4:43 PM


If I got something wrong, let me know. Don't leave me hanging.

Posted by: Mike Katz-Lacabe at August 9, 2012 4:51 PM
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