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La Hacienda Bar on Los Gatos-Saratoga Border Opposed by Neighbors

Residents say new watering hole is inconsistent with quiet area, will disrupt peace; owner Russ Stanley says he's just expanding liquor license he's had for decades.

A group of residents who live near the La Hacienda property at 18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Road is opposing owner Russ Stanley's alcoholic beverage license application for a bar he's building on the premises.

Malcolm Stewart, who owns a home near the site in Santa Clara County jurisdiction, said the group has initiated a petition alleging the bar use is inconsistent with their quiet neighborhood.

They say the new bar will be located within 100 feet of their homes, and La Hacienda hasn't had the proposed licensing for the past five years. 

The bar structure, which was already approved by the county, is being constructed on a 4.7-acre parcel that the residents say has been zoned exclusively for one-acre single-family residences.

Currently, the La Hacienda property has a hotel that rents a few rooms, and its parking lot was used this past summer for food truck fests on Friday evenings.

"The restaurant has been inoperable for over five years. At this point to reinstate the serving of alcohol on the site requires a full review of the impact this facility will have on the neighborhood, including a degradation of aesthetics and a negative impact to the value of neighboring properties due to the creation of a highly inconsistent use," the residents wrote in their protest statement, which they filed with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in Sacramento.

The 1,600-square-foot bar will have a capacity for 160 people, have outdoor seating and will serve beer, wine and hard liquor between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m. It's expected to be completed next year. Food service is included and a name has not been picked, Stanley said.

The neighbors' petition states the bar's hours will disrupt the neighborhood's peace and that the establishment will be immediately adjacent to their property line.

The Santa Clara County Planning Department has stipulated that no amplified music can occur after 10 p.m., according to Stanley.

Stanley Yee, a representative of the Alcohol Beverage Control Board in San Jose, acknowledged being in receipt of the group's opposition to the license, but declined comment.

A notice of the bar's ABC liquor license application was sent to neighbors who live within 500 feet of the premise.

Resident Curtis Wright, who served on the Monte Sereno City Council from 2002 to 2010, and was chosen to be mayor twice, said Stanley has a right to proceed with his bar project and make the site a community gathering place.

"The success of the food truck fests over the summer showed that events (that would not happen every night) could be well accommodated by the site without significant traffic or noise problems," Wright said. "We can once again have community and private events on the property with the nicety of having adult beverages available at the great new bar, and at community event site at the back of the property."

"The Hacienda site has had a liquor license for something like 80 years," Wright added. "They've paid for their liquour license every year."

Stanley said the property has served alcohol for 100 years and he received expansion approvals in 2009 and 2012 from the county with no neighborhood opposition.

"They don't want me to build residential housing on it ... They don't want me to expand the business ... ," Stanley said, adding that this year alone more than 10,000 people have visited the property without any problems.

Stewart explained that the group has no problem with residential housing built on the site, they just object to high-density housing.

Furthermore, he said, a restaurant that serves alcohol with food ceased to operate on the site five years ago. Now, to open a bar is a completely different proposal.

John Sotelo December 11, 2012 at 06:50 PM
There's been a bar on that spot long before any of those neighbors were there.
James George December 11, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Let Mr. Stanley use his property for a profitable endeavor. The La Hacienda had more traffic and noise in the past 50 years when it was fully operational than a 1600 ft. bar would cause. It's not like his patrons are a bunch of rowdys. They are the good citizens of Saratoga & Los Gatos and usually over 40.
Jane Darwin December 11, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I miss the old bar and restaurant and the new owner surely wouldn't not have bought the property if he didn't have an interest or belief that a new bar would be opposed.
Jeffrey Bachman December 11, 2012 at 07:57 PM
This place has been selling alcohol for so many years. Why all the fuss right now? When are we going to start thinking about the greater good of Monte Sereno and surrounding communities. I can't believe Stewart is complaining about noise, when he is right next to HWY 9 and the fire station.
Dwight Perkins December 11, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Malcolm Stewart needs to get a life. This place has been here as long as I have been alive and I loved to go there when the restaurant was operating. Just waiting for someone to get it going again. Always went there on Mothers Day. What we have here is the classic example of someone trying to dictate how we must live. If you did not want to live next to a busy place why the hell did you move next to it? Don't tell me what I can and can't do Malcolm!
Curtis Wright December 11, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Lets see, we have a property that has been a community gathering spot for a century, badly in need of repair, and reopening after rennovations. And we have a dude that sailed in from the east coast, bought a house directly next to a fire station, has lived in it for 3 months, had full knowledge of the rennovations at the Hacienda when he bought the place, and wants the Hacienda property to remain a crumbling eyesore just for his "peace and quiet"? Sounds like the folks who bought houses next to Reed Hillview airport, and then tried to get it shut down for their own purposes.
Mike Fancher December 11, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Anyone who has any history in this area knows the Hacienda has been a valued member of the community and much needed gathering spot for decades. It is great to hear that it is coming back and good luck to Mr. Stanley!
Linda Bishop December 12, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I think the neighbors should buy the property from Russ Stanley for it's fair market value, then they can turn it into what ever it is that suits them. It they aren't willing to do that, then they need to back off and let him run the business he bought.
Joanne Zhou December 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM
We should all thank Mr. Stanley and his cronies for suing the City of Monte Sereno. Way to go, guys!
Joanne Zhou December 12, 2012 at 01:00 AM
You were the best mayor Monte Sereno ever had! Thanks Curtis for your devotion to public service, and honoring the spirit of the Brown Act!
Ron Gomez December 12, 2012 at 01:09 AM
What Monte Sereno is missing is a late night biker bar, just like the Black Watch in Los Gatos. Count us in, Mr. Stanley. You have our FULL support!
K. Hall December 12, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Right, Dwight. Malcolm needs to get a life...like you got. The fact the you went there on Mother's Day back when the Morosin's owned the place makes you a super-qualified Einstein. Keep it up, Dwight!
Greg Hall December 12, 2012 at 02:45 AM
God love Uncle Stanley's circus. Yes, he's a victim now...but just wait until he gets his Indian Gambling Casino approved!
Eric Sandusky December 12, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Jeffrey...are you a paid responder? Consider a real job. What's the fuss? Hey...Jeffrey...where exactly do you live? My guess is...nowhere near the "noise" of the Hacienda property.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz December 12, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Last time I dined there, there was alcohol served. So not sure about these stats! I say, "Why Not"?
Kit Menkin December 12, 2012 at 06:04 AM
I am looking forward to an adult bar. I miss the old Hacienda, myself.
K.Hall December 12, 2012 at 07:25 AM
Irene, Kit...Thanks for your wise insights. Why not something akin to Sporty's Bikini Bar (Sunnyvale)? Or, maybe the Kit Kat Club? I think we can all agree that...Monte Sereno needs a little more action!
Isis Moonheart December 12, 2012 at 05:37 PM
What is happening, the society keeps getting more and more hermit like, people just communing with their computers. occasional responsible drinking with fun social aspects is healthy. Being a hermit causes depression. We have lost way too many of our beloved watering holes, put an end to the madness and computerization of people.
Isis Moonheart December 12, 2012 at 05:41 PM
True what can we, the people who have lived here six generations plus, do to stop the deep pocketed newcomers?
Isis Moonheart December 12, 2012 at 05:48 PM
A bar with hotel like the ol days is great, reduces drunk driving, just stay the night. I miss the great food and parties there.
Dwight Perkins December 13, 2012 at 05:21 PM
K Hall. Do you have a point to make??????? Seems you and Greg Hall are just about the only people against this. I do have a life and it will get better once this project is finished. I will buy the first round of drinks and will make a toast to you and Greg Hall. May people who try to dictate how other people live there lives go to hell. And by the way, I have lived in this area for 55 years. So that does make me an expert. How long have you lived here??????
Kit Menkin December 13, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Let me also add we live almost across the street from the Hacienda, in back of Austin Way, so we hear the Friday music--and enjoy it, too. I miss the Sunday brunch, the piano bar, and the simple, good food, as well as the safe distance from our house. I for one would rather have a good bar than more houses built and more traffic. So let the owner continue (I don't know him) or let him build houses, but lets stop all this negativity. It's the "holiday season!"
K. Hall December 13, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Dwight, Kit...we've been here since 1964. I think Ron Gomez said it best! And, you two are a real couple of Einsteins!;-)
Mark Alman December 14, 2012 at 07:22 PM
An establishment where locals would gather in an upscale setting would be great to bring back to the property. It would be welcomed and valued by all who live around here, as it has been for so many years' past. Thank you, Mr. Stanley!
Peter Cook December 17, 2012 at 08:29 PM
What beer do they have on draft ?
Mike Hunt December 18, 2012 at 06:59 AM
Actually, it's not beer. It's a Cannabis dispensary......and those are specimen jars. Welcome to La Hacienda, Pete!
Mike Hunt December 19, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Maybe a gun shop would be profitable?

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