Mobius gets permit, will seek a second to serve alcohol at events

The Mobius will be legal the next time it hosts an event that draws more than 100 people, thanks to a conditional use permit that the Ashland Planning Commission approved on Tuesday night.

But owners of the live music venue on Fourth Street said after the meeting they would be back &

either for an appeal of the decision or a second C.U.P &

to get the right to serve alcohol as well.

"On one hand it's a victory," said Beryl Jacobson, one of the owners. "We've now achieved 40 percent of what we were going after."

In August, the Mobius was asked to appear before the commission after Ashland Fire and Rescue realized the club was routinely exceeding its capacity of 49 people. In looking into this issue, city planners also realized the Mobius didn't have the requisite number of parking spaces for a business in the Railroad District.

At the Mobius' third appearance before the commission on Tuesday night, the planners granted a variance for the parking issue and a conditional use permit to host up to 150 people for events. But between its second and third meeting, Mobius owners decided to ask for the right to serve alcohol as well.

"A lot of problems occur in our neighborhood because we can't serve beer and wine," Aaren Glover, the other co-owner of the Mobius, said after the meeting. People often drink in their cars, and then leave bottles on the street, because they can't buy a drink at the show, he said.

"We look forward to working with the city to further clarify this decision," he added.

After the meeting, Glover and Jacobson were unsure of whether their victory on the parking a capacity issues also meant they could serve alcohol as well.

Community Development Director David Stalheim said after the hearing the Mobius would need to apply for a second conditional use permit to serve alcohol.

Another change from the second to the third appearance, according to Glover and Jacobson, is city planners began helping it through the planning process, rather than putting up road blocks.

"Since the last public hearing the staff really turned around and has been really helpful," Glover said after the meeting.

Commission Chairman John Stromberg complimented both the Mobius and city staff on their ability to work together.

"Considering where you were at the start," he said. "You and the applicants have come a long way to allowing something good to happen."

All but one planning commissioner voted to approve the parking variance and capacity permit.

"I think it's a good project and I want to see it go through," said Commissioner Tom Dimitre, before voting against the application. "But I'm having a hard time with the variance criteria."

Commissioner Michael Dawkins said other projects in the same neighborhood have received similar variances when they came through the planning process, such as the Unitarian Church.

"We're being overly restrictive on something that is not an issue," he said. "There is reality and then there are the rules."

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