The second time around has worked out so far for the backers of a beach-themed club who hope to draw 1,100 people nightly to Mesa’s eastern fringe to sip margaritas and sing karaoke.
Despite more than 50 people voicing opposition to the bar Thursday, Mesa’s Planning and Zoning Board gave the Hurricane Bay plan a 6-0 approval at the Sun Valley shopping center near Main Street and Sossaman Road.
That’s a reversal of fortune for the club’s developers, who pulled out last March from a largely vacant factory outlet on Power and Baseline roads after ongoing opposition from neighboring residents.
This time around, there also has been plenty of opposition from neighbors of the Sun Valley shopping center who fear the 23,000-square-foot nightclub could bring a worse-case scenario of loud music, drunken drivers, drug dealing and prostitution.
Phillip Platt, who lives in a nearby manufactured housing community, said the Hurricane Bay club should be a “roadhouse,” located far from the senior community.
Youths simply playing loud music in the parking lot of the shopping center — across Main Street from the retirement community — have been enough to rattle the windows of his home, he said.
“People — this is what kids do,” he said. “Not all of them, but some of them.”
Even with the approval, the proposal for the nightclub is not a done deal.
The planning board’s approval is merely a recommendation to the City Council, which is scheduled to vote on the nightclub at its regular Feb. 19 meeting.
Owners and investors of the Aztec Springs apartment complex directly north of the proposed club have filed a legal protest with the city that will require a “super majority’s” OK — six of seven council members approving.
Even so, planning and zoning board member Frank Mizner gave the club a strong recommendation.
Only a handful of late-night spots exist in the city, despite the fact that its population barely trails that of cities such as Atlanta.
“There’s no place to go or listen to music or dance,” Mizner said. “I think this is going to work in east Mesa.”
Prominent land-use attorney Ralph Pew made the case for the club, which he said would focus on a 25-and-older crowd and would not play “hip-hop and rap music” that can attract a “college-age” clientele and associated problems.
He said that a Hurricane Bay franchise in Phoenix on 43rd Avenue and Bell Road has actually seen a reduction of crime in the area.
Michael Pollack, owner of the Sun Valley shopping center, said that the project could breathe life into the area.
“This whole area needs an injection of life,” he said.