The San Luis Obispo City Council voted Tuesday night that the downtown Taqueria Santa Cruz Express location can stay open until 9:30 p.m.
Earlier this year, the restaurant was mandated to close at 9 p.m. because of noise complaints from residents living above Taqueria Santa Cruz in The Mix building. It was previously open until 11 p.m.
The Mix building on Monterey Street is four stories tall and has 14 apartment units above four businesses. All other businesses in The Mix are currently open until 9 p.m.
“My issue is not with the Taqueria. My issue is with the intrusive noise generated by the taqueria and its negative impact on my daily life,” resident Amy Blalock said at a City Council meeting.
The council decided that Taqueria Santa Cruz may stay open until 9:30 as long as the noise compliance thresholds are met. If these compliances are not met, the business must close by 9 p.m.
In May, the San Luis Obispo City allowed Taqueria Santa Cruz to extend their hours of operation until 10 p.m. as long as exterior noise violations were resolved.
Mark Henry, on behalf of other residents living in The Mix, filed an appeal on May 20 against the hearing officer’s decision to approve extended hours, according to a City Council Agenda Report.
Since the restaurant had limited hours, the business saw a 40 percent decrease in sales, according to representative for Taqueria Santa Cruz Carol Florence.
“They feel like they have a very loyal customer base and that customer base was coming to that restaurant because it was open to 11 p.m.,” Florence said.
Raku Ramen manager Amphida Nishimura said although Raku Ramen does not see the need to open later, she can understand why Taqueria Santa Cruz depends on serving a nighttime audience.
“There’s a lot of factors, if we could, we might think about it but we have to consider labor and a lot of hours,” Nishimura said when asked if Raku Ramen would open later.
San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon said she believes that 9:30 p.m. is a good compromise time to land on.
“If that works for folks, [the time] stays there, and if people want to bring this back to Council then they’ll have that opportunity,” Harmon said at the City Council meeting.