County Tells Burger Joint: Remove 'BLVD' Sign

First hot dogs. Now burgers. A second Castro Valley Boulevard eatery has supposedly violated the special county rules governing the downtown business district.


Before Christmas, Patch reported how Alameda County Building and Planning rules derailed the opening of Muzo's hot dog stand on Castro Valley Boulevard.

Now those same rules have flummoxed a second local eatery.

In a letter dated January 3, building code enforcement officials ordered the owners of Boulevard Burgers to take down the neon "BLVD" sign over their restaurant.

Why would the county object to a "BLVD" on the Boulevard?

Boulevard Burgers partner Gordon Galvan said when he called the county he was told that the sign doesn't conform to the Castro Valley Central Business District plan of 1993 (see sections 5-l and 5-m for the language on signs).

Fine print in those Business District Plan rules is also what stopped the opening of Muzo's.

When Galvan questioned the sign order he said he was told that there was no process to appeal the order.

County building and planning officials did not return calls Monday.

This wasn't the first time Boulevard Burgers and the county had collided over signs, Galvan said.

When the restaurant opened in September 2012, Galvan and co-owner Michael Wiesner hung small signs in their front window to advertise that they sold beer and wine.

Galvan said they were ordered to take down those signs because, under the county's definition, any such advertisement made the restaurant into a tavern, which opened up a whole other set of requirements.

So the beer and wine signs came down.

Now the owners face an order to take down the "BLVD" sign that is the restaurant's "face" to Castro Valley.

"We have so many people tell us how much they like the sign," Galvan said.

The issue with Muzo's revolved around a different set of requirements in the same downtown business plan -- a prohibition on walk-up food takeaway joints in the downtown -- a stricture that Muzo's owner Marc Michieli questions given the improvements that have made Castro Valley Boulevard more of a pedestrian throughfare.

He is still working with county officials to iron out those problems and get permission to open.

Have you seen the BLVD sign? Do you think it should come down or stay up?



Ken Martin January 22, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Susan, you make too much sense. Remember, we are dealing with government agencies, the citizens input notwithstanding.
x January 22, 2013 at 11:30 PM
No one is saying they have to make a different sign. In an early post I stated that I personally thought the sign was to big and posted an edited pic of their sign reduced in size. The board only wants them to go through the motions of submitting the correct paperwork (& fees) for review. If there is a problem with it, then they will have to take additional steps.
Bob Swanson January 22, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Hi Susan, When a person applies and goes through the appropriate process and it is approved or denied then they can appeal. In this circumstance there was no process no approval or denial there is nothing to appeal. All business in CV have gone through the process and BLVD Burger has that opportunity. This system protects the business owner as well as the public. Let me propose a hypothetical situation. If and illegal sign was to fall and injure someone that business would be in serious legal trouble. If the county were to wink and let it go the county who represents the taxpayers would be in serious legal trouble. BLVD Burger can now apply and go through the legal process and they will end up with a nice sign that meets the criteria of the Castro Valley Specific plan which was prepared by the citizens and business owners of CV. Bob Swanson Supervisor Nate Miley’s Office
x January 22, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Before their sign went up, there should have been something like this ... http://tinypic.com/r/wbtph2/6 ... in your mailbox. This is what I got today regarding Dana's Party Planet on 3170 Castro Valley Blvd regarding their new signage to be.
Bob Swanson January 23, 2013 at 05:10 AM
Hi Ken, You know me. I am not going to tell you anything that is not true. I can be wrong about something but I don’t think that I am in this case. The owner of the BLVD Burger are both well known businessmen and one was a San Leandro City Councilmember. San Leandro has a similar sign approval process to ours. The county is not doing anything out of the ordinary, it is doing the job it is supposed to do. Who was the contractor who when ahead and built and installed the sign without going through the approval process? Contractors for sure know that this is illegal. Their job is to know these things. Come on Ken. Our local governments are not so bad. After all it was H.A.R.D., a government entity, that build your beloved Bocce Ball Court at the Adobe Center. Cheers, Bob


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