San Dimas Wine Shop squaring off with the city

The San Dimas Wine Shop and Tasting Room is in the news again over another instance of a lack of a permit. Owner Heidi Daniels had a canopy and heater constructed in her patio area to keep customers warm and dry during the winter. But the downtown area doesn’t allow such things and Daniels didn’t get a permit through the city. Now the city is telling her to take it down and she has refused.

More to follow on this story this weekend, but for now here is a sneak peak.

If the city of San Dimas has their way, for the time being, some patrons of the San Dimas Wine Shop may have to drink their wine chilled.

But not if the owner has anything to do with it.

Heidi Daniels, the owner of the Wine Shop and Tasting Room, recently had a canopy and heater constructed for a patio area outside her store.

Daniels hired a contractor to build the more than $1000 membrane structure and didn’t know she needed a special permit from the city. San Dimas doesn’t allow stand alone projects such as the canopy in the historic downtown district.

“The policy is a very long standing policy, been reviewed a few times and been upheld,” said Mayor Curtis Morris. “It is against the policy. She should have gone through a process to see about getting that done.”

After building it, Daniels was denied a permit by the planning commission. Her appeal was brought to the City Council and the council voted unanimously to review the policy to possibly make a change.

But at the same time, the council split 2 to 2 in a vote on whether to take down the canopy until the policy is reviewed. In the event of a tie, the recommendation carries and the city’s decision asks for the canopy to be taken down.

“It is a ridiculous request,” Daniels said. “I am the only viable business downtown after 5 p.m. I am trying to keep my customers warm and dry during the winter.”

Councilman Denis Bertone and Jeff Templeman voted to allow Daniels to keep the structure while the policy is reviewed, while Mayor Curtis Morris and Councilman Emmett Badar voted against. Councilman John Ebiner recused himself because he owns a business within 500 feet of Daniels’.

“Unfortunately, John Ebiner had to recuse himself or it would have been a slam dunk,” Daniels said.

Daniels was instructed to have the canopy torn down by Friday, Dec. 19. She ignored that request and doesn’t have any intention on abiding by the city’s rules.

“The fact of the matter is this, my customers love sitting out there in the evening, when it is cold, enjoying themselves,” Daniels said. “When you own a retail business in a down economy, you better listen to your customers.”

“I am sorry to hear she is not going to comply with the law,” said Morris. “She wants to do what she wants to do. You can’t let everybody make their own decisions on the law.”