The Pleasanton City Council will decide the fate of an ax-throwing lounge proposed off Santa Rita Road after Vice Mayor Karla Brown on Tuesday called for a full council review of the Planning Commission's permit approval for the new recreational game venue and bar.
Aiming to capitalize on the growing popularity of ax-throwing as a hobby or evening-out activity, Michael Hill -- who also operates Limitless Escape Games in Livermore -- plans to open Limitless Axes & Ales in the Valley Plaza shopping center, inside the tenant suites currently occupied by Monument Car Parts.
The commission approved Hill's permit request in a 4-1 vote last week, a decision subject to a short period for any person to appeal or for a council member to call for a review. The latter occurred Tuesday night during the council's regular meeting.
The ax-throwing lounge was included among a recap of planning and zoning approvals presented to the council on its consent calendar, but Brown asked that the Limitless permit be pulled for future council consideration, saying she'd heard concerns from residents and business owners about the new venue.
"I did that after talking to many of the local businesses in the area ... The residents want to come and the businesses want to come (before the council)," Brown said.
A timeline for the council hearing was not immediately clear.
Limitless Axes & Ales proposes to become the first ax-throwing lounge in the Tri-Valley.
The conversation before the commission on Aug. 14 centered on the proposed location, safety standards and operational strategy of the proposed lounge, according to assistant city manager Brian Dolan.
Limitless Axes & Ales would occupy Suites A and B in the multi-tenant commercial building at the western edge of Valley Plaza, which is located at the northwest corner of Santa Rita Road and Valley Avenue.
In the 4,300 square feet, the lounge would feature seven throwing lanes, a bar serving beer and wine, seating areas, a lobby and restrooms. Each lane would be fenced in to prevent thrown axes from going into other lanes or elsewhere in the building.
There would be two throwers at a time, hurling the ax end-over-end toward different targets watched by a "coach," an employee who would provide step-by-step directions and safety oversight. A viewing area behind the lane could accommodate up to 10 people total.
Hill presented to the commissioners about his operational plan for Limitless Axes & Ales and answered their questions about proposed safety standards and other topics, according to Dolan.
The commission also heard from two residents of the nearby Danbury Park area who raised concerns about an ax-throwing lounge opening close to their neighborhood, Dolan said.
In the end, the commission voted 4-1 to approve the use permit and associated operational conditions as recommended by city staff, while also adding a condition limiting alcohol sales to two servings per patron per hour.
Commissioner Nancy Allen dissented, generally opposed to the lounge opening in a neighborhood shopping center (rather than, say, an industrial park) and the potential danger of the activity, especially when coupled with drinking.
The operator hopes to open the business by the end of December.