Erewhon Natural Foods will be allowed to offer beer and wine tastings in addition to selling alcohol when it opens next year at the Trancas Country Market.
The Malibu Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits for off-site consumption during Monday's meeting at Malibu City Hall. The commissioners also gave the OK to a beer and wine tasting area, a deli and a juice bar.
Richard Mollica, the City of Malibu's associate planner, said the alcohol license issued by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will only allow for tasting.
"Some of the concerns we have when we look at this is well is it going to turn into a bar," Mollica said, adding that a bar requires a different type of license from the ABC.
Commissioner John Maza said he was also concerned that the tasting area could be used beyond the scope of the owner's plans.
Clare Bronowski, an attorney representing the owners, said the license required to operate a beer and wine tasting is restrictive.
"All licenses have restrictions on where alcohol can be consumed," Bronowski said.
The proposed market will be located in the area of HOWS Trancas Market, which closed in August 2011.
According to Erewhon owner Tony Antoci, the new store will offer natural, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, lamb and seafood, as well as produce grown within 100 miles of Los Angeles.
The store also plans to offer its Tonic Bar, which features juices, superfoods, tonics and smoothies made with organic ingredients and supplements.
"We are excited to bring back a market to Malibu, primarily natural and organic," Antoci said.
A request to change the lighting plans for the shopping center was delayed until the Planning Commission's Nov. 5 meeting.