City Council Says “No More Alcohol”

October 22nd, 2013 Comments off

CITY COUNCIL SAYS “NO MORE ALCOHOL”

 

OCTOBER 22, 2013   Last night the City Council voted to cap the number of alcohol licenses in the downtown district at its current level for “off-sale” outlets. These are the liquor stores and convenience stores, such as the newly opened 7-Eleven Downtown at Main Street and Orange Avenue, which currently does not have an alcohol license.

The vote was 6-0 with Matt Harper dissenting. The ruling will be official in about three months after approval from the California Coastal Commission. Then it will become part of the zoning ordinance with no variances and no exceptions permitted.

During the City Council deliberations, it was mentioned by Mayor Boardman that the Downtown Task Force supported this proposal along with another proposal (recommended by Task Force member and HBDRA president Kim Kramer) to cap “on-sale” alcohol licenses as well, which are the restaurants and bars. Mayor Boardman indicated that she will bring this on-sale proposal forward to the City Council.

With a cap on alcohol licenses for restaurants and bars at it’s current level, there was some concern that new restaurants would not be able to open Downtown. It is the opinion of the HBDRA that we already have enough restaurants Downtown (more than 50) and that we need a better and more diverse mix of retail uses, not just restaurants. Additionally, if a new restaurant wants to open Downtown, they can certainly purchase an existing license for which there seems to be no shortage.

In the last several years, each of the following restaurants opened Downtown by purchasing an existing alcohol license: Beachfront 301, DeVille, 2nd Floor, 5th Street Bar and Grill, Dos Toros, Sharkeez, Pizza Lounge, 25 Degrees, G’s Boathouse, Shabu on Fire, Cucina Alessa, and Sandy’s.

The Downtown Public Safety Task Force endorses a cap on all alcohol licenses Downtown at the existing level and so does the HBDRA. Public safety is a moral imperative requiring strong and decisive action. This may not be the solution to all of our alcohol problems Downtown, but it is certainly a good start.

Downtown Task Force Videos

October 10th, 2013 Comments off

DOWNTOWN TASK FORCE VIDEOS

 

SEPTEMBER 12, 2013   The first three Downtown Task Force meetings have been recorded on video by HBDRA and are available for viewing on this website.

MEETING 9/12/13

MEETING 9/26/13

MEETING 10/10/13

Categories: Downtown Task Force Tags:

Deemed Approved Ordinance

September 27th, 2013 Comments off

DEEMED APPROVED ORDINANCE

 

A Viable Solution to the Downtown Late Night Bar Scene

 

SEPTEMBER 27, 2013   As a member of the Downtown (Public Safety and Residential Quality of Life) Task Force, Kim Kramer, President of the HBDRA has submitted the following memo to his fellow Task Force members for their consideration.

 

Date:  September 27, 2013
From:  Kim Kramer
To:  Downtown Task Force
Subject:  Deemed Approved Ordinance (DAO)

In an attempt to deal with downtown public safety and residential quality of life, we face a serious road block in the form of entitlements that are granted in perpetuum. I am referring to alcohol licenses issued by the State and CUP’s issued by the City. Both are granted forever, and to worsen the situation, both are granted to the physical location and not the business in question.

Because of this, we have new businesses Downtown taking over failed businesses and being grandfathered into their ABC license and their CUP.  As conditions change and time marches on, the City is all but helpless to modify either of these entitlements as might be necessary to deal with a changing culture Downtown or any other condition that might warrant an ABC or CUP modification.

The inability of our City to regulate grandfathered alcohol selling establishments Downtown is one of the most significant obstacles to affecting positive changes in public safety and residential quality of life. This needs to be fixed if the Task Force is going to be successful in its mission.

There is a solution. Since the State of California controls the licensing of all alcohol selling establishments throughout the state, the City of Oakland, California was prompted to enact the first ever Deemed Approved Ordinance in 1993. This ordinance authorizes local municipal authority over alcohol selling establishments by issuing Deemed Approved Permits and establishing Public Nuisance Standards that pre-existing retailers must abide by in order to maintain their permit.

The standards are monitored by the City through an enforcement and education program which is paid for by a fee on the deemed approved outlets. The standards do not directly regulate the sale of alcohol, but rather address land use and public safety issues associated with alcohol sales, such as disturbance of the peace, illegal drug activity, public drunkenness, drinking in public, harassment of passersby, public urination, theft, assaults, batteries, acts of vandalism, excessive littering, loitering, illegal parking, excessive loud noises (especially in the late night or early morning hours), traffic violations, curfew violations, lewd conduct, and police detentions and arrests.

The litany of Public Nuisance Standards described above are not my words. They are the official language of the Deemed Approved Ordinance, yet they describe precisely and exactly the conditions we face as downtown residents every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday as a direct result of the excessive Late Night Bar Scene in the Downtown Entertainment District.

The State holds ABC licensees accountable for the actions of their patrons while they are inside the business premises and uses the license revocation as a tool to affect positive changes in business and patron behavior.

In the same way, the Deemed Approved Ordinance holds the alcohol selling establishments accountable for the actions of their patrons while they are outside the business premises and uses the permit revocation as a tool to affect positive changes in business and patron behavior, including the issuance of a modified CUP for the business in question.

There are currently 19 cities in California using a Deemed Approved Ordinance including Oakland, San Francisco, San Leandro, Ventura and San Bernardino.

I am not suggesting that the City use the Deemed Approved Ordinance to come down hard on the late night bars as the City can structure and implement the Deemed Approved Ordinance in any manner that is appropriate.  I am suggesting, however, that the City be given all the tools it needs to do its job to fulfill its single most important and core responsibility to all of its citizens, and that is to ensure the public safety, peace and tranquility of the community.

I recommend the Task Force consider a Deemed Approved Ordinance for Downtown, DTSP District 1, and ask staff to provide information how this might be accomplished.

Respectfully,

Kim Kramer
Downtown Task Force Member

###

 

ATTACHMENTS:
“Reducing Community Alcohol Problems Associated with Alcohol Sales: The Case of Deemed Approved Ordinances in California” CLICK HERE.

“Conditional Use Permit – Deemed Approved Alcoholic Beverage Sales Regulations Ordinance” developed by The Institute for Public Strategies funded by the City of San Bernardino. CLICK HERE.

 

FOOTNOTE:
Oakland alcohol retailers challenged the Deemed Approved Ordinance in court on two grounds: (1) The ordinance constituted regulation of the sale of alcohol and was therefore preempted by the State Constitution; and  (2) The fee was in fact a tax, also prohibited under State law.

The California Court of Appeal rejected these claims and the California Supreme Court allowed it to stand without further review. As such, the Oakland Deemed Approved Ordinance has now become the model for other cities in California and today there are 19 California cities enacting some form of a Deemed Approved Ordinance.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
Some of the information in this memo was taken directly from the report attached, “Reducing Community Alcohol Problems Associated with Alcohol Sales: The Case of Deemed Approved Ordinances in California” by Alcohol Policy Consultations. One of the authors, James Mosher, is considered to be the leading authority on Deemed Approved Ordinances and, if we are to move forward with this action, I suggest we invite Mr. Moser to make a presentation to the Task Force at the earliest convenience.

Categories: Downtown Task Force Tags:

Subscribe to “HB-TALK”

September 26th, 2013 Comments off

SUBSCRIBE TO “HB-TALK”

 

Your Window into Huntington Beach

 

SEPTEMBER 26, 2013    Did you know . . . there is a Huntington Beach Online Discussion Board called “HB-TALK.” It was started in 2004 by current Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby, and since December 2010 has been moderated by Kim Kramer, president of the HBDRA (Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association).

HB-TALK is dedicated to all things Huntington Beach, some fun, some important and some political. The back-and-forth conversations are informative and the board is extremely active with an average of 400 posts each month on a variety of topics posted by a very well-informed cross section of the Huntington Beach community. No subject is off limits, but the focus is always Huntington Beach.

HB-TALK is a private board and only subscribers are allowed access. However, membership is free and open to anyone that lives or works in Huntington Beach.

MODERATION OF HB-TALK IS KEY

Moderation is an essential element to the quality and success of any online discussion board. With membership up recently nearly 40%, we asked Mr. Kramer to discuss the philosophy and reality of moderating HB-TALK.

“Like many online discussion boards, HB-TALK does not guarantee all forms of free speech. The board is subject to moderation and there are rules for participation. Some of the more apparent rules are:

• No sexual or offensive language
• No unlawful activity
• Be respectful of other members’ opinions
• No name calling or other personal attacks against fellow HB-TALK-ers

In general, the moderation of HB-TALK is similar to the moderation of any group meeting. As subscribers and participants, we are asked to follow general rules of etiquette and the moderator’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the conversations remain on topic, respectful, and free from name calling and personal attacks against other members of the group expressing opposing opinions.

This last rule is most important as topics are sometimes controversial, so the general idea is to “disagree without being disagreeable.” Subscribers that post on online boards, such as HB-TALK, must feel safe to post without the fear of being personally attacked or ridiculed for their comments or opinions. Without that assurance, a “chilling effect” is created causing participants to stop posting for fear of exposing themselves to public ridicule and shame. The net result is a board that is no longer viable.

Although moderation is extremely important, it is almost always subjective. As such, moderators are sometimes criticized by those that are moderated and others that feel the moderation is too heavy handed, not heavy handed enough, and/or not equally applied. After 10 years (January 2014), with more than 5,000 posts annually on hundreds of different topics, HB-TALK, today, requires very little moderation and personal attacks and other objectionable posts are rare.

With an understanding of moderation and the rules for participation, we hope many more Huntington Beach residents and others will subscribe, adding their voices and their opinions to HB-TALK. For those who choose to subscribe, whether they post or not, HB-TALK is an important source of information for Huntington Beach residents that is otherwise not readily available. Simply click on the “HB-TALK’ button on this website to e-mail a request for membership.”

Categories: News Tags:

HBDRA Supports Papa Joe’s Pizza

September 1st, 2013 Comments off

HBDRA SUPPORTS PAPA JOE’S PIZZA

 

SEPTEMBER 1, 2013   Papa Joe’s Pizza at 414 E.Pacific Coast Highway in Downtown has inadvertently allowed their beer and wine license to expire and they have since re-applied for a new license. On June 19th, before the license was approved, a downtown resident (not a member of HBDRA) filed an official protest to the State of California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) to deny this license, the stated purpose being to improve the public safety Downtown.

We have serious public safety and residential quality of life issues Downtown that stem from too many alcohol serving establishments and a robust late night bar scene. But Papa Joe’s is clearly not part of the problem and we must distinguish between late night bars, liquor stores and other establishments.

Papa Joe’s has been serving beer and wine since 2004 without incident. They close at 9:00PM during the week and 10:00PM on the weekends. They are clearly not part of the many alcohol-related problems we have with the late night bar scene Downtown; in fact they contribute in a very positive way to our residential quality of life as do many other restaurants. And now, because of a managerial oversight on their part, someone wants to deny them the opportunity to thrive at their full potential and continue to have a positive influence in the downtown community. We think a family-owned and family-operated “pizza joint” across from the beach on PCH is the perfect fit for Surf City USA.

This protest with the ABC has already started an 8-9 month delay in the approval process and could result in the ultimate denial of Papa Joe’s to continue serving beer and wine, as they have been doing successfully since 2004.

The HBDRA thinks this is wrong and we have pledged our support  to Papa Joe’s. We will do everything we can to ensure that our local Surf City “pizza joint” continues to thrive, serving great pizza and Italian food along with beer and wine, long into the future.

HBDRA will continue to oppose establishments that create unmitigated negative impacts on the downtown residents and we will support others that contribute to our downtown economy and residential quality of life in a positive way. Alcohol is not the determining factor.

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags:

Pacific City Late Night Venues

August 30th, 2013 Comments off

PACIFIC CITY HAS LATE NIGHT VENUES

 

UPDATE AUGUST 30, 2013   Today, Mayor Connie Boardman appealed the Pacific City project to the City Council for final determination. Her reason for the appeal was based on the 2:00AM closing time of the restaurants as detailed in our article below. The HBDRA had not previously contacted Mayor Boardman regarding this matter. We are extremely grateful for her ongoing efforts to improve the public safety and quality of life for the residents of Huntington Beach. Thank you Mayor Boardman for making the citizens of Huntington Beach your #1 priority.

AUGUST 27, 2013  The Planning Commission tonight approved the Pacific City project which is scheduled to come online in 2015. This is wonderful news as we expect Pacific City to be a first class shopping and dining destination with amenities appealing to both residents and visitors. There is one significant problem, however.

Within Pacific City, there are 19 sites approved for restaurants permitted to serve alcohol until 2:00 am. With all the unmitigated negative impacts associated with the Late Night Bar Scene Downtown and the close physical proximity of Pacific City to Main Street, we can not imagine why our City’s Planning Commission would approve this entitlement.

As a result of this vote, there will no longer be a CUP (Conditional Use Permit) required from the City as there is with every other restaurant in Huntington Beach. It will now be up to the owner of Pacific City, at their sole discretion, to determine which establishments go in and how these establishments will operate. These late night alcohol-serving entitlements have the potential for serious negative impacts on residential quality of life and public safety, including drinking while drunk.

The HBDRA was told by a City official to “wait and see” but if this decision is not appealed to the City Council by Friday, September 6th, it will be the law of the land FOREVER. Once the entitlement is granted, it can not be taken away. The HBDRA started contacting our City Council members on Wednesday, August 28th asking for an appeal and our official letter to the City Council will be sent on Monday, September 2nd.

Planning Commission Chair Mark Bixby recused himself due to a lawsuit that he filed against the original project many years ago.

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags:

Downtown Task Force Members Announced

August 26th, 2013 Comments off

TASK FORCE MEMBERS ANNOUNCED

 

AUGUST 26, 2013  The newly formed Downtown Task Force members were announced today and will consist of 15 voting members and be chaired by Mayor Connie Boardman.

The makeup of the Task Force is as follows:

RESIDENTS (in alphabetical order):

Kim Kramer, Downtown Resident, Business Owner, President of the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association (HBDRA)

Ralph Palomares, Third Generation Huntington Beach Resident, HBHS Alumni

Susie Smith, Downtown Resident, Owner of Makin Waves Salon at 320 Main Street, Downtown

Cathy Werblin, Information unknown at this time

Michael Wentworth, Fifth Generation Huntington Beach Resident, Great, great grandson of our first mayor Ed Manning

CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS:

Mayor Connie Boardman, Chair

Council Member Joe Carchio

Council Member Jim Katapodis

LATE NIGHT RESTAURANTS/BARS WITH ONE ALTERNATE:

Craig Glatz, Killarney Pub & Grill at 209 Main Street, Downtown

Ron Newman, Baja Sharkeez at 221 Main Street, Downtown

Cesar Pena, Black Bull Chop House at 300 Pacific Coast Highway, Dos Toros Mexican Grill at 221 Main Street, and Huntington Beach Beer Company at 201 Main Street, all located Downtown.

Stephanie Wilson, Fred’s Mexican Cafe at 300 Pacific Coast Highway, Downtown

DOWNTOWN BUSINESS OWNER:  Moe Kanoudi, Main Street Eyewear at 200 Main Street, Downtown

MARKETING AND VISITORS BUREAU:  J.D. Shafer, Hilton Waterfront Resort at 21110  Pacific Coast Highway

DOWNTOWN BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (BID): Brett Barnes, Duke’s Huntington Beach at 317 Pacific Coast Highway, Downtown

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:  Dominic Iorfino, HB Digital at 1615 Alabama Street

In addition to the voting members, the Task Force will be supported by City Staff as follows: Economic Development, Planning Department, Police Department, City Attorney’s Office and Special Events.

The purpose of the Task Force is to review and make recommendations to the City Council on how to create a sustainable and vibrant downtown economy without the unmitigated negative impacts on public safety and residential quality of life currently affecting our downtown residents.

Meetings will be held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 5:30 PM starting September 12th. The meetings will be held at the Main Street Branch Library at the corner of Sixth and Main Streets. The public is encouraged to attend the meetings and provide input to the Task Force.

Congratulations to all the people serving on the Task Force and thank you for volunteering your valuable time to “pay it forward” and help make Downtown Huntington Beach a better place for everyone.

 

Categories: Downtown Task Force Tags:

Downtown Task Force

August 23rd, 2013 Comments off

MAY THE (TASK) FORCE BE WITH YOU

 

AUGUST 21, 2013 The City has just sent official notice advising Kim Kramer, president of the HBDRA, that he has been selected to serve on the Downtown Public Safety and Residential Quality of Life Task Force. The purpose of the Task Force is to resolve the many unmitigated negative impacts affecting the downtown residents as a result of the US Open of Surfing and the Downtown Late Night Bar Scene. The first meeting will be held at 5:30 PM on September 12th at the Main Street Branch Library Children’s Wing.

Kramer said, “I am very pleased and honored to have the opportunity to serve our city and our downtown community in this capacity. I would encourage everyone to share their comments and suggestions with me at Kim@HBDRA.com and to attend each of the Task Force meetings.”

There is some interesting history here that should be noted:

In 2009-10, the HBDRA opposed the City’s (DTSP) plans to demolish and redevelop our historic Main Street Library and Triangle Park. Through a major grass roots effort supporting historic preservation and residential quality of life, the HBDRA was successful in saving both the library and park for future generations.

In 2012-13 the HBDRA worked with the City to relocate the BCIS Food Bank, then located at the Main Street Library’s (former) Children’s Wing to a more suitable location.  The reclaimed space (1800 square feet) is now being refurbished and returned to its original purpose as the Library’s Children’s Wing.

The fact that the site of the Task Force meetings is located at the Main Street Library Children’s Wing is, in our opinion, a fitting tribute to the HBDRA and
the 7,000 Huntington Beach residents who supported our historic preservation efforts to save the library and park, and to the entire community of downtown residents and business owners that contributed to improve our residential quality of life.

We would like to thank Mayor Boardman and the City Council for voting to establish this Downtown Task Force and for taking a positive and direct approach to solving some of the unmitigated negative impacts that affect our downtown community.

The Task Force meetings will be open to the public and we encourage everyone to attend and participate in the process to make our city and our downtown the best that it can be.

 

Categories: Downtown Task Force Tags:

Public Safety Report Released

February 28th, 2011 Comments off

PUBLIC SAFETY REPORT RELEASED

 

UPDATE AUGUST 23, 2013  It’s been two and a half years since this report was published and what has changed?  It is the opinion of the HBDRA that besides some facts and figures, nothing substantial has changed and this report is still the most comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date study of downtown public safety and residential quality of life that exists today.

We encourage you to read this report and understand the issues we face as a community in dealing with the unmitigated negative impacts of the Downtown Late Night Bar Scene on public safety and residential quality of life for all of the residents of Huntington Beach.

FEBRUARY 28, 2011 The HBDRA released a report today entitled, A PUBLIC SAFETY STUDY OF DOWNTOWN HUNTINGTON BEACH. Click HERE to view the PDF Report.

This is the first report of its kind released to the public quantifying Public Safety issues facing our Downtown Neighborhood of nearly 4000 residents.

As one might suspect, the Downtown Bar Scene is creating havoc with Public Safety in our Downtown Neighborhood as well as citywide; no one is immune.

• Of the 69 largest cities in the State, Huntington Beach is #1 in DUI traffic accidents involving death or injury. We are #1 in DUI arrests 4 years in a row.

• The Downtown Neighborhood has a crime rate 800% greater than other neighborhoods in the City. Thus includes crimes such as RAPE, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, BURGLARY and other major felonies.

• Downtown crime is 40 times more than allowed by the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.

• We have over 700% more bars and 300% more liquor stores per capita than the rest of Orange County

• 28% of all the bars in Huntington Beach are located Downtown. We have 55 times more bars per square mile Downtown than the rest of the City.

• We have 73 times more alcohol-related assaults and 136 times more Drunk in Public arrests.

And here is the OTHER BAD NEWS. Our City Council majority continues to approve more alcohol licenses Downtown and they continue to ignore their #1 responsibility which is to ensure the Public Safety.

Why? What are the facts? Click HERE to view the PDF Report.

Please attend the City Council meeting on March 7th at 6:00 PM.

At this meeting they will vote on an alcohol license for Bomburger, a small take-out hamburger place on Main Street. We say NO! Enough is Enough!

Please join the HBDRA at the meeting.

The HBDRA is not asking for a moratorium on alcohol licenses. We are not asking to close down all the bars. The HBDRA is simply asking for BALANCE. We are asking that our City Council remember that Downtown is, first and foremost, a neighborhood of 4000 residents.

We are asking our City Council to place Public Safety for its citizens as their Number 1 priority and not sacrifice Public Safety in their quest for more and more revenue.

Our OFFICIAL POSITION STATEMENT is as follows

1) The HBDRA supports a more balanced Downtown that creates a safer environment for both residents and tourists.

2) The HBDRA supports public safety in the immediate Downtown neighborhood of 4000 residents and in the Huntington Beach community at large.

3) The HBDRA does not support a moratorium of alcohol licenses Downtown.

4) The HBDRA does not support the unwarranted closure of any Downtown bars or other alcohol-serving establishments Downtown, deferring these decisions to our City Officials.

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Drunk in HB . . . By the Numbers

January 27th, 2011 Comments off

DRUNK IN HB . . . BY THE NUMBERS


January 27, 2011 The 2009 study from the State of California Office of Traffic Safety was just released.

The following statistics include information from the California Department of Finance, Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and California Department of Justice.

1) There are 480 cities in the state of California.

2) Based on population, Huntington Beach is the 20th largest city in the state.

3) Based on all cities with a population of 100,000 or more (there are 69), Huntington Beach has the most Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents per capita than another other city in the state.

That makes us #1 for 2009; worse than the 19 largest cities in California including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and 15 other cities larger than Huntington Beach in population. And we’re on a downward trend starting with our 2006 ranking of 8, then 7, then 4 in 2008, and now we’re #1.

4) In terms of just pure numbers (not per capita) of Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents, Huntington Beach is #8 in the state. We had 17% more Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents than Long Beach which has a population 2-1/2 times larger than Huntington Beach. What are they doing right and what are we doing wrong?

5) The California Office of Traffic Safety groups Huntington Beach in Category “B” – cities with a population between 100,000 and 250,000. There are 56 cities in this group and here are the statistics for Huntington Beach:

OUR RANKING

#7 Population

#2 Number of Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents

#1 Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents per Capita

#1 Number of DUIs

#4 DUIs per Capita

#1 DUIs per DVMT (Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled)

As a community, we need to understand why this is happening, who is to blame, and how we can fix it. Stay tuned to this website; the answers to these questions and much more information is coming soon.

And remember, this is NOT a “Downtown” issue. Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents and DUIs happen all over Huntington Beach at all hours of the day and night.

Please join the HBDRA by clicking the “JOIN HBDRA” tab at the top of this page. There is strength in numbers: add your voice to ours.

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags:

WE’RE #1. HURRAY!

January 22nd, 2011 Comments off

WE’RE #1. HURRAY!


January 22, 2011 The California Office of Traffic Safety just released their 2009 data for all 480 cities in the state of California. Of the 69 cities with populations greater than 100,000, Huntington Beach is #1.

Before you civic pride kicks in, that’s #1 in the number of Alcohol Involved Traffic Accidents in the state. That, of course, is nothing to be proud of.

And when they say “Huntington Beach” we all know that “Downtown Huntington Beach” is the main cause of this record-breaking and shameful achievement.

Would you be surprised to know the trend starting in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 is: 8th place, 7th place, 4th place and NOW WE ARE #1.

Huntington Beach Police Chief Ken Small provided the HBDRA with some additional stats for the period from January, 2009 thru October, 2010.

1445 arrests for Drunk in Public

814 arrests for Alcohol Involved Assaults (with 1030 victims)

2907 arrests for DUI

When will our City Council, specifically Carchio, Dwyer, Hansen and Bohr, stop the proliferation of alcohol licenses in Downtown Huntington Beach?

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags:

No More Downtown Bars – Really?

January 22nd, 2011 Comments off

NO MORE DOWNTOWN BARS – REALLY?


RESOLUTION: City Council resolution 2010-05 was passed on 1/19/2010 establishing conditions of approval for eating and drinking establishments with alcohol beverage sales and/or live entertainment located within the Downtown Specific Plan Area District 1.

A copy of this resolution (PDF) can be found if you CLICK HERE.

BACKGROUND: Beginning in February 2009, residents of Huntington Beach along with Huntington Beach community and business leaders met for several months as part of a City Council sponsored Ad Hoc Downtown Image Committee. This Committee presented its findings to the City Council on August 17th, 2009 and the City Council passed Resolution 2010-05 on January 19th, 2010 in support of the Committee’s findings

SYNOPSIS: The late night bar scene in Downtown Huntington Beach creates a nightclub atmosphere that negatively affects public safety and residential quality of life. The City Council Resolution 2010-05 effectively curbs the proliferation of late night bars in the Downtown area by creating a standard set of conditions with respect to hours of operation, dining area/bar area ratios and other conditions of approval.

These new standards promote any new establishment with alcohol beverage sales and/or live entertainment in Downtown Huntington Beach be established as a bona fide restaurant and not as a late night bar.

REALITY: So far only one establishment has been subject to this new resolution. And it worked. Or did it? The restaurant in question is Luggatti’s Italian Grill on 5th Street. Check it out and let us know your thoughts. Bar or restaurant or both?

The next test of the City Council Resolution will be Bomburger, that hamburger hamlet on Main Street. On Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 they will ask the Planning Commission for an exclusion from “2010-05″ that will allow them to serve beer and wine til 10:00PM, but still stay open until 2:00AM.

The resolution states that they would need to close at midnight if they want to serve alcohol. Can you have your cake and eat it too?

The HBDRA is hopeful that the Planning Commission will abide by the rules, which are now official City policy, and not allow this request. We are also hopeful that the Commission will go further and deny their alcohol request entirely.

Is Bomburger really a “restaurant” in the spirit of the resolution? And do we really need any more places downtown serving alcohol?

Unfortunately, if the Planning Commission denies Bomburger’s request, it is almost certain that it will be appealed to the City Council, and we all know what that means – “Damn the residents and full steam ahead” with at least four YES votes from Carchio, Dwyer, Hansen and Bohr.

Stay tuned . . .

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags: