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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

New Pacific Beach Alcohol Restrictions Face Council Opposition

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An effort to reign in the development of bars and restaurants in Pacific Beach may have stalled out. The councilman for the neighborhood doesn’t support the movement.

— Pacific Beach has long been seen as a place in San Diego to relax, soak in the beach atmosphere and have a few drinks. It’s that last part that some residents have a problem with. Now the Pacific Beach Planning Group is recommending the city place conditional use permits on new bars and restaurants that want to open in the area.

It’s a suggestion Councilman Kevin Faulconer does not agree with. In a statement, Faulconer said additional restrictions wouldn’t lead to good behavior, but would add more red tape for businesses in an already tough economy.

Bar owner Eric Lingenfelder agrees. He said conditional use permits, which could do things like limiting operating hours and restricting how much alcohol can be sold, would hurt all businesses.

"Even though a lot of bars and restaurants may be grandfathered into the process, there are a lot of things that could trigger a CUP that would encourage bars and restaurant owners to not continue to update and improve their property or to even sell to new, upcoming owner/operators," he said.

But a recent report to the Pacific Beach Planning Group found that while the beach strip is zoned for 10 liquor licenses, it actually has more than 60 establishments serving liquor. P.B. resident Marcie Beckett was involved in writing the report. She says the permits aren’t closely regulated by the state and have been transferred and modified over the years.

"So the end result is, the same license is now serving harder liquor to more people over longer times later into the night. So it has different impacts," she said.

There is no formal process for bringing community planning group requests before the City Council. Councilman Faulconer’s office said he’s not planning to bring up the issue right now.

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