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Encinitas To Consider Temporary Ban On New Bars, Breweries

The Encinitas City Council will vote Wednesday whether to block new bars, breweries or restaurants serving alcohol from opening.

If passed, the moratorium would go into effect immediately.

The Encinitas City Council will vote Wednesday on whether to block new bars, breweries or restaurants serving alcohol from opening.

Photo by Brian Auer, Flickr

The 1st Street Bar in Encinitas.

Some Encinitas residents complain that bars create too much noise and are a public safety hazard. The City Council is considering two options to address the issue.

One is the liquor license moratorium, which could be extended after the 45 days to 10 months and potentially up to two years. The other option is to bump up closing time in bars from 2 a.m. to midnight.

Lisa Shaffer, deputy mayor of Encinitas, said only two or three businesses are currently waiting for liquor licenses. She hopes the ban will only be temporary until a longer-term solution is figured out.

"It signals (to) the community we're serious about this," she said. "It gives us some space to figure out what's a reasonable balance between wanting people to be able to enjoy themselves and come to Encinitas and have it be a fun place to be, but we don't want it to be the party capital for people coming and getting drunk and creating disturbances in the community."

According to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, service calls to Encinitas bars have increased by 13 percent in the last three years. Two weeks ago, residents flooded a City Council meeting, complaining that their city "is becoming the new Pacific Beach."

"I am a resident of Third Street at the corner of J Street, and have been severely impacted by the opening of so many bars in the last two years," resident Anna Karayanni wrote to the City Council. "We look forward to restoring balance to our neighborhood."

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition opposing the idea of a ban.

Vince Vasquez, a policy analyst at the National University System Institute for Policy Research, wrote on Twitter that the moratorium is "overreaching and excessive."

"Bars, breweries & brewpubs create jobs, tax revenue, & support local charities. Encinitas needs measured approach to address concerns," he wrote.

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