Encinitas cracks down on alcohol problems downtown

The heart of Encinitas Village.

By Kirk Sanderson

The Encinitas City Council is cracking down on rowdy bar hoppers downtown.

The council on June 28 approved the introduction of a “deemed approved” ordinance, three years after rejecting a similar proposal. A “deemed approved” ordinance gives cities more clout in enforcing existing nuisance laws, including the revocation of business licenses.

The ordinance is aimed at all establishments that serve alcohol and are open past 10 p.m., which includes 40 of the city’s 134 restaurants and bars.

In her latest newsletter, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear notes that the “vast majority” of downtown restaurants “pose no problems, so for them no new permitting is required based on this ordinance. But if nuisance activity repeatedly occurs in or near the premises, such as excessive noise, harassment of passerby, public urination, assaults, thefts, public drunkenness, lewd conduct, traffic violations, graffiti, or illegal drug use, then the city can revoke the ‘deemed approved’ status of the business and require a new permit with stricter limits.

“The ordinance gives the city the tools necessary to be more effective at cracking down on establishments that are creating the environment for these problems.

“Tremendously controversial about four years ago, the ordinance didn’t pass when it was first proposed. The city then made a series of efforts with better code enforcement and Sheriff’s presence downtown. However, the city has lacked sufficient regulatory authority to deal with emerging issues before they became a clear law enforcement problem. This new ordinance should remedy that. We unanimously voted to approve it, with no public speakers expressing opposition.”


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