Residents at Wednesday night’s Encinitas City Council meeting asked council members to place a temporary moratorium on new alcohol-serving restaurants and bars in downtown Encinitas.
The Encinitas Citizens Committee, a group that claims to represent 200 residents and 60 businesses, to hold off on new bars from opening in downtown Encinitas.
Representing the Encinitas Citizens Committee, Laurie Baum said the nightlife in Encinitas has gotten wilder in recent years. She insisted she no longer feels safe walking through downtown Encinitas at night.
“Now there are people running stop signs, driving crazily looking for parking spaces, and as it gets later in the evening, drag racing, fighting, screaming, exposing themselves and urinating,” she said.
Baum argued the number of bars in Encinitas has reached “a saturation point.” In addition to a moratorium on establishments that serve alcohol, she also called for rules that would set a midnight closing time for new restaurants in downtown Encinitas.
Brother Bhumananda from the believes new bars have the potential to interfere with meditation practices. He said there’s currently a bar near the Self-Realization Fellowship’s new chapel. But noted “we can live with that.” Bhumananda was, however, wary of new bars in the area.
“But now a microbrewery that’s twice the size of the present bar is interested in opening up across the street,” Bhumananda said.
Because it was not on the council’s agenda, council members did not vote on the moratorium. It was not indicated when or if the issue will appear on future agendas.
Haven Dunn from said he’s against any new restrictions. He read a letter signed by other bars and restaurants in Encinitas.
“We believe additional curfews, moratoriums or new ordinances restricting our operations to be unnecessary and will only jeopardize the continuing feasibility of our businesses,” Dunn said.
Dunn said representatives from various restaurants and bars in Encinitas would like to create a new subcommittee as a part of the to “do a better job of providing for the community and safety.”
After residents debated the moratorium, City Council voted on whether to give the green light to a transit study.
With Mayor Jerome Stocks opposed, the council voted 4-1 not to commission a $100,000 study that would have examined the effectiveness and financial feasibility of a shuttle service along El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard. The study would have been funded by a grant from the state; however, Councilman Mark Muir questioned whether the grant could be rescinded due to state budget gaps. Because it’s yet to be determined which areas in Encinitas will be affected by the , Councilwoman Teresa Barth called the study “premature.”