Oceanside opens its arms to craft breweries

OCEANSIDE — City Council introduced an ordinance to allow stand-alone craft breweries and wineries along Coast Highway on Wednesday. Most cities restrict beer and wine producing facilities to industrial zoned areas, or limit commercial zone allowance to those with restaurants.

Oceanside is setting new ground rules after taking 13 months to mull over ordinance restrictions and conducting extensive community outreach. The result of Wednesday’s meeting is a set of rules that pleased most stakeholders.

All craft breweries and wineries will require an ABC license and must follow basic city rules of closing by 10 p.m., ensuring tasting occupies 20 to 40 percent of operations to create ambiance and street presence, not having reduced happy hour prices on alcohol, and providing one parking space for each 125 feet of seating.

The parking requirement exceeds that of other businesses, and helps quell residents’ complaints about neighborhood parking problems created by current breweries with restaurants, which meet minimum, but insufficient parking standards.

During Wednesday discussion, the City Council added a requirement for small craft breweries and wineries to have an administrative conditional use permit. This ensures public notification of business plans, and an opportunity to appeal approval. Speakers were pleased the additional requirements were added.

Breweries larger than 15,000 square feet, which produce 750 to 15,000 barrels of beer, need a formal conditional use permit. As do wineries of 15,000 square feet that produce 900 to 10,000 cases a year.

Russ Cunningham, city principal planner, said craft breweries and wineries create a sense of place, and give visitors “one more reason to stay a little bit longer.” Speakers supported the economic boon craft breweries and wineries could bring the city.

Two brewers said they plan to open stand-alone breweries in downtown Oceanside, and are encouraged by the expedient review process.

There were community concerns about a potential overrun of breweries and wineries, and recollections of past decades when Oceanside’s downtown was riddled with bars and strip clubs.

Some residents asked the city to put a limit on the number allowed.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez shared the worry.

“I’m very concerned about going backwards,” Sanchez said. “We’ve done so much to make it a family friendly place.”

Other council members said business competition would establish a healthy limit on facilities.

Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy said there are few, to no calls for service at the existing coastal breweries with restaurants.

If the coastal study area for craft breweries and wineries is successful, the city will consider allowing them in other commercial areas. The city has received more than eight inquiries to open facilities in inland commercial areas.

1 Comment
  1. bill 2 months ago

    those large parking lots guarantee plenty of drunk drivers! we need more DUI brewpubs , wineries and distilleries to generate sales taxes to fund the defined benefit municipal pensions of bulldozer jim wood and mean-spirited jerry kern and SPOUSAL SWAT-STANDOFF chief mccoy and thousands of oceanside municipal retirees! DUI brewpubs are great business! INVEST YOUR BICYCLISTS AND PEDESTRIANS!

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