Planning Commission gives Modern Times final OK

ENCINITAS — Modern Times’ proposal for a 3,000-square-foot tasting room in downtown received the unanimous blessing of the Encinitas Planning Commission, despite calls from a number of residents to block the proposal.

The Planning Commission’s 5-0 vote was essentially procedural, as the vote codified the commission’s findings to override staff’s recommendation to deny the proposal.

But that didn’t stop dozens of people packing the commission’s chambers and urging the commission to reconsider the project approval.

“I think a lot of us are dumbfounded that you approved this in the first place,” said Bobby Virk, who owns the 7-Eleven on Coast Highway 101 and D Street. “We all thought this was a no-brainer considering the problems on D Street.”

Virk said that he receives calls during the late night and early morning hours from his employees about rowdy bar goers who urinate and defecate around the business and accost employees.

“How could you do this?” Virk asked. “Who here thinks this is a conscionable decision?”

Virk and others questioned the lack of parking for the business, which would have six parking spaces. Others vowed that they would appeal the commission’s decision.

The proposal calls for a 150-seat tasting room facility in a former retail building near the corner of D Street and Coast Highway 101, including 1,980 square feet of bar service area, 106 square feet of retail and the remaining square footage for a bar area, cold storage, restrooms and an office.

The Planning Commission voted in late July to approve the Point Loma brewery’s application, despite the city’s planning staff recommending the group deny the project. The 3-2 vote occurred after opponents and supporters of the project issued impassioned pleas to the commission for more than 90 minutes.

Commissioners Bruce Ehlers and Glenn O’Grady, who voted against the project in July, said their Aug. 17 vote wasn’t an endorsement of the project, but that staff’s statement of findings was accurate.

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