ENCINITAS — A citizens group has appealed the Encinitas Planning Commission’s approval of a large proposed downtown tasting room to the City Council.
The divided commission approved Modern Times’ application for a 150-seat tasting room in July by a 3-2 vote amid concerns from residents and the Sheriff’s Department that the tasting room would exacerbate downtown’s current issues with alcohol-serving establishments, specifically in that quadrant of downtown.
Residents again urged the commission in August to reconsider when it voted to memorialize the commission’s findings to override staff’s recommendations.
Shirley Finch, a resident representing the Encinitas Citizens Committee, a citizens group that has been outspoken on the downtown alcohol issue, filed an appeal Aug. 17.
“ECC’s perspective is that the staff brought to the Planning Commission a denial of the project due to the undue concentration of alcohol serving facilities downtown,” Finch wrote. “The planning commission majority ignored the proposed findings prepared by staff, ignored the public safety issues raised by staff and the sheriff captain (zero questions were asked of him) and turned the hearing into an evaluation of the quality of the business being proposed, based solely on the testimony of the applicant, and decided the business was good and should be granted a major use permit.”
The appeal is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 11.
Modern Times’ 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.