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Oceanside looks at regulations on restaurant sales of beer and wine

OCEANSIDE — A draft of new beer and wine regulations was presented as an informational item to the Planning Commission on Nov. 17. The same ordinance amendments will be heard by the City Council in early 2015.

The most significant changes are a clear ban of beer and wine sales at drive-through windows, and the allowance of curbside sales, but not consumption within a car.

Currently there are three different sets of regulations for restaurant alcohol sales for the city’s downtown, coastal and inland areas.

New laws would provide uniform regulations throughout the city. They would also clearly define what is not allowed, and minimize interpretation.

“Curbside is not a definition in the (present) zoning ordinance,” Scott Knightingale, city associate planner, said. “We want to supply that in the zoning ordinance.”

The Planning Department got direction from the council in February to draft regulation revisions. Knightingale said a council member had concerns about fast food restaurants selling beer and wine, and the potential increase in sales and consumption that would cause.

Department staff held stakeholder meetings with North County Prevention Coalition (NCPC), Oceanside Police, MainStreet Oceanside, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, and the San Diego Restaurant Association to determine best practices.

Planning commissioners spoke in favor of the changes at the November meeting.

“I’m glad stakeholders listed here were involved,” Commissioner Tom Rosales said. “It makes sense, particularly the drive-up service.”

Erica Leary, NCPC program manager, said she would like to see new regulations go further, and include requirements for conditional use permits.

“McDonalds and Jack in the Box could get an ABC license,” Leary said. “It is my understanding that council wanted to prevent that from happening.”

Next steps will be up to the City Council. New laws may be adopted, or direction given for further evaluation.

Oceanside last updated its restaurant alcohol sales regulations in the 1980s and 1990s.


This story has been corrected since its original posting.

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