ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Planning Commission unanimously backed a proposed tasting room in downtown Leucadia over concerns from several neighbors that there were too many alcohol-serving establishments in the area.
The commission on Sept. 7 approved the proposal from Saint Archer to open a tasting room in the former Fern Boutique, sandwiched between Surfy Surfy and Paddle Planet on North Coast Highway 101.
Commissioners had some questions and concerns about a lack of parking but came to a consensus that as part of the approval, the developer would try to create two parking spots in the rear of the building if it were feasible.
Representatives of Saint Archer, a San Diego brewery that was acquired in 2015 by beer giant MillerCoors, told the commission they believed the tasting room would fit the character of the block, which is one of the more vibrant parts of Leucadia.
The owners of Surfy Surfy and Coffee Coffee both voiced support for the project.
“I am really looking forward to having a good neighbor to share our wall with,” JP St. Pierre, the co-owner of Surfy Surfy, said about the tasting room.
But several neighbors were less than enthused with the project and urged the commission to deny it, citing a perceived over-concentration of such establishments.
“We have too many establishments, we don’t need another one like that in that one block area,” said John Patrick “Pat” Conlon, who lives on Jasper Street near the project.
Commissioners, however, said the concentration of alcohol-serving establishments was relatively minor compared to downtown Encinitas, where Sheriff’s officials actually recommended denying a much larger tasting room proposal. The Sheriff’s Department gave Saint Archer’s proposal its blessing.
“I don’t feel this one is the tipping point,” Commissioner Glenn O’Grady said. “But I am conscious of that.”