City Staff Recommends Ten-Month Extension on Downtown Bar Moratorium

Beer Bar Stock

beer-bar

Following the September 20, 2015, stabbing death of Peter Gonzales at the KetMoRee restaurant and night establishment, and the September 29 council-approved 45-day moratorium on new, expanded or altered bars, nightclubs and restaurants serving distilled spirits, or restaurants exceeding 2,500 square feet and serving beer and wine, city staff is recommending the city council vote to extend that moratorium for ten months and fifteen days.

The ordinance would require at least four votes of the city council to be approved.

Staff notes, “The moratorium was intended to ‘press pause’ on establishment or expansion of bars, nightclubs, restaurants serving distilled spirits, or restaurants exceeding 2,500 square feet to afford the opportunity for additional analysis and community comment.” The extension would continue for an additional ten months and fifteen days, or through September 28, 2016, unless subsequently extended by the city council.

However, two weeks ago, the city council approved an exemption to the moratorium for Blondies, under a host of specified conditions.

The new ordinance would establish two processes for exemptions. The first would be a hardship exemption, such as was granted on October 13 for Blondies by a 3-2 vote. The second would be an exemption to minor alterations to allow for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) upgrades or minor building repairs.

Staff writes that they anticipate that “the Director of Community Development and Sustainability will grant such an exemption for the Tasty Kitchen permits, because of the nature of the work and the existing restrictions on the Type 41 beer and wine license (including closing hours no later than 10:00 p.m., consistent with a typical restaurant operation).”

With the expected expiration date of September 28, 2016, the council could extend the moratorium for up one additional year, for an overall total of two years. But the staff report indicated that they will return to council well in advance of the September 2016 expiration “with recommendations for direction on potential ordinance adoption.”

To date, city efforts have taken two tracks. One involves identifying and evaluating potential ordinance changes relating to restaurants and alcohol, as well as taking immediate steps to address problems downtown and engage the community, business owners and other agencies.

Since September 29, 2015, the following steps have been taken:

  • Community Development staff and the City Attorney have reached out to other communities to identify “best practices” for zoning and permitting of nightclubs and entertainment uses.
  • The Police Department has reached out to the bar/restaurant community to facilitate a conversation on how downtown restaurants and bars can partner with the City to address security and nightclub related nuisance issues. Two meetings have already occurred with downtown bar owners and managers. A third meeting is scheduled for early November.
  • The Davis Police Department has been contacted by the bar/restaurant community to provide supplemental police services, at their expense, for the areas near 2nd and G St and 3rd and G St. The Police Department is in the process of completing the necessary steps to provide those supplementary police services.
  • The Police Department is partnering with ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) in providing increased patrols in the downtown area to curtail underage and excessive drinking, the use of false identification to purchase alcohol, and “disorderly house” issues that lead to increased calls for police service.
  • The Police Department is partnering with ABC on the TRACE (Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies) Program, which involves conducting an investigation to determine where a minor received alcohol, when there is an emergency involving that minor.
  • The Police Department has been awarded an ABC mini-grant to conduct alcohol/fake identification stings and ABC involvement in conducting IMPACT (Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Tendencies) inspections, which are specifically designed to reduce alcohol-related crime in and around licensed premises.
  • The Police Department has hosted an open community forum regarding the downtown situation, sponsored by the Davis Vanguard and Civenergy, on October 14, 2015. The Police Department is in the planning stage for hosting another open forum and possibly seeking online public comments regarding public safety in the downtown.
  • Staff met with leadership from the Davis Chamber of Commerce and Davis Downtown regarding the moratorium and related issues.
  • The Police Department is analyzing police incident data regarding the nature and extent of the downtown Davis restaurant/bar/nightclub scene.
  • Community Development staff is identifying and summarizing zoning standards for restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment, and similar uses within the Core Commercial, Mixed-Use, and Planned Development zoning districts that allow such uses.
  • The Planning Commission, which would review any changes to the zoning ordinance, as well as any exemption applications under the CUP (Conditional Use Permit) process, was given an informational update in their packet for the October 28 meeting.

In addition to outreach efforts, staff will come back to the city council in January with changes to the zoning ordinance, similar to the interim measures imposed on Blondies as a condition of their exemption:

  • Conditional Use Permit for new bars, nightclubs, and restaurants serving distilled spirits;
  • Conditions of operation for all existing bars, nightclubs and restaurants serving distilled spirits;
  • Certification for security, bartenders and wait staff;
  • Requiring food service during hours that alcohol is served;
  • Requiring tables and chairs to accommodate all patrons on the premises;
  • Requiring supplemental police or security services during times of high activity (such as Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights);
  • Restrictions on hours of alcohol sales; and
  • Special restrictions on hours or alcohol sales for special events, such as Picnic Day.

Here is the full list of additions of approval that the city council voted 3-2 to impose with amendments: https://www.davisvanguard.org/2015/10/conditions-of-approval-for-blondies/.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

27 Comments

  1. Davis Progressive

    instead of this 10 month delay, why not implement the provisions that the council implemented on blondies and then we can always modify them down the line.

  2. Frankly

    I am changing all my company business cards and website to remove “Davis” from the list and replace it with “Sacramento Region” to disassociate with what must be the most business-hostile city on the West Coast.

      1. Frankly

        Yeah, right.  Order is going in today.

        I made the decision last week during a meeting with a business banker from Sacramento that asked me when I was opening up an office in Sacramento.  I said “Davis is part of the Sacramento region so I don’t see the need”.  He told me that having a Davis address was a negative perception in the Sacramento business community… especially for those involved in economic development.  He said without UCD Sacramento economic development would do everything it could to ignore and isolate Davis for their business-hostile track record.

        I’m not considering moving the office, yet, for personal and business reasons, but I am eliminating the prominence of Davis being a market we serve because of this negative business perception within the Sacramento region.

        1. Anon

          Feel free to do so, it is certainly your prerogative.  But instead of railing against a simple moratorium on the proliferation of any more nightclubs for the moment until the city can figure out what it wants to do about the violence these nightclubs are encouraging, why not take a more constructive approach?  Support well planned innovation parks and other economic development.  And by the way, local businesses adjacent to these nightclubs are NEGATIVELY effected by the nightclubs – can you blame them?  I do not see this moratorium as anti-economic development as you seem to.  I think it is just the opposite.  It is an attempt to create a safer atmosphere downtown, but is not impinging on economic development.  To say or believe that is really a stretch IMO.

          I don’t doubt that Davis is seen as hostile to business, but this moratorium is hardly the reason.  Davis has been hostile to business for years.  Look at the Borders wars, the attempt years ago to keep out large grocery chain stores, the fight against big box retail/Target, to name a few instances.  At one City Council meeting about 5 years ago, a startup was honored with an award.  At the end of the meeting, outside the Chambers, one of the owners of the startup said to me even tho he was happy to be given the award, the truth was the problems he had to go through to set up his business in Davis were ridiculously difficult – that Davis was not business friendly at all.  I have no doubt the person from Sacramento you talked to was responding to that long-standing problem in Davis as it has played out over the years.  Let’s work together to make that change.

        2. Davis Progressive

          the problem is it’s all window-dressing.  if city staff is coming back in january with recommendations (for existing bars not affected by this anyway), the moratorium affects absolutely nothing because blondies has been allowed in , and no one else is going to apply between now and january.  so why do it?

        3. Frankly

          The current card has “Pasadena | Irvine | San Diego | Davis” (our focus has historically been in the SoCal market where there is much more small business churn).  The new cards will be either SoCal format or NorCal format:

          SoCal: Pasadena | Irvine | San Diego | Northern CA

          NorCal: Sacramento Area | Bay Area | Southern CA

          “Daivs” will no longer be a location we feature”

          I will be happy to provide you “proof” when they arrive.

        4. Mark West

          hpierce:  “Uh, the “Borders war” was basically spawned by Core Area business!”

          Demonstrating one of the unique aspects of Davis’ anti-business climate, where the prevention of competition for existing downtown businesses, especially those owned by long-time residents, has historically been a prime motive. In Davis, even business interests are at times part of the anti-business environment.

        5. Anon

          hpierce:  “Uh, the “Borders war” was basically spawned by Core Area business!”

          Mark West: “Demonstrating one of the unique aspects of Davis’ anti-business climate, where the prevention of competition for existing downtown businesses, especially those owned by long-time residents, has historically been a prime motive. In Davis, even business interests are at times part of the anti-business environment.”

          Spot on Mark!

        6. Alan Miller

          Demonstrating one of the unique aspects of Davis’ anti-business climate, where the prevention of competition for existing downtown businesses, especially those owned by long-time residents, has historically been a prime motive. In Davis, even business interests are at times part of the anti-business environment.

          That’s hardly unique; in fact, it’s common.

        7. Don Shor

          Thanks for sharing this. Now just let us know which bank he works for, so Davis businesses can respond in kind by boycotting that bank. Fair’s fair, right?
          He sounds highly unprofessional.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      I am changing all my company business cards and website to remove “Davis” from the list and replace it with “Sacramento Region” to disassociate with what must be the most business-hostile city on the West Coast.”

      That sounds to me like a practical, personally satisfying way to deal with the disdain that you feel for what many of us consider a reasonable, balanced approach to business/citizen/city interactions.

      1. Miwok

        many of us consider a reasonable, balanced approach to business/citizen/city interactions.

        Except it is not reasonable. One person dies in a restaurant, and EVERY OTHER business suffers? If there are so many problems, and there are so many applications to establish more of these Restaurant/bars, why hasn’t the City been doing all the things listed above?

        I won’t list it again, but if the CM does not have all this going on now for ANY business, then why? Is Davis flying by the seat of their pants until someone dies? Then, Start doing their jobs?

        “The moratorium was intended to ‘press pause’ on establishment or expansion of bars, nightclubs, restaurants serving distilled spirits, or restaurants exceeding 2,500 square feet to afford the opportunity for additional analysis and community comment.”

        Maybe a number for businesses applying for permits could be stated, as I am sure there are a lot. But it sounds like this is a grandstand play by a city the size of Chicago, not Davis. It only tells me Davis has lost control of many things, and punishing potential new businesses and killing tax revenue is shooting themselves in the foot while they figure out how to do their job? How long has this City been in business? they are just starting NOW?

        And, of, course, they include “exceptions” right away. So, selective enforcement?

        1. Tia Will

          EVERY OTHER business suffers? If there are so many problems, and there are so many applications to establish more of these Restaurant/bars, why hasn’t the City been doing all the things listed above?”

          “Every other business is not suffering . No business that does not rely on this business model is suffering at all. As for the question of why now ?  It often takes a dramatic and or tragic event to serve as a catalyst to drive the impetus for action. This is nothing new. And as I have pointed out previously, the deleterious effects of binge drinking are not new. I have been seeing them in my office for years, just in a setting that no hears about  until something like this even makes it public.

        2. Miwok

          Thank you, Tia, why would the City declare a “Mooratorium” on bars and restaurants, if there is only one application? Two? 50?

          This is nothing new. And as I have pointed out previously, the deleterious effects of binge drinking are not new. I have been seeing them in my office for years, just in a setting that no hears about  until something like this even makes it public.

          I am not talking about binge drinking, unless the owners of these places are sitting with their customers. I am talking about the City Operations and Law Enforcement who are not doing all the things listed in the article.For Example:

          The Police Department is analyzing police incident data regarding the nature and extent of the downtown Davis restaurant/bar/nightclub scene.

          They haven’t been doing this? NOW they start, but my impression is they have no data to analyze. And it takes a GRANT from ABC to “conduct alcohol/fake identification stings” – really? They should have a detail to do that every week or month. They have not earmarked money for this already? They are in a college town, after all.

          The article gives me the impression these things are just now being started, after being a city since 1917? The staff must be experts in everything from drugs, to drinking, and bicycle planning, among all the other things they are tasked with. Amazing.

  3. Anon

    The Police Department is analyzing police incident data regarding the nature and extent of the downtown Davis restaurant/bar/nightclub scene.”

    This is probably the most important thing being done, IMO.

    I am in favor of this moratorium, so that the city can really determine the best course of action going forward.  All this moratorium does is halt the proliferation of any more nightclubs, until a more thorough study can be had.  Kudos to the city staff and the City Council for hitting the “pause button” thus far.  I hope the City Council takes courage in their hands and votes for this moratorium.  Then I also want the public to be informed every step of the way on each of the outlined points. In other words, I would like to know what the police conclude from looking at the incident data/video footage, what are best practices in other towns with similar problems, how do adjacent businesses and neighbors feel about the nightlife downtown and its impact on them, how safe do students feel at these nightclubs, etc.

        1. Miwok

          Alan Miller, I got the impression from the article, that no one had even thought of collecting data. They want to start comparing with other cities? Davis thinks of themselves as on a par with SF, Sacramento, LA, etc. The solutions are often way too extravagant for the community, and poorly communicated to the people it is intended to serve, let alone the inhabitants.

          The real problem comes when the ignorance to these “rules” is exposed by people who work here daily, but only occasionally dine or party in town. They don’t come for a hassle and a bunch of rules. Business friendly? How about Customer Friendly?
          (not really a question for you, sir)

  4. Alan Miller

    why not implement the provisions that the council implemented on blondies and then we can always modify them down the line.

    Very simple:  those provisions were made in haste, and we now need to think this over; as well, some of the provisions were made by Blondie’s, for Blondie’s after deliberations in the back room between the City and Blondie’s while Council took another item.

    My recommendation:  define what a nightclub is so that it takes in the definition of the 4-5 offending businesses downtown, and write an ordinance so that no nightclubs allowed ever again in Davis.  Sit-down bars, live music, late night restaurants, Kava, all not without problems but also not a hive of buzzing alcohol-fueled bees and the associated problems.  Those who believe that business atmosphere is irrelevant and types of business don’t change who we attract to Davis and any business is a positive are delirious.

    I also recommend shutting down all current nightclubs.  Not the businesses, the nightclubs.  Do not change the hours, shut down the problem businesses.  Sit-down bars are not without their problems, but I would draw the line between bars and nightclubs.  The real changes from a night scene to a roving packs of drunks down Alcohol Alley occurred when the nighclubs went in.

    how do adjacent businesses and neighbors feel about the nightlife downtown

    We know how the neighbors feel.  Last night I was talking with a friend who is a business owner a block from Alcohol Alley.  I was surprised by her perspective which was:  “Shut down the nightclubs”.  She said downtown has taken a turn for the worst since the nightclubs came in, and she asked “what do people expect you would attract when you open up a businesses with ghetto booty-shakin’ music selling bad alcoholic drinks?”  She said other business owners she knows have to clean up after the mess on weekends.

    I don’t see how businesses un-friendly businesses are good for Davis business.  From *some people’s* point of view, any money coming in spades in good for the economy, so everyone, neighbors, businesses, just suck it up, clean up the mess the nightclubs make for you, and celebrate the economy of Davis.

    Davis has a choice to make downtown what Davis wants it to be. Nighclubs, everyone? Or do we want something better?

     

     

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for