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