Residents to appeal approval of Modern Times tasting room


A group of residents is appealing the Encinitas planning commission’s decision to approve a beer-tasting room downtown in July.

The Encinitas Citizens Committee (ECC) will go before the city council, tentatively set on Oct. 11, in hopes to overturn the commission’s approval of the opening of the 150-seat Modern Times Beer tasting room, which is set to open at 470 South Coast Highway 101.

The tasting room was heavily debated at the July 20 planning commission meeting, with many Encinitas residents and business owners stating alcohol establishments need to be halted downtown. The commission appeared split during its deliberations but ultimately voted 3-2 to approve the business.

Commissioner Kevin Doyle was the deciding vote in the July decision, agreeing with fellow Commissioners Greg Drakos and Al Apuzzo that the city should not discourage new businesses from coming in because of “bad actors” within the downtown community, referring to complaints from residents about nearby alcohol-serving establishments.

“Evolution will root out the bad businesses over time,” Drakos said at that meeting. “We should take advantage of these great businesses that want to be in our town.”

Shirley Finch filed the appeal on behalf of ECC on Aug. 31, according to a city document.

In the appeal, Finch said Modern Times is “not consistent with Encinitas Municipal Code.”

She also added city staff recommended denial of the project due to “the undue concentration of alcohol-serving facilities downtown” and the Sheriff’s Department’s identification of downtown as a “high crime area.” Finch also said law enforcement resources were not sufficient enough to deal with an additional 150 drinkers.

Concerns about parking were also raised in the letter.

“The planning commission majority ignored the proposed findings prepared by staff and ignored the public safety issues raised by staff and decided the business was ‘good’ and should be granted a major use permit,” Finch said.

More than 24 residents helped pay for the $250 filing fee for the appeal, she noted at the bottom of the city document.