Encinitas waits to vote on booze laws: Moratorium vote on liquor licenses delayed

ENCINITAS, Calif. - Dozens of people vying to stop Encinitas from becoming a drunken party town packed City Hall chambers Wednesday night to get booze laws changed.

More than 50 people spoke to council members to weigh in on a proposed moratorium that would temporarily ban new businesses and bars from serving alcohol for 45 days. 

"There's absolutely no need for this moratorium," explained Kirk Allen, an Encinitas resident. "There's nothing in our town that wants this."

"We have also been in a unique position of experiencing some of the problems next to one of the establishments that is new in town," explained Marco Gonzalez, who is with the Coast Law Group. "Prior to [one of those businesses] being open, I didn't experience vomit on my back steps and I didn't experience urination on my palm trees."

Council members, however, decided to hold off on making a decision regarding the moratorium until next Wednesday. Instead, they asked a newly-formed committee to find better solutions to the problem for the next 45 days.

A group called the Encinitas Hospitality Committee, made up of more than 20 community members, was created last week in response to the city's moratorium proposal. 

"We don't disagree that there are issues that are to be resolved," explained Danielle Yi, a spokeswoman for the committee. "That's why we are standing united to work together to bring that positive change together. We are just asking for the opportunity to do so."

The committee is expected to recruit Encinitas residents and members in the hospitality industry to explore what can be done to better curb the chaos and crime from a bustling downtown bar scene. The group is expected to report back to the council on Wednesday.

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