Residents battle expansion of Pacific Beach bar

710 Beach Club wants to build sidewalk cafe

SAN DIEGO - A popular bar and nightclub in Pacific Beach wants to expand, but some worried residents are trying to stop it.

The owner of 710 Beach Bar and Grill on Garnett Avenue wants to build a sidewalk cafe that measures about 37 1/2 feet by 5 feet.

"I bought the restaurant next door about four years ago, adjacent to my bar. Now, I'm just wanting the opportunity to take my food sales to another level," said owner Scott Slaga.

However, some who live and work nearby say enough is enough. With the active bar scene, there are too many problems already and the last thing they need is an expansion, according to PB resident Scott Chipman.

"This is part of a huge problem in Pacific Beach. We have over 600 DUIs a year, we have one-third of all the public urinations in the city with only 5 percent of the population," Chipman said. "This is a trend that is dragging our community down."

Slaga disagrees, and said, "There's kind of a prohibitionist attitude in PB right now and there are some possible reasons for that, but I run a good operation for 24 years."

Slaga said he has not had a violation for at least 18 years.

On Thursday, the San Diego Planning Commission took up the issue during its meeting. The commissioners listened to testimony on both sides for a couple hours, but decided to vote on it in a couple weeks when all commissioners will be present.

"The hospitality industry is the second highest tax generator in the city next to car sales. The more the city can encourage this, the better it will be for both the people in the city and for individual businesses," said Michael Pasulka, chairman of the San Diego Food and Beverage Association.

But some like Chipman say the money isn't worth it.

"There's no way the tax revenue from this business is going to compensate for the loss of tax revenues by the degrading of the property values of the neighbors ... Tourists do not want to come to a community where they're seeing drunkenness, fights, public urination. They'll stay away from that kind of community," Chipman said.

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