H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Nov 1, 2013 8:05 PM by Lindsay MacLeod, KSBY News

San Diego County uses San Luis Obispo as a model for city land-use plans

People in San Diego are looking to San Luis Obispo for help reducing problems with businesses that serve alcohol late at night.

San Luis Obispo Councilmember John Ashbaugh and Derek Johnson, the Director of Community Development for San Luis Obispo, spoke at the Alcohol Policy Panel Friday in Escondido.

Ashbaugh told dozens of community leaders that state resources aren't enough when it comes to controlling alcohol outlets. He says the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control doesn't have enough people on its staff to oversee everything, so it's up to cities to conduct alcohol enforcement as well.

Ashbaugh says there were too many accidents involving alcohol in downtown San Luis Obispo, so the City created a new land-use definition for restaurants that serve alcohol after 11 p.m. The code sets standards to monitor problems and criminal behavior at restaurants that "morph" into bars.

"Morphing outlets tend to over-serve alcohol, generating a wide array of health, safety, and community problems," said Johnson. He says those problems include everything form noise and vandalism to fights and impaired driving.

Research shows 50% of drunk drivers get behind the wheel after they go to bars or restaurants that serve alcohol. In 2012, there were 270 fatal car crashes in San Diego County. Now, the Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego is urging the county to start using a land-use policy similar to San Luis Obispo's policy.

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