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City mulls alcohol ordinance, potential downtown entertainment district

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 28th, 2013

WATSONVILLE City leaders looked at Watsonville's alcohol ordinance during a study session Tuesday, discussing what, if any, changes needed to be made to it.

The meeting was a joint session of the Watsonville City Council and Planning Commission, with members from both sides debating whether changes should be made to the ordinance or not.

Since the current alcohol ordinance was adopted in August 2002, the number of establishments with alcohol licenses in the city dropped to 106, down from 113, according to Keith Boyle, principal planner.

Alcohol licenses are automatically denied by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control if the business is located in areas of high crime or over-concentration. ABC defines a high crime area as having a 20 percent higher than average number of police reports, according to Interim Police Chief Terry Medina.

Watsonville's alcohol ordinance is "one of the strictest in the area," Boyle said, because alcohol establishments must meet separation requirements between schools, other alcohol businesses and parks.

Because of the strict nature of the ordinance, Lazaro Olivares, owner of Ranch Milk Market on Green Valley Road, can't get an alcohol license because his business is considered to be in a "high crime area."

Olivares said the alcohol ordinance makes it difficult for "mom and pop" stores, and favors corporate chains.

For the complete article see the 08-29-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-29-2013 paper.

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