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Goleta Officials Ask for More Liquor License Oversight

All proposed license changes will go before the City Council on its consent agenda

The Goleta City Council voted Tuesday to assume more control over businesses that propose to alter liquor licenses and the types of alcohol they sell.

Officials unanimously approved a resolution directing staff to bring all future proposed liquor license changes before the full council on its meeting consent agenda. That way, officials can either pull the item for discussion or approve without asking questions.

The action specifically applies to cases when the Goleta City Council is tasked with determining whether the issuance of a certain license serves as a public convenience or necessity or if it creates an undue concentration of liquor licenses.

In all cases, however, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has final say over issuing permits.

City staff urged council members to pass an accompanying resolution letting the city manager and staff continue to recommend if certain conditions should be placed on license issuance — a task where the city typically has just 30 days to respond and one the council isn’t currently involved in.

As of now, Goleta’s neighborhood services and public safety department reviews all ABC license applications and makes recommendations to council if the state agency is concerned about the concentration of places selling alcoholic beverages.

Council members agreed to the stipulation, acknowledging the short time frame made staff better suited for coming up with conditions, such as limiting hours or requiring security for certain events where alcohol would be served.

“I think it’s great,” Councilman Michael Bennett said.

The council asked to have this particular discussion in May when officials recommended ABC approve a request from the owner of the Fuel Depot at 180 N. Fairview Ave. who wanted to sell liquor in addition to beer and wine — the first Goleta gas station to do so.

The power to review ABC licenses used to reside with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department until 2011, when Goleta officials delegated that authority to the city manager, said Jaime Valdez, the city’s economic development coordinator.

“It varies,” he said of how often the city sees ABC change applications. “It may be months in between. We could have two in one month.”

Valdez suggested council could also consider adopting a land-use permit requirement in city zoning code for selling alcohol, but Councilman Roger Aceves said he was concerned that option went too far.

The resolution passed 4-0, with Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr absent.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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