Last year, renewed attention to the ruckus one long-standing music venue was causing in Cardiff prompted its owners to cancel the nightly shows to protect the business’s liquor license, then to reverse course when its patrons revolted.

Coast News reports this week that recent recommendations from the Sheriff’s Department over the approval of new liquor licenses spurred the Planning Commission to request a report on where and how many licenses were issued. The results left many commissioners wondering whether Coast Highway is too saturated.

“I think we’re all in agreement that we don’t want to become [Pacific Beach],” Commission Chairman Glenn O’Grady said, according to the Union-Tribune.

Comparisons to PB are frequent in North County – especially along Highway 101 – where residents tolerate diurnal, family-friendly commerce over bars and restaurants.

The state does have a process for limiting how many alcohol licenses can be approved in one area, but the area has to meet certain requirements, including a high level of crime. Calls for police service to bars has decreased over the past few years, Coast News reports.

Oceanside, meanwhile, is trying to attract more alcohol-serving businesses to its downtown, though not the type that cater toward the military crowd, with cheap drinks.

As more businesses look to open in Oceanside, the city wants to allow craft breweries and wineries with tasting rooms to open without the need to have the City Council grant special permits.

City rules currently require that any brewing operation be secondary to a restaurant in commercial areas, or otherwise be located in industrial parts of the city.

Draft ordinances have already gone before the city’s citizen commissions, and City Manager Michelle Lawrence expects that the final ordinance will go before the Council in February.

Rail Project Leads to More Frequent Service

A 40-year transportation project is kicking off this month, with construction on two more miles of double-tracking to the rail corridor between Oceanside and Santa Fe Depot. The ultimate goal is to double the daily number of trains for passengers and freight.

The first projects include a section of rail in Oceanside, just south of the Transit Center, and in Encinitas, over the San Elijo Lagoon. Funds for those sections were allocated earlier this year.

In the run-up to the November election, Matthew Tucker, executive director of North County Transit District, argued that SANDAG’s Measure A, which would have funded transportation projects throughout the region, was a necessary part of the “toolbox” to help build out NCTD’s rail vision.

While the bridge and track improvements that are set to begin now are part of that vision, it’s unclear now how Measure A’s defeat will affect other projects and the timeline of improvements on the rail corridor.

ACLU Sues Escondido Over Detention Center Permit

A proposed detention center for undocumented immigrant children is at the center of a lawsuit in Escondido.

Last year, the city denied a permit to open the detention center, saying it was essentially a jail, and didn’t belong in the city. The ACLU sued, contending it was a group home, and the city’s response was part of a larger anti-immigration push that violated federal laws against housing discrimination, the Union-Tribune reports.

The showdown is a local example of the national struggle to address immigration issues. Children without guardians in the country have to be looked after by the government, and the center was planned during the height of the rush of child immigrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The project was halted when the City Council voted the permit down, over objections that ranged from concerns about crime and disease, to the federal government forcing local jurisdictions to handle a national immigration problem, according to the Union-Tribune. The Council majority said it was an issue of community character, safety, traffic and parking. (Disclosure: Councilwoman Olga Diaz now sits on VOSD’s Board of Directors.)

The ACLU maintains parking was more than adequate for the detention center, and the denial of the permit follows other policies that have been targeted at undocumented immigrants.

The city is looking to have the suit dismissed, and both sides are currently waiting for a court date.

Also in the News

 The developers behind the controversial Watermark project in Del Mar have released a scaled-down version. (The Coast News)

 A large affordable housing project in Oceanside will see its first tenants next year. (Union-Tribune)

 Del Mar is extending a moratorium on vacation rentals. (Union-Tribune)

 Legendary skaters recreated an iconic ramp that existed for three days in Oceanside in 1986. (Rolling Stone)

 State utility regulators will hold public hearings about SDG&E’s plan to bill ratepayers for wildfires caused by the company’s failure to trim vegetation near power lines in 2007. The hearings are scheduled for Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., in the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. (Union-Tribune)

 A federal court will weigh in on whether the California Public Utilities Commission improperly favored Southern California Edison’s shareholders for costs related to closing San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station. (Union-Tribune)

 Outgoing Encinitas Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer reflects on her City Council term. (The Coast News)

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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