In February of this year, the Ocean Beach Planning Board (OBPB) voted to recommend the approval of the Dirty Birds Bar & Grill alcohol license despite the over saturation of licenses in the area and the recommended denial of the license by the San Diego Police Department.
The new location, at 1929 Cable St., lies in a census tract that is supposed to have four on-sale establishments. It has 30.
Dirty Birds applied for a type 47-alcohol license in April 2018. A protest against the license was filed in May 2018. The company continued with construction stating at the OBPB meeting that they were completely blindsided by SDPD’s denial of the license and the protest. Adding that the business would not succeed if it did not serve alcohol.
After Dirty Birds presented their case, the discussion shifted from “should we approve it” to how could it work? A compromise was reached, the board recommended the license with the condition that Dirty Birds stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m., daily.
During the meeting, attorney Stephen Cummings identified himself as the one who filed a protest with the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC):
“I too am concerned significantly regarding the over saturation of liquor licenses here in OB,” said Cummings, a 40-year resident of OB. “I live up the hill on Newport and I have seen the degradation of the community by too much alcohol. I have significant concerns – there are numerous hit and runs, and one of the reasons is we have inebriated people leaving the bars, driving and crashing into cars, making our community unsafe-that is a significant concern for me.
“[Dirty Birds] has a good restaurant, but the problem is that where do we stop? We’re oversaturated. It’s unfortunate that you put in so much time and energy, but I can tell you that I am the guy who filed the protest with the ABC, and the ABC received that protest and accepted that protest on June 28, 2018, so you should have at least been aware of the community concerns that were expressed in the protest, which are: We’ve got too many bars, we’ve got too many drunks and we’ve got too many people driving around drunk that are endangering the people in our community. Unfortunately I feel bad for you that you invested all that time and money but I am not inclined to give up my protest,” Cummings said.
On March 11, The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control denied Dirty Birds’ request for the alcohol license (abc.ca.gov/datport/lqs.html?rpttype=12&license=593191).
Along the same census track, directly next to the Dirty Birds location on Cable Street, is Mr. Motto Pizza House. It’s also currently under construction, having filed for a type 41 beer-and-wine license on Feb. 23. A protest against the license was filed on March 15 (abc.ca.gov/datport/lqs.html?rpttype=12&license=603344).
Across town, at 4934 Voltaire St., the Voltaire Beach House applied for a type 47 alcohol license with the ABC in October 2018. Protests were filed on November and December 2018 against the expansion of the restaurant’s property for their proposed OB Lanes bowling alley, as well as the alcohol license (abc.ca.gov/datport/lqs.html?rpttype=12&license=600125).
Three residents filed protests against the approval of a license, citing quality of life issue, noise, loss of parking, public urination and over saturation of alcohol licenses in the area.
According to the ABC, if a license is denied, the applicant can request a hearing; likewise, if approved, a protest hearing can be requested. Protested applications can take up to 95 days or longer. However, if ABC has recommended approval of the license, the applicant may petition for an Interim Retail Permit. This allows the business to operate pending the protest hearing and any appeal (abc.ca.gov/index.html).