NCPC-Logo-sNCPC Supportive of Increased Local Control, Oversight of Alcohol Licenses

VISTA (Sept. 23, 2014) — Does Vista need more alcohol sales? When a neighborhood already contains the maximum number of alcohol licenses recommended by the California Department of Alcoholic Alcohol Beverage Control or is in a high crime area, the North Coastal Prevention Coalition (NCPC) thinks not, especially when it could contribute to easier youth access to alcohol.

According to the CA Business and Professions Code, local communities can exercise local control of alcohol issues to benefit the community. And Vista is doing just that by establishing standard operating conditions and requiring a local permit for all new applicants wanting to sell alcohol, an action recently approved at the August 26 City Council meeting.

Local control also means some requests may be denied. There is substantial research evidence that limiting on- and off-premises alcoholic beverage outlet density can be an effective means of reducing the harms associated with excessive alcohol consumption including underage drinking and vehicle crashes. In support of this research and Vista’s ‘Healthy Vista Element’ in the city’s General Plan, city staff have recommended denying alcohol permits when proposed business locations are in high crime or already over-concentrated areas.

This was the basis for the Council’s recent denial for a Special Use Permit for beer and wine sales at a proposed Dollar General store at 1234 N. Santa Fe, and should be the basis for upholding a denial for a Special Use Permit for the 7-Eleven located at 902 S. Santa Fe.

“We urge the City Council to carefully consider the current research, potential impacts on the entire community, and the vision and goals of Vista’s General Plan when making their decision.” – Ray Pearson, President, North Coastal Prevention Coalition

The 7-Eleven recently filed another appeal to the City Council to sell beer and wine after being denied a permit by the Vista Planning Commission twice and the City Council earlier this year. The appeal hearing is slated for the September 23 Vista City Council meeting.

The Vista city staff report noted that data from the U.S. Department of Justice shows a “direct correlation between facilities that sell alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption and increase in crime.” In fact, the crime index for that site was 98.6 percent in January and today hovers around 115 percent without alcohol sales, according to the city report. City staff concluded “alcohol sales would not be compatible and would not be in harmony with residential uses located in the surrounding area.”

NCPC President Ray Pearson agreed with Vista’s Planning Commission and City Council when they denied the permit. He believes Vista will continue to look out for all its citizens when issuing alcohol permits, especially when considering the potential impact on community youth. Alcohol remains the most abused drug by young people, and is associated with the leading causes of death for teens and young adults. A recent study in California concluded that having a greater number of alcohol outlets increases youth access to alcohol.

“We care because Vista already has nearly 70 stores licensed to sell alcohol, the highest ratio per population of all neighboring cities,” Pearson said. “Alcohol-related problems are preventable by reducing youth access to alcohol. Youth drink too early, too much and too often. We urge the City Council to carefully consider the current research, potential impacts on the entire community, and the vision and goals of Vista’s General Plan when making their decision. These factors should take priority over the profit needs of one business or the inconvenience to a small number of customers who would need to go to one of five other nearby businesses to purchase alcohol.”

Representatives of NCPC are informing the public about the relationship between alcohol availability, underage drinking, and crime and gathering community input. They encourage other concerned residents to get involved, and to learn more at

About North Coastal Prevention Coalition (NCPC)

The North Coastal Prevention Coalition aims to reduce the harm of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs in the cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista through community action, education, support and collaboration. Funded in part by the County of San Diego, HHSA, Behavioral Health Services.

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Prevention Group Advocates for Fewer Alcohol Sales in Vista
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