West Hollywood City Council voted to approve agenda item 2.CC adopting a resolution in support of SB 930 (Wiener), allowing the city to participate in extending hours of alcohol sales pilot program referenced in the bill. The motion passed 3-2 with Mayor Lauren Meister and Mayor Pro-Tem Sepi Shyne voting no on the item.
The item was pulled out of the consent calendar by Pro Tem Shyne for further discussion, which came up towards the end of a long meeting that ran closer to 2 a.m. this morning.
Community members expressed concerns with the pilot program, which was vetoed in 2018. They had issues with possible loud noise, driving while intoxicated during later hours, and the need for more policing where some community members already feel public safety is an issue in the City of West Hollywood.
Mayor Pro Tem Shyne said she has heard a lot of opposition to extending hours of alcohol sales from community members, mainly due to noise. She pointed out that unlike other cities, West Hollywood nightlife is very close to residential areas and could potential cause problems for residents who want peace and quiet during those hours.
Mayor Miester opposed the pilot program in 2018 and said she would do so again for reasons that were expressed during the meeting.
WeHo resident Jordan Cockeram spoke in support of the item stating that the extended hours would allow more sales for businesses and tax revenue for the city. He said extended hours would allow patrons to leave bars and restaurants at different times instead of all at once, which can cause congestions and raise the risk of emergency situations. Everyone leaving at once at 2 a.m. also impacts cab and ride-share services, which can be unavailable and more expensive during busy hours, deterring people from using the services and running the risk of driving intoxicated.
According to a City Staff report, participation in the pilot program will afford the City ample local discretion to design a local extended hours program that best meets West Hollywood’s needs. These local features include limiting extended hours permits to certain areas of the City, as well as designating a specific body such as the Business License Commission to conduct public hearings for the purpose of issuing extended hours permits, and more.
- Beginning January 1, 2025, and before January 2, 2030, require the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to conduct a pilot program that would authorize the department to issue extended hours license to an on-sale licensee located in a qualified city that would authorize, with or without conditions, the selling, giving, or purchasing of alcoholic beverages at the licensed premises between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., upon completion of specified requirements by the qualified city in which the licensee is located.
- Impose specified fees related to the license to be deposited in the ABC Fund.
- Require the applicant to notify specified persons of the application for extended hours license and would provide a procedure for protest and hearing regarding the
- Require the Department of the California Highway Patrol and each qualified city that
has elected to participate in the program to submit reports to the Legislature and specified committees regarding the regional impact of the extended hours licenses, as specified.
- Provide that any person under21 years of age who enters and remains in the licensed public premises during the additional serving hour without lawful business therein is guilty of a misdemeanor, as provided.
- The pilot program would apply to the Cities of Cathedral City, Coachella, Fresno, Oakland, Palm Springs, and West Hollywood, and the City and County of San Francisco.
As amended on June 2, 2022, SB 930 provides ample discretion to “qualifying” cities referenced in the bill. Section 1 above mentions “upon completion of specified requirements by the qualified city in which the licensee is located.” This means that each qualifying city, including West Hollywood, will be able to design a local extended hours program in which the City will be able to establish guidelines, define specific areas in which establishments could operate extended hours of alcohol sales, develop an application and review process, etc. As the bill defers to cities to decide how to shape the extended hours program, West Hollywood could establish a program with its own requirements, such as it could choose to limit the hours to 3 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. or extend hours only on certain days of the week like Pride or Halloween.
Council member John D’Amico said he supported the item before and made a motion to support the effort and directed staff to help lobby to pass the item. Council member John Erickson seconded the motion.