Chino Hills Municipal Code (CHMC) Section 16.12.060 - “Alcoholic Beverage Outlets” identifies specific standards for establishments that include the sale of on-site alcohol consumption exclusively for the legal drinking age and over. This section was part of the original City Municipal Code adopted in 1995. Like many sections of the Municipal Code, this section has not been updated since its original adoption.
Currently, the CHMC establishes separation requirements between alcoholic establishments and sensitive uses and zones; however, it does not specify how this separation is measured. Further, the existing Code also does not provide a process to consider a finding of “public convenience or necessity” (PCN) required by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) pursuant to California Business and Professions Code Section 23958.4(a) for census tracts where there is an “undue concentration” of alcohol sales.
On-site Sales of Alcoholic Beverage Establishment Exclusively for Patrons at or over the Legal Drinking Age
California Code of Regulations Rule 61.4 specifies a minimum separation requirement (100 feet from residential), and indicates how the distance shall be measured, which is the method ABC uses to issue licenses (as noted in ABC license applications). However, this rule also states, “Notwithstanding the provisions of this rule, the department may issue an original retail license or transfer a retail license premises-to-premises where the applicant establishes that the operation of the business would not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the property by residents.” Staff discussed Rule 61.4 with a representative from ABC, which the representative clarified that the rule does allow for licenses to be issued within 100 feet from residential, as long as the residents are not impacted by the establishment. The current distance requirement for Chino Hills is 200 feet from any residentially zoned property, and is proposed to be measured from the establishment to the closest residential property line.
Currently, the Chaparral 300 Bowling Center is the only establishment in Chino Hills with a bar area exclusive to persons of, or older than, the legal drinking age. A similar bar area was recently approved for the Harkins Theater.
Additionally, staff reviewed the alcohol beverage outlet ordinance sections of adjacent cities and found that the Cities of Brea, Temecula, and Eastvale do not have minimum distance requirements (however, they are still required to follow ABC requirements). The City of Chino has a 600-foot minimum distance to residentially zoned properties for alcoholic establishments open exclusively to patrons of legal drinking age and over.
“Undue Concentration” of Alcohol Sales
“Undue concentration”, as defined by Section 23958.4 of the State Business and Professions, is an alcohol sales establishment located in an area with the following conditions;
- A 20 percent greater number of reported crimes than the average number of reported crimes as determined from all crime reporting districts within the jurisdiction of the local law enforcement agency.
- As to on-sale retail license applications, the ratio of on-sale retail licenses to population in the census tract exceeds the ratio of on-sale retail licenses to population in the county in which the applicant premises are located.
- As to off-sale (off-site) retail license applications, the ratio of off-sale retail licenses to population in the census tract in which the applicant premises are located exceeds the ratio of off-sale retail licenses to population in the county in which the applicant premises are located.
When an application for alcohol retail sales is filed with ABC, the application is run through a database within the census tracts, which determines if it is within an over concentrated area for on-site or off-site sales. This is also done in collaboration with police departments to obtain crime rate information within census tracts. If ABC deems it within an over concentrated area, ABC will require a PCN prior to license issuance. Depending on the license type, the PCN findings will either be made by ABC or the local jurisdiction. ABC makes the findings for a PCN for bona-fide eating establishments for on-site sales, while local jurisdictions will make PCN findings for off-site sales and age exclusive alcohol establishments.
For Chino Hills' alcohol related permits, the proposed amendment incorporates PCN findings within the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) findings where a CUP is required (e.g., Circle K Crossroads Entertainment, Larios Market, Shell Station Grand Avenue, and others). However, in the case where a CUP is not required, such as off-site sales within a supermarket, the PCN process is unclear. When a CUP is not required, the proposed amendment creates a PCN process that follows the same procedural requirements for notice, processing, and hearing as a Conditional Use Permit. The proposed amendment also clearly specifies that the Planning Commission is authorized to make the PCN determination, subject to appeal to City Council.
The proposed code revisions are attached as Exhibit “A”. Exhibit “B” includes the current adopted Section 16.12.060 Alcoholic Beverage Outlets for comparison.
PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEW
At the August 6, 2019, Planning Commission meeting, staff held a workshop to discuss the existing Alcoholic Beverage Outlet section and proposed changes in regards to distance requirements, how distance is measured, and the PCN process. Planning Commission raised the following questions:
- Separation requirement for Mixed Use Districts;
- How distance is measured in regards to vertical mixed use development;
- PCN process and the establishment of required findings.
Staff presented PCN findings at the October 15, 2019, Planning Commission meeting. Based on Planning Commission comments, the amendment was continued in order for staff to provide new PCN findings.
On November 5, 2019, staff presented the code amendment with updated PCN findings. The Planning Commission nor the public had any comments regarding the code amendment. The Planning Commission adopted a resolution recommending that the City Council adopt Municipal Code Amendment 19MCA04 by a unanimous vote, 5-0.
Notice of the public hearing was published in the Chino Hills Champion on January 4, 2020. As of the writing of this report, staff has not received any public comments concerning the proposed Municipal Code Amendment.