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Community CommentaryOpinion

Carlsbad needs to hit the brakes on alcohol expansion

I’ve been a proud resident of Carlsbad for more than 40 years, and take pride in our city and neighborhoods, but I’ve been growing concerned about recent decisions that would expand alcohol in our city where I don’t think it’s needed or belongs.

On June 21, the Planning Commission approved a zoning change on a 3-2 vote that would have allowed distilleries in the downtown Village District 6, directly across from the Boys and Girls Club.

Thanks to an outcry of resident concerns, the City Council did not allow this to move forward, but instead approved a zoning change to allow restaurants.

Now Carlsbad is facing the prospect of adding alcohol to a go-kart racing facility. Back on May 3, the Planning Commission approved (5-2) an amendment to K1 Speed’s conditional use permit to allow them to pursue a beer and wine license.

Carlsbad has the distinction of having the first K1 Speed open in the country in 2004, but we don’t need the distinction of being the first K1 Speed in California to allow alcohol sales. K1 Speed’s conditional use permit, approved back in 2004, prohibits the sale of alcohol, and for good reason.

Alcohol is the largest contributor to preventable deaths in teens and young adults, such as motor vehicle crashes, homicides and suicides.

Many residents are concerned, and with support from the North Coastal Prevention Coalition and San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth, an appeal of this decision was filed and will be heard by the City Council on Aug. 22.

K-1 Speed has 35 locations nationwide with 11 locations in California. None of the locations in California currently have alcohol sales. In fact, only their two Chicago locations have added alcohol.K1 Speed’s focus is to “bring the thrill and excitement of indoor karting to a large audience,” and includes junior driving leagues and birthday parties. Adults, teens and younger children all enjoy this entertainment facility. 

Drinking and driving sends a mixed message to our youth and can lead to putting people’s lives in danger. I can see it being hard for the employees to tell adults they can’t drive a cart because they’ve had too much alcohol.

Introducing alcohol to this venue will make it difficult to track and regulate alcohol consumption before getting into the go-cart. Adding beer and wine could alter the character of this venue and become a place where people don’t feel safe. 

Alcohol sales have a high profit margin, which leads many business operations to think it will add revenue for little cost.

That’s why we’re seeing alcohol sales expand into new venues such as movie theaters, coffee shops, and even fast food restaurants in other parts of the country.

But increasing alcohol availability comes at a high price for communities, including increased DUIs, violence, and underage drinking.

According to the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), there are already nearly 150 on-sale alcohol licenses in Carlsbad for bars, restaurants and breweries.

Carlsbad’s K1 Speed should not serve as a “test-venue” for the introduction of alcohol to its racers in California.

Please don’t get me wrong. I enjoy an ice cold beer on a warm summer day or a glass of wine with a nice dinner.

I am not opposed to alcohol. I am opposed to the inappropriate introduction of alcohol where it doesn’t belong. The correlation between driving and alcohol should be discouraged, not encouraged.

I encourage others in Carlsbad to email the City Council and urge them to keep K1 Speed an alcohol-free, family-friendly environment, and to attend the council meeting on Aug. 22. 

K1 Speed has expanded nationwide since opening here in 2004, and will continue to have success without alcohol sales.

Simon Angel is a Carlsbad resident.

1 comment

Tom Applegate August 19, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Makes absolutely no sense; why would you sell alcohol at a go-kart track when we know that any combination of vehicles and alcohol is deadly?

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