The Coast News Group

Union Kitchen, Moto Deli score approvals from Planning Commission

ENCINITAS — A pair of Encinitas establishments received approval from the Encinitas Planning Commission, including a downtown restaurant whose request for an outdoor patio sparked controversy in January.

This time around, however, the Planning Commission unanimously approved Union Kitchen and Tap’s request for a 500-square-foot outdoor patio after most of the public outcry over the proposal evaporated following several concessions made by the restaurant.

The Planning Commission also approved Leucadia sandwich shop Moto Deli’s request to sell beer and wine.

Most of the discussion at the June 15 meeting revolved around the Union Kitchen’s revamped proposal, which included a 10-foot-tall, concrete-then-glass sound wall along the west side of the new patio area and several other noise-buffering barriers.

A sound study showed that the barriers would cut the sound emanating from the patio to well below the city’s 60-decibel noise limits in the surrounding neighborhood.

As in January, Union representatives also agreed to allow no live music, amplified sound or games in the patio eating area, which they agreed would close at 10 p.m.

This was enough to satisfy some of the harshest critics, including representatives of the Self-Realization Fellowship, who had pushed back against Union’s request in January, when they sent a letter that said the increasing rowdiness associated with the bars had spoiled the peace and quiet that many of the visitors of the center seek.

A representative from the Fellowship said they considered their concerns “adequately addressed” with Union’s new proposal.

The commission signaled that it is looking to tackle another issue involving restaurants with Type 47 liquor licenses — the lack of reporting of alcohol and food receipts.

Currently, the city does not receive any information from restaurants to verify if they are abiding by conditions that their food sales comprise more than 50 percent of their total receipts.

The commission added a stipulation that Union annually reports that information to the city to verify it is meeting the requirement, but said it would look at a much larger enforcement of those rules citywide, which would have to go before the council for final approval.

In the other item on the June 15 agenda, the commission enthusiastically approved Moto Deli’s beer and wine request, as four residents who spoke said that the Leucadia restaurant had been a good neighbor and addressed concerns early in the process.