Groups holding private events in the Costa Mesa Senior Center will now have the option of serving alcohol, a unanimous City Council decided this week.
The council Tuesday approved a city staff recommendation to temporarily allow the sale, service and consumption of beer, wine and liquor at the center at 695 W. 19th St.
Alcohol will be permitted "during private rental events, not city-sponsored events," Recreation Manager Justin Martin said.
Anyone booking an event at which alcohol will be sold or served will need to obtain a temporary license from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and provide security.
Staff pitched the Senior Center idea because the Neighborhood Community Center — the only city-owned and -operated facility available to the public where alcohol could be requested and permitted — is closed and the city plans to demolish it as part of a larger effort to build a new library in Lions Park.
Eventually, the current Donald Dungan Library branch in the park will be converted to a community center to replace the NCC.
In the meantime, staff said, groups could end up looking elsewhere for space where alcohol is permitted — potentially costing the city rental revenue.
"The Costa Mesa Senior Center offers a viable alternative while the NCC is closed," according to a staff report. "This option will enable the city to continue to serve the ongoing needs of the facility rental community."
Once the new community center opens, "we would then terminate the approval of this and move it back," Martin said.
5:05 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about rules for booking alcohol events.