A Circle K convenience store won Laguna Beach City Council approval Tuesday to sell liquor — a decision that overturned an earlier denial by the Planning Commission.
The council’s 3-1 vote, with Councilwoman Toni Iseman dissenting and Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede absent, allows the Circle K at 885 Glenneyre St. to sell liquor from 10 a.m. to midnight daily.
The Planning Commission in June had been concerned about an oversaturation of alcohol-related businesses in the area. Some commissioners also were wary of late-night liquor sales, particularly of 50-millileter “miniature” bottles.
As part of its decision Tuesday, the council forbade selling miniature bottles, ruling that liquor must come in pint-size bottles or larger.
The council also commissioned a series of police reports examining the sales. The reports will look into Circle K’s alcohol compliance record, safety concerns and any underage purchases.
The Police Department did not object to Circle K’s request to sell liquor from a 6-square-foot display behind the counter.
The store already is permitted to sell beer and wine from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The liquor permission does not affect the beer and wine hours.
In voting no, Iseman said she agreed with the Planning Commission’s reasoning.
“I think they’re going in the right direction,” she said.
But Councilman Steve Dicterow said he was OK with the liquor request because the police had no qualms with it. He noted that liquor is already sold at a Ralphs supermarket nearby.
“I think our judgment has to be based on what the police have told us,” said Dicterow, who added that police are regularly at the Circle K to buy food and drinks.
“This is a well-monitored place compared to most others in town,” Dicterow said.
Mayor Kelly Boyd noted that liquor has been sold in the area for decades, but, like the Planning Commission, he didn’t want the store to sell miniature liquor bottles.
Final approval for ‘granny flats’ ordinance
In other action Tuesday, the council approved the final reading of a “granny flats” ordinance designed to promote more housing stock in the city, particularly for senior citizens and low-income residents.
The law allows eased construction requirements for the small units, also known as accessory dwelling units, which can be attached or detached from a main property.
They will be permitted in single-family neighborhoods. The ordinance includes an exemption from city parking requirements if the units are rented to low-income people or are within a half-mile of public transit, among other exemptions.
A unit’s maximum size will depend on the lot size, but none can be larger than 750 square feet.