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Boozing will be curtailed

Folks will soon have to get a special permit to include alcoholic beverages in their picnic baskets at certain city parks, effective July 6.

The City Council voted at the June 16 meeting to require a permit for people who want to have a beer or a glass of wine with their al fresco meal at Heisler, Main Beach or Crescent Bay Point parks. Permits will be limited to three per fiscal year, at a cost of $10 each. City-sponsored performing arts or cultural events will be exempt from the requirement.

“We are proposing this because of the increase in alcohol-related incidents,” John Pietig, assistant city manager, said.

Pietig reported that more than 50 alcohol-related incidents have been confirmed at Heisler and Main Beach parks. Incidents included 11 documented assaults resulting in injury, two medical aids from falls one arson, and many calls for medical assistance due to seizures related to withdrawals.

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Pietig also said many other incidents were not documented.

Existing rules that allow alcoholic consumption with a “bona fide meal” have been difficult to enforce, according to Pietig’s report.

The Community Services Department will sell the permits, which means folks will have to plan ahead because the department is not open on weekends or city holidays.

Permit applicants must be 21 or older. They will be the only ones allowed to bring alcohol into the park. And they will be responsible for the conduct of anyone in their group.

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Obnoxious behavior or excessive noise will not be permitted, and the permit could be revoked or the event for which the permit was granted canceled. In such cases, the permit holder will be banned from applying for another for one year. A one-time warning ticket will be issued in July and August as people adjust to the new policy.

The ordinance was adopted as an urgency measure and does not require a second reading or a 30-day period before going into effect.



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