The Huntington Beach Planning Commission denied a downtown burger joint's request on Tuesday to serve beer and wine to its customers.
Bomburger Restaurant, which has been serving burgers, fries and onion rings at 200 Main St. for almost a year, applied for the alcohol permit to help boost business, said owner Rob Sleenhof.
The request, however, violates a city resolution designed to limit alcohol-related issues in downtown. The resolution, which was approved in January 2010, requires any restaurant or bar serving alcohol to close at midnight.
Bomburger wanted to keep its 2 a.m. closing hours, but offered to stop serving beer and wine at 10 p.m.
"There are rules and the rules need to be followed," said Kim Kramer, spokesman of the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn.
He added that allowing Bomburger to serve alcohol would discredit the work of the residents, who worked hard on the city's resolution, and it would create a precedent that would force the city to consider the same request by future applicants.
Planning Commissioner Blair Farley said allowing Bomburger to serve alcohol will create noise and safety issues for the surrounding residents and businesses.
His motion to deny passed in a 4-3 vote with commissioners Timothy Ryan, Elizabeth Shier Burnett and Erik Peterson opposing.
Shier Burnett said it was difficult for her to deny Bomburger the same opportunity other restaurants in the area have.
Sleenhof said he might appeal the commission's decision.
Sleenhof, who also owns the Chronic Tacos locations in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, said he is not interested in the bar business or scene, but that serving beer and alcohol with burgers would bring in more customers, especially during the football season in the winter, when business is slow.
The restaurant recently added more items to its menu.
"That's what the other restaurants on the street are doing," he said. "Most of them have the
opportunity to offer beer and wine."
The police department did not oppose Bomburger's request. Police Chief Ken Small said while Bomburger's request technically violates the resolution, it did not violate its intent because the restaurant would not be serving alcohol past midnight.
"For us, having Bomburger there is a good thing," he said. "It allows people to get the alcohol out of their system before they start driving."
Small said he expects to see this issue to come before the City Council in the next 30 days.