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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

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City Council Denies Hummingbird House Cafe’s Application for Alcohol Sales

We recently discussed Hummingbird House’s application for limited alcohol sales at its Los Rios Street restaurant.  That decision was delayed, but in an encouraging move, the San Juan Capistrano City Council asked staff to make a recommendation on how beer and wine sales might be permitted within the Los Rios Historic District.  Unfortunately, this week the City Council declined the staff recommendations and denied the necessary permit to Hummingbird House.  The Patch has the article here.  We’ve already expressed our opinion that limited beer and wine sales should be permitted at all Los Rios businesses, not just the two that were lucky enough to get grandfathered into a prior regulatory regime.  We understand that Los Rios is a special place — a unique place.  We get that it is both residential at its heart, but a tourist destination in part because of the businesses.  We recognize that the buildings on Los Rios embody the history and culture of the area, yet on the other hand, Los Rios Street businesses must still compete with the commercial shopping centers on the other side of the rail road tracks.  Providing Los Rios Street business owners with reasonable regulations — limited alcohol sales, for one — was the fair and equitable thing to do.  It is disappointing that the Council elected not to do so.

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