City of DM extends beach ban on alcohol

From here on out, alcohol will be banned on the beach in Del Mar from March 1 through Labor Day each year.

The city council on Monday unanimously approved the annual ban, which includes spring break through the end of summer, but still allows residents to enjoy a cup of wine while watching the sun set during the winter months.

“We implemented the ban last year and it was really successful,” said Lifeguard Chief Pat Vergne. “We had a friendly beach, family-oriented, and we did not have a lot of issues in the street.”

Last May, the city council prohibited the possession and consumption of alcohol on public property from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Their action came in response to the dramatic increase in alcohol-related problems on Del Mar’s beach after San Diego banned drinking on its beaches in late 2007.

The ban turned out to be extremely effective in minimizing the disruptive activities associated with alcohol consumption at the beach, Vergne said.

The adjacent residential areas were calm and quite, a welcome relief to both residents and visitors, he said.

These positive results, coupled with San Diego voters approving a permanent beach booze ban in November 2008 and Solana Beach approving a temporary year-round ban, prompted Vergne to recommend the March 1 through Labor Day ban.

“We’re still monitoring the off season, but right now we’re comfortable with it,” he said.

Several letters of support and no objections to the ban were presented to the council.

“We have to be smart about this and protect our residents and beach visitors,” Mayor Crystal Crawford said.