Why the alcohol ban in Solana Beach?


By Dave Roberts

Mayor, city of Solana Beach

After taking office as mayor on June 25, the Solana Beach City Council heard Ordinance 388 for its second and final reading (all ordinances must be heard twice in order to be passed) to amend our Solana Beach Municipal Code to ban alcohol on our beaches regardless of the time of year for a one-year period. I am pleased that this new ordinance passed unanimously and that my first act as mayor was to sign this new ordinance into law.

Unfortunately, excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems at beaches throughout San Diego County have prompted most other local cities and State beach officials to enact prohibitions on alcohol consumption.

The first to act was the City of San Diego which on January 14 enacted a one-year ban on alcohol consumption at all city beaches after a Labor Day 2007 incident where police had to respond in riot gear to disperse a large, rowdy crowd, which resulted in sixteen arrests.

Next, State beach officials worried that drinkers might migrate north to Torrey Pines State Beach as a result of the San Diego ban and they initiated a one-year alcohol ban beginning in April.

Then on May 19, the city of Del Mar introduced and adopted an urgency ordinance banning the consumption of alcohol at city beaches prompted by the increasing number of citations that public safety officials had issued, which they attributed to excessive drinking. The alcohol ban at other local beaches to the south of Del Mar was seen as the major contributing factor for the increase in alcohol-related citations on the beaches in Del Mar.

The prohibition of alcohol to our south has now shifted the focus to our beaches in Solana Beach where alcohol was still permitted during specified hours. Media reporting on the alcohol bans to our south inevitably mentioned each time that Solana Beach was one of the few remaining communities in the county where alcohol consumption was still allowed on the beaches.

Because of all this evidence, staff recommended to our council that Solana Beach ban alcohol consumption at our beaches regardless of the time of day for a period of one year, which is comparable to the bans enacted in San Diego and Torrey Pines State Beach.

Both the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth testified that they believed that this ban was urgent and necessary to prevent any problems in Solana Beach.

As mayor and councilmember, I know the responsibility of providing for our community’s safety. Because Solana Beach has a wonderful reputation as a peaceful, carefree oceanfront community that is welcoming to all residents and visitors alike with our limited beaches and wonderful surf opportunities, I knew that this reputation must be protected. While disappointed that a handful of lawbreakers could cause an issue that now impacts our entire community, I wholeheartedly supported this ban to ensure that no harm comes to either our residents or visitors. Our staff and Sheriff’s department will closely monitor this ban and report back if any other changes are necessary. In the meantime, you can be sure that we will continue to take any immediate actions necessary to preserve Solana Beach’s peace, health, safety and welfare and not allow unruly behavior to affect our community’s daily life.

If you would like to contact me directly about this or any other issues in our community, please just drop me a line at