By Sarah Boyer
South Bay Program Manager
Institute for Public Strategies
Along Broadway in Chula Vista hidden gems representative of the city's vibrancy and diversity can be found.
Yet, amid the dynamic businesses, schools and organizations, a concerning trend is present—an overconcentration of off-sale alcohol retailers, surpassing the limits set by the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
This issue is not just about the number of alcoholic beverage retailers but the potential ramifications for public health, safety, and the overall quality of life in the neighborhood.
The seriousness of this problem is underscored by the alcohol map produced by the San Diego County Binge and Underage Drinking Initiative.
Alcohol Overconcentration Map. (See interactive map here)
This map reveals a startling reality: The number of alcohol retailers along Broadway far exceeds what ABC regulations suggest. This raises serious concerns regarding community well-being. This situation requires an approach that includes responsible beverage sales and service, retailer accountability and proactive community engagement.
The Chula Vista Envision Broadway committee has taken commendable steps toward revitalizing the area, striving to strike a balance between business interests and community needs while promoting health, safety, and improved quality of life.
The efforts to transform blighted Broadway neighborhoods into cleaner, safer, and more family-friendly spaces align with San Diego County's Live Well San Diego Initiative. However, it's crucial to address not just the concentration of alcohol retailers but also other adult-oriented businesses in the area. Studies repeatedly highlight the correlation between high-risk businesses, including liquor stores, and societal challenges.
Research shows a direct link between neighborhoods with more alcohol outlets and increased instances of public drunkenness, DUIs, and calls for police service. We can usually find a disturbing rise in violent crime, domestic violence, and sexual assaults in areas where the number of liquor stores outnumbers the healthier alternatives.
Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive approach. Implementing conditions such as enhanced security measures, restricted advertising, and retailer training programs can significantly mitigate the negative impacts associated with these establishments. The ABC’s Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) program offers Responsible Beverage Sales and Service (RBSS) training.
This program is an instrumental tool designed to assist local retailers in complying with the law. Other cities such as Imperial Beach have found success with a designated officer to work with the retailers to assist them in getting into compliance and addressing any community health and safety issues related to their business practices.
We must work together to ensure the vitality of our neighborhoods and the well-being of our communities.
Responsible business practices, supporting rigorous oversight, and fostering collaboration between local authorities, businesses, and residents, can transform Broadway into a safer, healthier, and more welcoming environment for all.
Let us envision a Broadway that thrives as a better, safer community for generations. Now more than ever, community matters.
Business owners, employees and residents are encouraged to join the Chula Vista Revitalization Committee by emailing Program Manager Sarah Boyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Envision Broadway website at: https://envisionbroadway.com/wp/.
The next monthly meeting is January 18 at 3 p.m. at the Chula Vista Library, 365 F Street. (Then on February 15, 2024 at 3 p.m.)
IPS works alongside communities to build power, challenge systems of inequity, protect health and improve quality of life. IPS has a vision for safe, secure, vibrant and healthy communities where everyone can thrive.
To learn more about IPS South Bay, check out our website at https://ipssouthbay.org/ and follow us on our social media platforms Instagram and Facebook. South Bay Youth 4 Change (SBY4C) is on Instagram and Facebook. Follow Envision Broadway on its website, Instagram and Facebook. Resources and services are available to assist with screening, treatment, and recovery for individuals with a substance use disorder via the Access & Crisis line, which is open year-round, 24/7 at (888) 724-7240 or dial 988.