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Community pushes back against alcohol permits

About this post: t’s never a great idea to combine the stress of starting a new job with that of moving to a new apartment. But one week before joining ATC, I moved from Koreatown to Highland Park in search of greenery, quiet, and local shops.

It’s never a great idea to combine the stress of starting a new job with that of moving to a new apartment. But one week before joining ATC, I moved from Koreatown to Highland Park in search of greenery, quiet, and local shops 🏡.

While exploring my new neighborhood last week, I stumbled upon a protest being held by the Highland Park community against the growing wave of new restaurants applying for alcohol permits and licenses.

Does Highland Park have a problem?

Let’s use ATC to find out. I began my search with my current address, set the distance radius to 1 mile, and limited the filing date to the last 5 years. I then used the “or” function under Case Suffix to search for Conditional Use Beverage-Alcohol (CUB) permits, and Restaurant Beverage Program-Regular (RBPA) and Restaurant Beverage Program-Alcohol Sensitive Area (RBPB) authorizations.

According to ATC, there are 25 locations authorized to sell alcohol within a 1-mile radius of my new apartment. They are concentrated on the commercial streets of York Boulevard and Figueroa Street, where you’ll find hotspots such as Blind Barber, Joy, and Highland Park Bowl.

Now, let’s use the same ATC search to compare against my old neighborhood: Koreatown. Known for its density, restaurants, and bars, it’s no surprise Anthony Bourdain dedicated an entire episode of Parts Unknown to the cuisine in this lively neighborhood. Within one mile of my old apartment, 107 CUBs and RBP approvals were issued over the past five years—over four times the number in Highland Park!

CUBs approved within 1-mile of my Highland Park apartment in last 5 years.
CUBs within 1-mile of my Koreatown apartment (last 5 years).

What does this mean?

Personally, it means I will have fewer choices in Highland Park for an after work drink. It also means that there are neighborhood-level factors that influence the number and time to completion of alcohol-related entitlements. In Highland Park, it takes an average of 225 days to gain approval versus an average of 178 days in Koreatown.

One of the big differences between the two neighborhoods is the use of the Restaurant Beverage Program (RBP). Since the program’s introduction in March 2022, eight RBP applications have received authorization in Koreatown, cutting processing time to a 77-day average. There have been zero applications to the program in Highland Park.

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