Tonight’s meeting of the Fullerton City Council includes an item seeking direction from the Council about whether or not outdoor amplified music should be allowed as a part of uniform standards guiding the awarding of Conditional Use Permits to restaurants and bars downtown. Currently, only one such business is allowed to operate under these conditions. The Slidebar was quietly drawn into the Fullerton Transportation Center Specific Plan, adopted several years ago, where such conditions are considered acceptable. Other bars and restaurants have begun to request similar rights, with some fine distinctions between them, but the Planning Commission has decided that there is a “lack of applicable criteria by which to evaluate the requests” in the Fullerton Municipal Code.
Rather than spend the $ 10,500 for new sound study, recommended by the Planning Staff, the City Council could simply defer to one already conducted six years ago, and make the responsible decision that no outdoor live amplified music ought to be allowed downtown or anywhere else in Fullerton unless we want to be known officially as Party Town USA. This latter suggestion is always an option. We can judge easily what it would look like downtown if more venues allowed live bands to play electrically amplified music by simply looking at the Slidebar on any given night.
The Fullerton City Council can choose to make Downtown Fullerton a permanent Austin style South by Southwest Festival, or a year-round New Orleans style Mardi Gras if it decides that that is how our local economy should work. If they think they have a better idea, then they should make it simple and forbid live outdoor music downtown.