Brand Park

Glendale might permit alcohol at public venues like Brand Park through a permit. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / July 10, 2012)

Glendale officials have approved the first draft of rules that would for the first time permit alcohol at parks, libraries and other venues — for a fee.

Currently, alcohol can only be served at the Civic Auditorium, a popular site for weddings and quinceañeras. Exceptions can be granted by the city manager, but they are rare.

If the new policy is approved, beer and wine could be served at such locations as the Brand Park Teahouse and Garden, Sparr Heights Community Center and the Adult Recreation Center after securing a $100 permit through the parks department.

“It will help us raise revenue,” said Teresa Aleksanian, an executive analyst, at a City Hall meeting Monday, adding that requests to serve alcohol at the facilities have been flowing in.

Officials have been searching for new revenue streams to help in a prolonged cycle of cost-cutting at City Hall.

The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission unanimously approved the new rules, sending the proposal to the City Council for final review.

With alcohol, “these facilities would be much more attractive to people who want to get married there,” said Commission President Laurel Patric.

But the endorsement didn't come without some trepidation.

Some commissioners were concerned about permitting alcohol at facilities in residential neighborhoods, such as Sparr Heights Community Center, but in the end, they decided to require more security to soften the impact, even if that may be unsettling to some.

“If you have a small party of 25 and there's a security guard standing there, I'm telling you, that's kind of intimidating, too,” said Commissioner Vartan Gharpetian.

Library, Arts and Culture Director Cindy Cleary said a security guard at a small library event could be excessive since library staff would be on hand to handle any problems.

According to the draft policy, parties of 35 or more will have to have a security guard. If the guest list exceeds 100, another security guard will be required for every 75 guests.

Only beer and wine would be allowed at the venues, although distilled spirits are permitted at the Civic Auditorium.

“We don't have the same level of comfort with distilled spirits as we do with beer, wine and Champagne,” said Community, Services and Parks Director Jess Duran. “We don't want to go too far.”

The event must also have general liability insurance. In cities such as Burbank, Pasadena and Monrovia, a $1-million policy is required, according to a city report.

Glendale's risk manager has yet to determine the appropriate insurance limit for the new policy, but it is expected to be hammered out by the time the proposal goes to the City Council in the coming months.

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