Nob Hill residents discussing cap on Polk St. bars


The area is a popular party scene, especially on the weekends, offering a vibrant nightlife with the 20-something and 30-something crowd coming in from all over the Bay Area. It's a lot of for them, but not so much for some of the residents who live there.

Some say lower Polk Street has reached its limit. On the six-block stretch of Polk from California to O'Farrell, there are 45 establishments with liquor licenses. Flyers posted around the neighborhood ask if Nob Hill is becoming "a new Las Vegas."

Linda Chapman with the Nob Hill Neighbor's Association put up those posters and organized a meeting Wednesday night to talk about a situation she believes has gotten out of control. "They converge here, young people, drunk and noisy, so packed sometimes you can't walk down the street at all. I don't mean you kind of have to dodge around them. You have to just sort of stand there," she told ABC7 News.

The complaints have led District Supervisor David Chiu to propose not a ban, he says, but a cap on any new bars. "We've reached a saturation point on Polk Street in recent years. Public safety incidences, noise, quality of life issues for residents and the neighborhood have hit a point where we need to address the situation," he said.

The Small Business Commission would rather have proximity controls prohibiting a new bar from opening within 100 feet of another, but there are opponents of any effort to strike a balance. "They think that there are too many bars around? I don't think so. I don't think so. There should be even more," area resident Oytun Seven said.

An open community meeting was scheduled for 7 p.m. at The Old First Church at Sacramento and Van Ness.

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