A Huntington Beach downtown restaurant is scheduled to have a hearing Tuesday about its application for an alcohol serving license.
The county Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has received at least five protests about the application by Ka Shabu, an Asian fondue restaurant at 301 Main St.
Department spokesman John Carr declined to say who had filed the letters, citing an ongoing investigation, but said some of them had to do with noise levels and concerns about crime and oversaturation of alcohol-serving establishments downtown.
The protests, he said, had more to do with the prospect of another alcohol license downtown than with Ka Shabu itself.
"They're protesting the application," he said. "They've expressed those concerns. People are concerned that there could be more noise, that it's in a high-crime district."
The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at 605 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Building 28, Suite 369 in Santa Ana.
Carr said after Tuesday's hearing, an administrative law judge will have 30 to 60 days to render a decision on the application. It will be up to the department, however, to make a final ruling.
Ka Shabu's management did not return calls seeking comment.
In recent months, several studies have outlined the connection between public safety and the volume of alcohol-serving establishments in downtown. HB Neighbors and the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn. issued reports early this year, and the state Office of Traffic Safety declared in January that Huntington Beach ranked No. 1 among California cities of its size in per-capita alcohol-related traffic collisions in 2009.
Lt. Russell Reinhart of the Huntington Beach Police Department, however, said Ka Shabu had not caused any trouble since it opened.
"It has not been a problem location at all," he said. "There's no disturbance calls directly from the address."
Carr said Ka Shabu is the second Huntington Beach establishment to have its alcohol application go to a hearing in the last two years. The other was Stop N Go at 20361 Beach Blvd., which eventually received its license last year, he said.