commission spotlight on alcohol

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

commission spotlight on alcohol:

prohibitions discussed for ocean drive, mxe, sunset harbour

Prohibitions on alcohol sales and service took up a good portion of the Commission’s time this week.
 
After a Memorial Day weekend that ended with two men dead, Mayor Philip Levine proposed cutting back the hours for serving alcohol outside on Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th Streets from 5 am to 2 am. But at the last minute, he added an agenda item for a referendum in the fall to allow voters to make the decision.
 
Miami Beach voters will decide whether to limit alcohol sales on Ocean Drive (Miami Herald)

Cops Say Crime is Actually Dropping on Ocean Drive, Contradicting Every Beach Politician (New Times)
 
Retail sale hours for alcohol changed again: Commissioners completed their rollback on the sale of alcohol at retail establishments to 8 am in all areas of the City except the MXE District. An experiment delaying sales until after 10 am frustrated residents who did early morning shopping. Its initial intent was to prevent school children from seeing lines of homeless individuals waiting in line for liquor stores to open at 8 am.
 
The new hours are the same as the old hours before the experiment: 8 am to midnight. However, hours in the MXE or Entertainment District will be restricted from 10 am to 10 pm, though further restrictions may be coming. Commissioner Ricky Arriola said he intends to bring a new proposal to the Commission, possibly as early as next month, to stop retail liquor sales at 8 pm referencing “the overall effort that we’re all struggling with to fix not only Ocean Drive but all the things that are happening in that area. We think it’s prudent to be more aggressive on liquor store closures, which have contributed to neighborhood blight and the kind of issues we’re trying to avoid.”
 
Commissioner Micky Steinberg expressed concern about the 8 am start time in other areas of the City, preferring 9 am instead. “I’m concerned that if we open it up at 8 am we’re not solving the issue with that one package store that was causing an issue in front of that one elementary school so I was hoping for 9 am.” The school, Fienberg Fisher is across the street from a liquor store on Washington Avenue that falls just outside the MXE District. Commissioners opted to pass the legislation and have Steinberg come back with a proposal to solve the problem in that particular area.
 
Increased distance separation for liquor stores: Approved on second reading and now law, is an increase in the distance separation from 300 feet to 1500 feet for liquor stores. However, the ordinance authorizes the Planning Board to grant a conditional use permit for stores to operate at a lesser distance, but in no case less than 700 feet. Read why.
 
Getting a short reprieve on restrictions: Purdy lounge
Commissioner Arriola agreed to defer his proposal to remove the grandfather exemption for businesses in Sunset Harbour serving alcohol until 5 am. Last year, the City curbed alcohol sales beyond 2 am for all new businesses in the area but those already operating the longer hours were allowed to continue. Following a recent shooting outside Purdy Lounge, Arriola threatened to revoke the exemption.
 
After meeting with the Lounge's owners, Arriola who lives in Sunset Harbour, said, “They assured me that they are going to be hiring, among other things, off-duty police, regulating their door policy and meeting with neighbors and curtailing noise and so I want to give the neighborhood and the business owners an opportunity to come up with a plan that works and, hopefully, we can address it that way. But if not, we’ll bring it back.”
 
Bruce Backman, a resident of Sunset Harbour, said he’s heard that before. “The issue at Purdy Lounge is three times they have engaged off-duty patrols at the request of the neighborhood … Each time they have dismissed them after they think the issue has died down. But it has never died down.”
 
He cited a Facebook campaign “from bar patrons that are not from here” to keep Purdy Lounge open. “If you let the likes on a Facebook campaign and emails of Purdy patrons outweigh the residents, that would be a tragedy. We’re fine with our restaurant and alcohol beverage establishments but Sunset Harbour Drive does not want to become a bar central like Ocean Drive attracting a 3 to 5 am drinking crowd.” Backman also expressed concern that if Ocean Drive closes at 2, “the 5 am crowd is going to move west.”
 
Arriola told Backman that he realized he had 17 years of experience in Sunset Harbour but that he was new to the issue. “We’re going to work together … We’ll work together between now and the July meeting to sort something out and if we can’t, then we’ll move forward on this item.” Citing a meeting with police on Monday, he said, “Out of fairness to everybody we want to give enough time for the parties to meet. We’ll come to some kind of recommendation shortly.”
 
Gambling prohibition final: Another prohibition, one on casino gambling, passed its second reading and is now law.
 

alcohol sale hours changing again


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
more citywide, less in entertainment district?

Package store separation and display guidelines


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
balance between more or less

alcohol sales and package stores


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
where to draw the line?

Alcohol sales curtailed


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
retail sales pushed back to 10 am

new regulations on sales and service of alcohol


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
new restrictions on hours