According to the minutes of the latest Miami Beach City Commission meeting, Mayor Philip Levine has succeeded in moving his city one step towards securing a complete ban on alcohol sales in the city’s sidewalk cafes, bars and patios between 2.00 a.m. and 8.00 a.m. Previously, city by-laws allowed the last call inside and outside at 5.00 a.m.
In the meeting which was held on Wednesday, the issue of alcohol sales at night was the main item discussed by the commission’s members. They all agreed to give an initial approval of the Mayor’s proposal to prohibit the selling of alcohol at sidewalk cafes for the six hours between 2.00 a.m. and 8.00 a.m. The ban proposal, which had been scaled down from the original format that was suggested by the Mayor, was able to pass on first reading. It will come up again for a possible public hearing on May 20.
Initially, the Mayor had proposed that all outdoor areas such as patios, sidewalk cafes and outside bars cease selling alcohol as from 2.00 a.m.
The new decree will now only apply to sidewalk cafes, with several of them that are located along South Beach’s sidewalk, especially along Ocean Drive, set to be affected. Following the city commission’s unanimous vote to initially approve his proposals, Mayor Levine hailed the decision as the first step towards making securing the city and cleaning up Ocean Drive. He decried the current state of the drive, terming it a “blight” due to the number of drunken revelers that fill it at night.
Commissioner Michael Grieco supported the Mayor’s sentiments concerning the proposed alcohol sales ordinance, terming it quite reasonable since it is about the consumption of alcohol on the city’s property after 2.00 a.m.
Other items that were discussed by the commissioners in the Wednesday meeting include police-involved shootings and 4-way stops.
In a bid to show support for a need for the ongoing scrutiny of police across the nation, the commissioners backed a new policy in the police department concerning police-involved shootings. Miami Beach Police Chief, Dan Oates proposed that his department was ready to allow Miami-Dade police to conduct investigations on police involved-shootings at any time that he and City Manager Jimmy Morales saw the necessity to. This idea was supported by other members of the commission, with prisoners dying in police custody also included in the new policy.
Commissioner Joy Malakoff brought to the attention of the commission the existence of intersections with 2-way stops occurring in between intersections with 4-way stops in some neighborhoods, something that often confuses many drivers. Commissioner Michael Grieco advocated for additional 4-way stops to help solve this issue. But since the county must sign off on any stop signs, Morales promised to raise this issue with the county so that a decision can be made at the city level about the best course of action to take.
Members of the commission will next hold their next meeting on May 20 at 8:30 a.m. in the Miami Beach City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Dr.