Miami Beach puts restrictions on liquor sales to ensure safety

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - During a City of Miami Beach commission meeting, Wednesday, officials settled on two ordinances that will put restrictions on liquor sales in order to keep people safe during spring break — but not everyone is too enthusiastic.

Miami Beach resident and hotel owner Mitch Novick, who spoke during the meeting, said accessibility to alcohol has increased the amount of criminal activity on the Beach by encouraging 24-hour partying and drunken behavior. “All hours, day and night, there’s chaos on the streets of my neighborhood,” he said. “To go after liquor stores is a band-aid for the much larger issue.”

He explained that the problems he sees are bigger than the two hot topics commissioners voted on, which both deal with liquor sales on Miami Beach.

Complaints like Novick’s are part of the reason why commissioners have unanimously moved forward to limit liquor stores from opening within 1,500 feet from each other.

“Because right now we have a proliferation of liquor stores throughout the city,” explained City of Miami Beach commissioner Ricky Arriola. “Before you know it, you can have entire blocks that have really gotten blighted, and so, what we’re trying to do is space out the liquor stores in our city.”

Commissioners also moved forward to roll back the time on when liquor can be purchased from the current 10 a.m. back to the original 8 a.m.

“Some of us have gotten complaints from our residents who find it to be inconvenient when they’re doing their grocery shopping for the weekend, or for their family outings, to have to make a second trip,” explained Arriola.

However, not all commissioners are on board with this second ruling, since the current ordinance prevents homeless people from purchasing alcohol in the early hours of the morning.

“The reasons for not rolling back the 8 a.m. was when we had the officer actually come here and tell us that there were people lining up outside near Fienberg-Fisher K-8 Center drunk or waiting for that purchase of a single bottle.”

Ultimately, commissioners settled to move forward on both ordinances. They will be heard once again during a commission meeting on April 26.

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