Voters reject Ocean Drive 2 a.m. alcohol ban

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Voters voiced their opinions on the Ocean Drive 2 a.m. alcohol ban, Tuesday evening, ultimately deciding to reject the ballot proposal.

The Ocean Drive Ballot Question proposed that the City of Miami Beach should end drinking at 2 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. along the 10-block section of Ocean Drive, between Fifth Street and 15th Street.

If it had been approved, all business establishments on Ocean Drive, except for the indoor portions of bars, would have had to stop serving alcohol at the 2 a.m. cutoff mark.

The business community in Miami Beach celebrated the result of the vote.

“The joy of celebrating life won today,” said Mango’s Tropical Cafe owner David Wallack.

“The voting residents in this city value tourism, value Ocean Drive, and saw through that this was a very, very poor referendum,” said Joshua Wallack from Mango’s Tropical Cafe.

High-profile problems like fatal shootings, stabbings and booze-fueled disruptions — many of them caught on video in recent months — helped spawn the referendum.

Residents who approved of the rollback believed the ban would help reduce crime in the area, while some business owners spoke out to say that it would be terrible for business and tourism.

“This is a crime zone,” said Mitch Novick, owner of the Sherbrooke Hotel and an anti-crime advocate. “The entertainment district is a crime zone. It will continue to be a crime zone until city leaders find the wherewithal to address the zoning.”

Novick said he wanted to see the rollback, but wants zoning changes and a quality of life improvement in Miami Beach.

Incoming Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber, fresh off his election night victory, also shared his reaction to the decision.

“The 2 a.m. thing failed, but that doesn’t stop the problem,” said Gelber. “We have a real issue with the crime on Ocean Drive and, frankly, in other places.”

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