Thursday, June 8, 2017

Message from the Mayor of Miami Beach: Let the Residents Decide!

Philip Levine
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today, the City Commission voted unanimously to send a ballot question to voters in November to terminate outdoor alcohol sales and consumption on Ocean Drive from 5th Street to 15th Street  at 2:00 a.m. instead of 5:00 a.m. This does not include indoor portions of hotels.

Ocean Drive's raucous atmosphere negatively impacts residents and erodes the Miami Beach brand, all year long. I want to bring back Ocean Drive to its glory days, so it can be enjoyed by families and residents. To accomplish this goal, we need to create a safe atmosphere so all people can enjoy Lummus Park and the restaurants fronting Ocean Drive. Limiting alcohol sales after 2 a.m. will decrease alcohol fueled violence and crime that occurs in these late night hours.
Ocean Drive now has the highest concentration of police resources in the City. In June of 2014, when Chief Oates took office, there were no significant full-time resources dedicated to Ocean Drive or the entertainment district. Chief Oates has reorganized the department and dedicated resources specifically to address crime and quality-of-life issues. Due to these efforts, major crime has dropped nearly 16% in 2016 and crime continues to trend downward in 2017. In the last six weeks, five out of ten officers designated to Ocean Drive have been injured protecting this area. Throwing more dollars into policing will not solve this problem. Last year the police force spent $814,812 to keep Ocean Drive safe after 2 a.m., however, the city only collected $197,892 in resort taxes for sales made between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Today, I also brought forth an ordinance to remove the noise ordinance exemption on Ocean Drive from 5th Street to 15th Street. This prohibits music from being projected from properties into the street and sidewalk. By reducing excessive noise in the streets, the atmosphere will be toned down. Today, the Commission approved changing package liquor sales in the entertainment district from 8 a.m. to midnight to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. As a Commission, we will be looking at introducing legislation that will roll back package liquor sales even further, to prohibit package liquor sales after 8 p.m. in this area. By addressing noise and alcohol sales together, we are one step closer to realizing a new vision for this iconic district.

Philip Levine
Mayor of Miami Beach

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