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Miami Beach voters to decide whether to restrict outdoor alcohol sales on Ocean Drive

Mayor, city leaders hope cutting alcohol sales at 2 a.m. will curtail violence

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach commissioners voted Wednesday to send a ballot question to voters in November that would allow them to choose whether to ban outdoor alcohol sales on Ocean Drive after 2 a.m.

"It'll provide five months of debate, five months of educated debate, but I don't believe city-wide we are a 2 a.m. town," Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco said. 

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and other city leaders said that they want to trim alcohol sales on Ocean Drive in hopes of bringing down the escalated crime in the area.

The proposal to cut alcohol sales at 2 a.m. along Ocean Drive came after a violent Memorial Day weekend in South Beach, where one man died and another man was injured in a shooting that stemmed from a dispute about a parking space.

Police said a person was stabbed days later with a bottle during a brawl near Sixth Street.

Levine said that he believed ending alcohol sales at 2 a.m. could have prevented the Memorial Day weekend violence in South Beach.

"We have six officers that are hurt now just on Ocean Drive," Levine said. 

However, some business owners and bar managers said a 2 a.m. cutoff for alcohol sales would hurt Miami Beach businesses and have asked the city to pause and study the economic and public relations impact the decision would have on the rest of the beach. 

"There's been a lot of effort put forth, and I'd hate to see that go to waste and not keep momentum going because we are onto something," Mike Palma of the Clevelander said.  

Ocean Drive businesses are currently allowed to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. 

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.