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Miami Beach issues ‘death sentence for entertainment district,’ attorney says

Miami Beach faces lawsuit over 2 a.m. last call to sell alcohol in area of entertainment district

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Bar owners are clashing with city officials over an ongoing effort to change the entertainment district. They oppose the repeal of the noise exemption and turning Ocean Drive into a pedestrian-only road.

The Clevelander, owned by the Jesta Group, filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on Monday against Miami Beach over the new 2 a.m. last call to sell alcohol in an area of the entertainment district.

Attorney Kendall Coffey said The Clevelander has tried to engage Miami Beach, but the city hasn’t been responsive.

“For whatever reasons, they have decided that the only outcome they want is a death sentence for the entertainment district,” Coffey said.

The May 22-Dec. 8 last call will affect 44 businesses in the district on Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, south of 16th Street, but not on Washington Avenue, according to City Manager Alina Hudak.

Miami Beach voters will get to decide in November if the 2 a.m. last call should become permanent.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber defended the commissioners’ 4-3 decision on the last call. He said this and other measures are necessary to change the area’s culture.

“If you look at the metrics for crime, it all seems to come from this little area — really just a few blocks in the entertainment district,” Gelber said.

Gelber said there is no amount of money that is worth the amount of crime that stems from the area.

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About the Authors:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.