tampabay.com

Two bars likely to dodge age ban

The under-21 ban would still apply to many new standalone bars.

By ANNE LINDBERG, Times Staff Writer
Published September 23, 2007


Seminole- Council members tweaked and tinkered with a proposed ordinance to ban anyone under 21 from certain bars before deciding to give the bars a second chance.

The revamped rule would grandfather in the two existing bars covered under the ordinance. Patrons younger than 21 would still be allowed in those two bars - Page II and Boomerz - unless there is a violation of Seminole rules. Then a special hearing officer would have the choice of banning under-21 patrons from the premises or forcing the bars to lock up their alcohol when those younger customers are there.

Any new standalone bar with a capacity of more than 100 would not get the same consideration. Those news bars would have to obey the ordinance from the minute they opened their doors.

The suggestion to grandfather Page II and Boomerz came from council member Peter Hofstra during a workshop Wednesday.

"We're saying basically (that) we're going to give you one more chance ... but if you violate it once ... you blew it," Hofstra said.

Hofstra said he would not support the ordinance if the grandfather clause was omitted.

Three council members - Pat Hartstein, Bob Matthews and Dan Hester - agreed with Hofstra. But Hester said he was "not firm" in his support of the grandfathering idea.

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall, 9199 113th St. N. Another public hearing and the final council vote are scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 9.

Council members also discussed taking the first step toward building a community center that would house the Seminole Chamber of Commerce and the Seminole Historical Society as well as public meeting rooms.

City Manager Frank Edmunds said an extremely rough ballpark guess for the cost of such a building is $1.4-million to $1.6-million.

"It is as ballpark as you can get," Edmunds said of the estimate.

But the building cannot be constructed unless the council first declares it will serve a public purpose. Council members are expected to do that at Tuesday's meeting.

A finding that such a building would serve a public purpose would not commit the council to building the structure, but that does have to be done before it can be constructed.

At least one council member thought taxpayers would like the concept.

"I think you might be pleasantly surprised at the community support on this one," Hartstein said.