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Seminole to revisit two rules for bars

This time, the under-21 ban and extra security will get separate council votes.

By ANNE LINDBERG, Times Staff Writer
Published January 25, 2008


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It's back.

An ordinance that would ban patrons younger than 21 from standalone bars is about to come back before the council members who narrowly defeated it in October.

But this time, the proposal will be split in two to give council members a chance to vote separately on the under-21 issue and a plan to require certain Seminole bars to hire off-duty deputies to keep the peace.

Council members had no problem with the requirement for hiring off-duty deputies but had to vote that down along with the under-21 rule because both were part of the same proposal and could not be severed.

This time, it appears likely council members will agree to require standalone bars with an occupant load of more than 100 patrons to hire extra security under certain circumstances.

The trigger would come if the sheriff thinks the bar needs more security to keep the peace.

The sheriff's request would go before Seminole's special master, who would decide if the bar should have more security. The bar owner would have to pay for the extra help.

But it is equally likely that the council will tussle over the under-21 proposal.

While all members seem willing to go along with the proposal in principle, several of them want to grandfather Boomerz and Page II, the only two bars in the city that would be affected by the ordinance.

The grandfather clause would allow Boomerz and Page II to continue allowing customers younger than 21 into the bars, but it would be withdrawn if either bar broke the law.

Other council members oppose the idea of grandfathering the two bars, saying, among other things, that it would not be fair to new bars that might open. The new bars would be bound by the rule and could be at a competitive disadvantage with Boomerz and Page II.

The original proposal applied only to freestanding bars with a capacity of more than 100.

The new proposal could extend the ban to all freestanding bars in the city, no matter how large they are. That would be a total of four bars, O'Malley and Hammerheads as well Boomerz and Page II.

The new ordinance is scheduled to come back before the council during a workshop so members can once again discuss the details. No such workshop has been scheduled.

If the council still wants the ban, it would go to Seminole's Development Review Board and then back to the council for at least two readings and a public hearing before becoming law.

Seminole officials proposed the original ordinance last year after incidents at both Boomerz and Page II.

[Last modified January 24, 2008, 21:30:44]


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