March 13, 2013

Miami Beach postpones discussion of liquor on the sand

Beachgoers can still enjoy an illegal drink on Miami Beach.

Alcohol sales on the beach will remain an illegal — yet unenforced — daily occurrence in Miami Beach — for now.

A discussion about whether to legalize boozing on the beach was deferred at Wednesday’s regular commission meeting.

Commissioner Jerry Libbin told The Miami Herald on Tuesday that he wants his fellow elected officials to hold off on a decision until the city can gather stakeholders — residents, hoteliers, Ocean Drive merchants — to tackle the issue together.

Wendy Kallergis, president of Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, wrote a letter to commissioners asking for them to hold off on the discussion.

“We have not had the opportunity to discuss and meet with our stakeholders to formulate a plan and recommendations in the best interest of our citizens and visitors,” she wrote.

Ocean-side drinking has been going on “for umpteen years,” Libbin said. That’s despite the fact that it’s against city code and the hotels’ agreements with Miami Beach, City Attorney Jose Smith has opined. But the city hasn’t enforced its own rules about the issue.

The timing of the discussion may have alarmed residents. With Spring Break in full swing, residents say rowdy crowds are trashing the beach.

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