Miami Beach

South Beach residents worry over new ‘party zone’ near West Avenue

Residents in the West Avenue and Palm View neighborhoods are worried a bustling club scene could take over the western part of South Beach and create loud, rowdy crowds late at night.
Residents in the West Avenue and Palm View neighborhoods are worried a bustling club scene could take over the western part of South Beach and create loud, rowdy crowds late at night. Miami Herald file

Many West Avenue and Palm View residents are worried their neighborhoods could take center stage in a new burgeoning South Beach entertainment district, so the city is looking to create regulations on future alcohol establishments.

Residents in the West Avenue Neighborhood Association have grown concerned about the revelers who pour out of Bodega Taqueria and Tequila on 16th Street when the popular restaurant and bar closes at 5 a.m. They’ve complained of noise once people spill out into the street and the debris they leave behind.

Gayle Durham, the association’s president, told the Miami Herald she and others are worried about losing the neighborhood’s relative peace and quiet to possible future nightclubs that may want to replicate Bodega’s success. She’s fielded complaints of drunken partygoers stumbling out of the bar, getting into fights and causing a ruckus that keeps neighbors up at night.

“The question for West Avenue and Alton Road is will we become Miami Beach’s next entertainment zone and party zone?” she said.

Miami Beach Commissioner Joy Malakoff said people living in the Palm View Historic District are also worried places north of Lincoln Road will open and attract loud and rowdy late-night crowds. She initiated the discussion at Wednesday’s land use committee meeting.

I think we have to do more to protect the quality of life of residents who live within 100 feet of areas that are opening restaurants and bars and entertainment establishments.

Miami Beach Commissioner Joy Malakoff

Palm View is a small swath of mostly single-family homes north of 17th Street and south of Collins Canal between Lenox Court and Meridian Avenue.

Commissioners directed city planners to draft an ordinance for future consideration that would apply to properties within 100 feet of West Avenue and the Palm View neighborhoods, which would include some areas currently zoned for medium-to-intense commercial development along the east side Alton Road and the south side of 17th Street.

The details remain to be hashed out. Some preliminary ideas include having outdoor bars close at midnight and indoor businesses close at 2 a.m.

Malakoff said the city has to strike a balance between the interests of residents and businesses. Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán agreed with finding that balance, noting that she’s sensitive to residents’ worries, but a vibrant nightlife is part of the reason Miami Beach’s businesses compete with other hot spots like Wynwood.

“I don’t believe that people come to visit Miami Beach for the peace and quiet,” she said.

For his part, Bodega operator Joseph Natale told commissioners he has heard the complaints, and has already hired additional security guards, asked staff to clean up litter and will look into possibly hiring off-duty police officers to manage the crowd. He pledged to work with the city going forward.

“Between having a very loyal local following, as well as a tourist following, Bodega is a wonderful place,” he said. “We just definitely need to work on minimizing the disruptions, which I am completely dedicated to.”

Miami Beach planning staffers will draft an ordinance for commissioner to consider in the coming months.

Joey Flechas: 305-376-3602, @joeflech