Ocean Drive business owners held a press conference Thursday to discuss alternatives to a proposal by Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine to ban the sale of alcohol in parts of South Beach after 2 a.m. and tighten noise regulations on the area.
The proposal followed the shooting deaths of two visitors to Miami Beach on one of the busiest weekends of the year. A parking dispute on South Beach Sunday left one man dead and the other was killed by police after a chase.
The episode revived a debate over the fate of Urban Beach Week, a Memorial Day event that draws thousands of young African-American tourists to the area each year. Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco called for an end to the event on Monday.
Levine’s proposal stops well short of that, but restrictions on liquor sales after 2 a.m. would apply year-round. Mike Palma, a partner in the group that owns the Clevelander Hotel, on Ocean Drive at 10th Street says the mayor’s proposal wouldn’t have helped to prevent recent crimes in South Beach.
“If you look at the last 10 major crimes [in South Beach], the time and where they happened had nothing to do with 2 a.m. close-down,” he said. “So we’re basically having a feel-good measure so people feel like there’s a win, but it’s not solving anything.”
Mayor Levine insists a quieter Ocean Drive without late-night drinks to buy would result in less crime overall.
David Wallack, who owns Mango’s, a fixture of the South Beach club scene, says people who come to party on Ocean Drive have an outsized impact on the city’s bottom line.
“They go to every café in South Beach,” he said. “They spend their money all over the city. That is what is at risk.”
Any proposal would have to go before the City Commission and could take several months to become law.