ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando city commissioners are pushing the brakes for now on approving an ordinance aimed at reducing crime downtown. That final reading and vote were set to happen at Monday’s commission meeting, but Mayor Buddy Dyer deferred it until the next commission meeting on Sept. 26.
He said he’s directing his staff to adjust language regarding who is required to have a special use permit to operate a business after midnight downtown.
“We’re just clarifying some of the language in terms of how you obtain that and what the requirements are relating to that,” said Dyer.
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This ordinance was designed after a shooting near Wall Street and Orange Avenue back in July. Police say seven people were hurt.
As it stands now, the ordinance would require private parking lots open after 10 p.m. to have a security guard present and proper lighting. It also ensures there is compliance with the noise ordinance, including limiting the size of outdoor speakers.
The mayor said he requested the changes to the language on the special use permit after hearing from people who work in the nightlife industry. He wants to make sure it’s clear that it only applies to new business owners, change of ownership, and when there are substantial improvements or construction done to the business.
Some bar owners have spoken out against the noise ordinance, while others say it’s needed to help keep downtown safe.
“Nightclubs are not to blame, the sound of music is not to blame. We are here on the ground and we want our staff to be safe more than anyone,” a bar owner said during a meeting in August.
Orlando police are still looking for the shooter who fired into a crowd at South Orange Avenue and Wall Street Plaza. They do have some persons of interest and are still asking for witnesses to come forward.
That shooting brought changes to downtown as the city added security checkpoints for Friday and Saturday nights. City leaders said the focus is on stopping people with illegal weapons. Anyone with a concealed carry permit cannot be stopped from carrying a firearm into the secured area.
The locations have been used in the past on holidays, such as St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo, to limit how many people can enter the downtown area and help curb violence.
Since the checkpoints have been in place, city leaders said officers have not seized any guns or knives.
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