Vero Council discusses changing hours for alcohol service

VERO BEACH — Vero Beach City Council discussed the benefits and pitfalls of extending the hours alcohol can be sold, served, and consumed at licensed premises or vendor establishments in Vero Beach.

Currently, under city ordinance, businesses must stop the sale and service of alcohol by 1 a.m. But several cities and counties within immediate driving distance of Vero Beach allow the sale of alcohol until 2 a.m.

Included in the background information was a petition requesting the change of ordinance signed by 20 names representing 20 local food and beverage establishments in Vero Beach.

City Manager Jim O’Connor pointed out that part of the argument to extend hours is the popularity of patrons to consume alcohol at Vero Beach restaurants and bars until 1 a.m., then drive to an adjacent city and drink until 2 a.m., then drive back home to Vero Beach.

Councilwoman Pilar Turner asked if Police Chief David Currey expressed any concerns with the ordinance change to which O’Connor said he did not.

“Then it’s fine by me,” Turner said.

Vice Mayor Jay Kramer said “a lot of people go up to Brevard County or down to Fort Pierce and continue drinking.”

He added, the intent to keep drunk drivers off the road as much as possible was a good reason to amend the ordinance.

Councilman Craig Fletcher was opposed to the change.

“We have enough drunks out on the road – let’s get them off by 1,” Fletcher said.

In addition to the public safety issue, keeping people from driving after drinking from one city to the next, the point that local business owners would profit was also discussed.

No vote was taken as the item was intended for discussion purposes only, at the time of the meeting.

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