Cape may revisit 4 a.m. bar closure time
The city of Cape Coral may again revisit a proposal to allow bars in the South Cape to extend their hours.
Councilmember John Carioscia told his fellow board members Monday that with the $13 million Southeast 47th Terrace streetscape project under way, it might be time to revisit allowing bars to remain open until 4 a.m.
The 4 a.m. closing time, as opposed to 2 a.m., was tried for a one-year trial in 2015. After complaints from residents and a police analysis that showed an increase in impaired driving and other crimes, the then-sitting Council opted not to make the pilot program permanent.
Motions to increase the on-duty police presence – as opposed to venue-paid off-duty officers as was used during the trial period – did not persuade the elected board, which deadlocked on the issue after reconsideration.
Former council member Richard Leon, a supporter of extended hours, said he would look to bring forward an ordinance that addressed issues raised but nothing has yet come to the table for discussion.
Carioscia said he knows the previous 4 a.m. ordinance wasn’t perfect, and that only two bars in the South Cape took advantage of the 4 a.m. closing time during the trial.
City Manager John Szerlag said based on the previous analysis, if Council moves forward and approves extended hours, the city will have to hire five more full-time police officers.
Police Chief Dave Newlan will re-examine the data from the first try at 4 a.m. closings and bring a report back to Council.
In other business:
n Council approved three ordinances brought forth by Newcom Real Properties that would change the zoning on three plots of land on Chiquita Boulevard from residential to marketplace residential for the purpose of creating a transitional area between commercial and residential uses along Chiquita Boulevard and homes to the east.
As the residential zoning is inconsistent with the commercial future land use, property cannot be developed there. As marketplace residential is the only zoning district consistent with the Commercial Activity Center future land use, approval would allow for development.
n During citizens input, Ed and Sue Hawkins expressed displeasure over truck traffic on Northwest 26th and 29th Terrace as a way to avoid the Burnt Store construction.
Ed Hawkins said there was a sign that was removed from their street prohibiting large trucks until August. Since then, the problem has only increased and presents a danger for residents.
“We have elderly people, dogwalkers and children playing all the time. It’s disheartening. When the signs were up, everyone obeyed. Now, truckers don’t obey because the signs aren’t there,” Sue Hawkins said. “We just want everyone on our street to be safe.”
Newlan said he will look into the matter, perhaps by either returning the signs to the area or by stricter enforcement.