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Dixie, police work to reach accord on extended hours permit

By Staff | Apr 16, 2019

The city of Cape Coral and a South Cape venue may be closer to resolution over a suspension of the bar’s extended hours permit.

Attorneys for the Dixie Roadhouse are working with the Cape Coral Police Department to reach an agreement on what the venue will do to mitigate issues police say resulted in the suspension of a city permit that allowed the Dixie to remain open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

The permit suspension does not affect the club’s regular business hours.

During Monday’s Cape Coral City Council meeting, Police Chief David Newlan, Robert Shearman, attorney for the police, and Sawyer Smith, lawyer for the Dixie Roadhouse, met with Council for a progress report on the permit Newlan suspended in December following an altercation outside the venue.

Mayor Joe Coviello added the discussion to the agenda late Friday to learn about progress made, if any, or whether a hearing before Council needs to be held.

Remedies under discussion include the prohibition of biker colors; additional cameras, of which Dixie Roadhouse has 60 installed; a “banned” list; additional training for employees; a nickel-ride and Uber account for the establishment; and notifying police of changes in management.

Police also showed concern regarding weapons and the need for additional security, as well as the use of undercover observers.

Coviello said he liked that there seems to have been progress made and that he believes the parties could finish things up without having to go to a hearing.

“It has been four months now. We either need a proposal or a hearing,” Coviello said.

Councilmember John Gunter expressed concern over reported observations of people still coming in and out of the establishment just before close, as well as management changes being reported to the police..

Council agreed to continue the issue to May 6, which officials hope will provide time to iron out remaining details.

Smith said he is confident the Dixie Roadhouse will be able to get its 3 a.m. permit back.

“It’s very clear that Dixie Roadhouse is a good business for the city and it appears we’re going to come together and make sure these people can run a great operation here in Cape Coral,” Smith said.

The Cape Coral Police Department suspended the extended bar hours permit for the Dixie Roadhouse after an early-morning altercation on Dec. 8, 2018, that police say involved more than three dozen individuals outside and near the establishment.

Approximately 40 patrons reportedly left the Dixie Roadhouse shortly before its 3 a.m. closing time and fought on Southeast 47th Terrace and in the public parking lot across the street from the nightclub, according to the CCPD.