Referendum required for Treasure Island beach alcohol ban
TREASURE ISLAND - The City Commission heard more demands Wednesday to ban alcohol on the beach, but this time commissioners had a simple answer.
Alcohol on the beach is a right enshrined in the City Charter in 1986 by a referendum placed on the ballot by voters. And it can't be changed without another citizen initiative, said City Attorney Maura Kiefer.
Large and sometimes unruly weekend crowds at Sunset Beach, drawn by the popular bar Caddy's on the Beach, have prompted complaints from some residents of the southern Treasure Island neighborhood about parking, littering, drunkenness, public urination and disorderly conduct.
The City Commission in March decided against a temporary, emergency alcohol ban for Sunset Beach in the face of overwhelming opposition from Sunset Beach residents.
City officials said adding portable toilets, extra beach patrols and stepped up parking enforcement in recent months seemed to be working, but huge crowds on July 4 stirred more ire among some Sunset Beach residents.
So the commission called a workshop to solicit solutions from residents.
At Wednesday night's workshop, representatives from the St. Petersburg Lions Club, which owns a beachfront clubhouse near Caddy's that is a popular venue for weddings, renewed calls to ban alcohol. As evidence of the poor behavior by some beachgoers, they pointed to a video of a wedding crasher posted on YouTube. The club worries that such behavior will discourage future weddings.
Which seems to be the goal of whoever posted the video.
UPDATE: The video was removed from YouTube a couple of hours after it was posted here. For those who missed it, the video showed a young man smashing into an overflowing trash can on the beach behind the Lions Club as a wedding was under way. Laughter can be heard from whomever was holding the camera and his friends. It ends with a suggestion that holding a wedding on the beach during spring break near Caddy's is not a good idea.)
Tom Scherberger, Times staff writer