Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Oldsmar backs later hour for alcohol sales

OLDSMAR — If Pinellas County extends alcohol sales from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., Oldsmar will support it.

"It doesn't matter what time you make it," Mayor Jim Ronecker said during Tuesday's City Council meeting. "If they're going to drive drunk, they're going to drive drunk at 9 o'clock at night or 4 o'clock in the morning."

Bar owners have asked the County Commission to follow St. Petersburg's lead and add an extra hour of alcohol sales. (Whether St. Petersburg has the legal authority to exceed the county ordinance is an unsettled question.)

Some owners said they lost business to St. Petersburg in the first weekend of 3 a.m. sales and want the county to establish uniform hours throughout Pinellas.

County Commission Chairwoman Karen Seel requested that cities weigh in on the matter. She plans to bring the results of the poll back to the board at its July 27 meeting.

Clearwater, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs said the extra hour would put more drunken drivers on the road, but officials in Oldsmar aren't convinced that is true.

"Places that are open until 3 have more DUIs than places that are open until 2?" Council member Linda Norris asked.

"I'm not sure what the statistics would be," said Pinellas County sheriff's Deputy Rick Serra, one of Oldsmar's two community officers. "From my point of view, most of the people that are going to get that last-minute six-pack have already had enough. That's the bottom line."

St. Petersburg police saw a marked uptick in calls for service during the first weekend with longer drinking hours.

Oldsmar is in an unusual position. Unlike other Pinellas cities, portions of Oldsmar abut Hillsborough County, which already permits alcohol sales until 3 a.m.

"You can just go to the light right here at Race Track Road," Ronecker said. "Don't kid yourself if you don't think that's not happening."

If the commission approves the amendment, cities would have the option to create their own, more restrictive ordinances.

"We're not deciding anything," Ronecker said. "We're just saying, 'Hey, if the county wants to go forward, we'll move forward with you.' But if we don't want to go forward at that time, we have that ability to do so."

Rodney Thrash can be reached at or (727) 445-4167.

Also last night

Like Oldsmar, the Largo and Treasure Island city commissions on Tuesday said they would support 3 a.m. sales if the county approved such a measure.

Oldsmar backs later hour for alcohol sales 07/07/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Makeup days, accountability, charter schools and more


    MAKEUP DAYS: The Pasco County school district alters the daily schedule of 11 schools to make up teaching time missed because of Hurricane Irma, avoiding the …

    With students back in school after Hurricane Irma, schools across Florida begin scheduling makeup days for missed classroom time.
  2. How visiting a scenic Cuban resort can help save green sea turtles


    The Florida Aquarium has been collaborating with Cuba's National Aquarium since 2015 to help save coral dying throughout Caribbean waters.

    The beaches of Cuba's Cayo Largo are home to a large population of green sea turtle nests. The Florida Aquarium will lead eco-tours of Cayo Largo next year that will help protect the turtles and fund research.  [Avalon Outdoor]
  3. Photo of the Day for September 22, 2017 - Willets taking flight

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Dan Cleary of Madeira Beach, FL.

  4. Why a true freshman quarterback doesn't kill FSU's title hopes


    Florida State's James Blackman will make history Saturday when the No. 12 Seminoles host North Carolina State in their first game after Hurricane Irma.

    Florida State quarterback James Blackman warms up before a game against Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Atlanta. When Florida State's Deandre Francois, Georgia's Jacob Eason and Texas A&M's Nick Starkel all got hurt in their respective season openers, true freshmen ended up taking over the rest of the way.  (Joe Rondone/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)
  5. Puerto Rico could face months without electricity after Hurricane Maria (w/video)


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The eye of Hurricane Maria was nearing the Turks and Caicos early Friday as Puerto Rico sought to recover from the storm's devastation.

    A pregnant woman carries empty plastic bottles to collect water a day after the impact of Hurricane Maria, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Thursday, September 21, 2017. As of Thursday evening, Maria was moving off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic with winds of 120 mph (195 kph). The storm was expected to approach the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas late Thursday and early Friday. [Associated Press]