TREASURE ISLAND — Drinking alcohol on weekends and holidays is now illegal on most of Sunset Beach.
After more than two hours of debate Tuesday night, the City Commission unanimously decided to ban consumption of alcohol in areas where rowdy, drunken crowds have gathered on weekends during the past few months.
The alcohol ban starts just south of the Island Inn at about 99th Avenue and extends south on Sunset Beach to the north side of the Sunset Chateau condominiums at about 85th Avenue.
It does not apply to the property of Caddy's on the Beach, which extends to the waterline on the Gulf of Mexico.
The restriction on alcohol use on the beach will expire Oct. 3, but may be revived next summer.
The commission is considering putting a referendum question on the March ballot asking residents to approve a permanent but as yet undefined restriction on alcohol consumption on the beach.
Complaints about rowdy crowds at Sunset Beach are not new, but residents and officials say the partying has gotten out of hand this spring.
During one weekend in April, police arrested 21 people on various charges including underage drinking, drug possession, drunken driving, fighting, disorderly conduct, trespassing and child neglect.
City Manager Reid Silverboard and police Chief Tim Casey recommended the commission change the alcohol rules.
Reaction to the alcohol ban has been mixed among residents, with some fearing the party will just move to other areas of the beach.