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Treasure Island, Madeira Beach tell county 3 a.m. bar closing time is okay

TREASURE ISLAND — Both Treasure Island and neighboring Madeira Beach gave Pinellas County a green light Tuesday to extend late-night drinking hours to 3 a.m.

Pinellas County Commission Chairman Karen Seel had asked each of the county's municipalities if they are for, against or indifferent to the proposed change in the countywide drinking hours. If the change is approved, the cities won't have to adopt the extended hours.

"Our officers believe there will be minimal impact in extending (serving alcohol) one more hour," Treasure Island police Chief Tim Casey told the City Commission.

Treasure Island even appears ready to go a step further to allow bars and restaurants to open an hour earlier on Sunday mornings. At present, the earliest a mimosa or Bloody Mary can be served on Sundays in Treasure Island is 11 a.m.

A 10 a.m. opening, the same as is now allowed in nearby Madeira Beach, will require two commission votes and could not go into effect until sometime in August at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Madeira Beach Mayor Pat Shontz said one more hour of late night drinking is not a "big thing" in her town.

The city's current codes ban the serving of alcoholic beverages past 2 a.m.

However, even if the county does change its rules, Madeira Beach will not immediately adopt the change.

"We will wait and see what happens if the county passes it," said Shontz, who prefers keeping the present 2 a.m. closing time.

In contrast, the City Commission in nearby St. Pete Beach not only has no issue with the drinking hour change, it may beat the county in making the change official.

On Tuesday, the St. Pete Beach commission is slated to take the first of two required votes on a revised ordinance that would allow bars to continue to serve alcoholic beverages until 3 a.m.

The move to later drinking hours began this spring when St. Petersburg changed its closing hours to 3 a.m. in order to better compete with establishments in Tampa, where the closing hour is 3 a.m.

The County Commission will consider applying a similar 3 a.m. closing time countywide at its July 27 meeting.

Treasure Island, Madeira Beach tell county 3 a.m. bar closing time is okay 07/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 9, 2010 6:48pm]
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