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Palm Coast Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 3 years ago

Bottle club ban moves forward: 'Pretty much nobody wants these things'

The proposed ban will go before the Palm Coast City Council for final approval.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Bottle clubs may be added to a list of banned land uses in the city of Palm Coast that includes asphalt plants, puppy mills and hog farms. 

Flagler Beach and Ormond Beach already have regulations banning the clubs.

"Pretty much nobody wants these things, to be honest with you," Flagler County Sheriff's Office Palm Coast Precinct Commander Mark Carman told city Planning Board members at a Feb. 17 meeting. "I've been here a long time, and this is one of the ones we've gotten a lot of feedback on that's supported us in not wanting a (bottle club) business. We've dealt with the internet cafes, we've dealt with the pain clinics — We didn't get this kind of feedback on anything like we are on this. This is — business owners do not want this in their city."

The Palm Coast Planning and Land Development Regulation Board voted unanimously at the Feb. 17 meeting to establish a formal definition of bottle clubs and add them to the list of land uses that are banned under city code "due to their potential incompatibility with current development trends in the city, their potential deleterious effects upon the public health, safety, and welfare, and the potential likelihood that they will create nuisances and significant adverse impacts upon adjacent land uses," according to the code.

Bottle clubs, clubs where patrons bring their own alcohol and have it served back to them, have been linked to crime in other Florida cities, and about a dozen local businesses complained to city officials when the owner of a former Volusia County bottle club proposed putting a bottle club in City Marketplace.

The Palm Coast City Council established a moratorium on the issuance of permits for bottle clubs and told city planning staff to look into regulating or banning the clubs. The Planning Board's recommendation to ban the clubs will have to come back before the City Council for a final vote.

According to numbers presented by Carman, one bottle club in Volusia County had 453 emergency calls — with 44 fights and two associated homicides — over a 33-month period. A cluster of three bottle clubs in Hillsborough County had 130 emergency calls — including 12 cases of battery and four shootings, with one fatality — in one year.


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