West Palm Beach approves restrictions to alcohol sales

The West Palm Beach City Commission on Monday unanimously passed an ordinance requiring “extended hours permits” for Clematis Street bars and restaurants serving alcohol late into the night. Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell said that she felt the concerns of the business owners were addressed and she was “very comfortable” with the ordinance as it was.

The amendments, recommended by a city-appointed task force of downtown business owners and neighborhood representatives, maintain that no more than two establishments per two-story block be allowed to serve alcohol after midnight. Additional requirements must be met to obtain the permit, including one trained security staff on site for every 150 occupants. The group also proposed corrective measures for an establishment that gets three permit violations within 30 days.

Though Mitchell said the city was moving in the right direction, she recommended revisiting the ordinance at a later date to monitor its progress.

Also approved without dissent were several changes to Northwood University’s master plan, including selling over nine acres at the school’s entrance off Military Trail. The university envisions the property housing two businesses that would provide internship opportunities for university students. Northwood, which hopes to eventually add an entrance on the east side of its campus with access to Village Boulevard, is currently discussing the matter with the owner of the Village Commons Shopping Center.

In other business, the City Commission unanimously approved site plan changes allowing for construction of a new fire stationon Congress Avenue. Initially, the old station at that location was to be kept operational while the new one was being built. But escalating maintenance and operations costs required that the staff be relocated and the old station demolished to make way for a new one.

City engineering officials said the project has already been reviewed by federal emergency officials, and the city has applied for a $1.7 million grant to help fund construction. The plan includes an emergency operations center designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane — the only building of its kind in the city’s inventory, city officials said. The current station, built in 1969, was damaged by the 2004 hurricanes. It has the highest call volume of the city’s eight stations.

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