Ocala city staff start ironing out the details of proposed ‘open container’ ordinance

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:03 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - One north central Florida city may have a ‘shot’ at getting an open container ordinance approved.

RELATED: Ocala City Council votes to move forward with ‘open container’ ordinance

The idea was first presented to the Ocala City Council last Tuesday. On Thursday the Marion County Legislative Delegation heard from city officials on the proposed ordinance.

The delegation voted unanimously to advance the ordinance on to the next step.

“For many years, the city has been working to become a regional destination,” Growth Management Planning Director, Patti Hitchcock said.

She said one of the main goals in presenting this ordinance to local and state officials, is to bring an economic boost to the area.

The ordinance was modeled after the policy at Celebration Pointe in Gainesville, but this law would not allow businesses to sell alcohol year round, just during special events approved by the city council.

“The streets are closed, there are barricades, and thee will be signage that says no alcohol beyond this point and all alcoholic beverages will be served in the event cup so it will be identifiable to the event organizers as well as the Ocala Police Department in order to maintain that control,” Hitchcock said.

The next step is for state lawmakers to discuss this proposal during the legislative session that starts in Jan.

Hitchcock said that staff will likely being drafting an amendment to city code before the legislative ends, so we could see this ordinance officially put into place in the summer.

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