Plant City Commission took the first step at its March 25th meeting on resetting some of our local controls on the sale of alcohol in Plant City contained in Section 10-62 of the Plant City Code.
Using its regulatory power, in addition to modifying controls on alcohol throughout the city, the new ordinance would provide a boost for the city’s downtown core and its long-planned downtown expansion, Midtown. Plant City is using the time-honored regulatory power of local government to limit the direction and magnitude of development in some areas and to accelerate those factors in favored ones.
We start from the basis of our existing alcohol regulatory control ordinance. Although State 1COP and 2COP licenses allow the sale of beer or wine with or without the sale of food, there are currently no locations in Plant City operating with these licenses and the city desires to allow businesses with 1COP and 2COP to operate within the city. Section 10-62 currently allows restaurants and adult theatres throughout the city to be located, in a few categories of commercial zoning districts, at least 500 feet from churches, schools or public recreation areas; bars, package stores, and bottle clubs must be in those same zoning districts and at least 1,000 feet from churches, schools, day care centers or public recreation areas. In addition, restaurants must contain no less than 50 seats and derive at least 51 percent of their gross revenue from the sale of food.
The newly-proposed ordinance would encourage development in the Downtown Core and Midtown by allowing bona-fide restaurants which meet certain criteria to sell any alcoholic beverage on their premises, including adjacent sidewalk cafes. Those criteria include being able to serve a minimum of 100 customers, being at least 2,500 square feet, and deriving no less than 51 percent of their gross revenue from the sale of food and nonalcoholic beverages that are prepared, served, and consumed on the premises. There would be no distance requirement from churches, schools, day cares, or public recreation areas.
To take advantage of these new, less stringent criteria for the downtown core and Midtown, a restaurant wanting to serve alcoholic beverages beyond beer and wine would have to be larger and could not count take-out food in its gross revenue calculation.
However, restaurants in the downtown core or Midtown wanting to sell only beer and wine for on-premises consumption could be smaller, not meeting the bona-fide restaurant requirements, regardless of their distance from churches, schools, day cares, or public recreation areas.
Within the city but beyond the downtown core or Midtown, beer and wine for off-premises consumption only could be sold as long as it met the criteria of the zoning district. For on-premises consumption the requirement to meet the criteria of the zoning district would still apply, and restaurants and adult theaters would need to be 500 feet from any church, school, day care, or public recreation area. Bars, package stores, and bottle clubs would need to be 1,000 feet from them.
No changes in the enforcement of Section 10-62 are proposed, and anyone convicted of violating any of the ordinance’s provisions could be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 , by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, or both.