ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — Known for its white sugar sand and beautiful sunsets, St. Pete Beach attracts tourists from all over.
But there's one thing missing that many visitors are looking for - alcohol.
“It’s almost an expectation,” said TradeWinds Island Resort President Keith Overton. “If you’re going to pay the higher rates of a full-service hotel, you should be able to have a daiquiri or a Pina Colada sitting in your cabana.”
Overton and other local hotels support Tuesday night’s decision by St. Pete Beach city commissioners to allow alcohol consumption on the beachfront private property of waterfront hotels.
Commissioners unanimously approved the beachfront alcohol ordinance on its first reading Tuesday and will make its final vote on Aug. 22.
Alcohol would only be sold to registered hotel guests in cabana areas and would still be banned on all other areas of the beach.
But some full-time residents say that’s not right.
“I just feel that’s unfair,” said resident Susan Perodeau. “I don’t care if alcohol is allowed on the beach or not allowed, but it should be the same for everyone.”
Retired college professor Bill Pyle, who lives in a condo across from the Post Card Inn, has watched large crowds swell during Spring Break and wonders how the new exception will be enforced.
“The intoxication and rowdiness has become quite problematic,” he said. “You can imagine when there is a substantial crowd on the beach it would be virtually unenforceable."
City leaders say the new ordinance will make enforcement easier since it requires registered guests buying alcohol to wear special armbands similar to those nightclubs.
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