Flagler Beach considering curfew for minors in light of safety concerns

Flagler Beach business owners say they fully support the city's proposed curfew for minors. 

"I think everybody's heard the old expression, including Chief Doughney, that nothing good happens after 11 p.m. and we're firm believers in that, as well," said restaurant owner Mike Crave.

The city staff said the proposed curfew would be in the best interests of the city, its residents, businesses, and visitors. This would be in accordance with existing state law. 

Police chief Matt Doughney said this was all about safety. "This is not about restricting kids, it's more about being safe for the children of our community," he said.

Doughney said they’d seen an uptick in teens on the streets after hours. "Other than 7-Eleven, the only thing open are bars. We don't need our kids out drinking. We had a young lady last week at 1 a.m. trying to buy alcohol from the 7-Eleven. She was 13 years old."

Doughney said the law wasn't absolute, and it would be up to the officer to determine whether or not to cite the youngster, based on the situation's circumstances. Kelly Hornsby-Dyer, a local restaurant manager, said if the police were backing the ordinance, she supported them. 

"I've seen them operate from a small scale to a large scale, and they have nothing but impressed me. If he believes in it, I believe in it," she said.

Under the ordinance, minors can't be outside between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on the following day, Sunday through Thursday, or 12 a.m. through 6 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. 

Minors expelled from school can't be within a thousand feet of a school from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during school hours. Police could issue fines of $50 for each curfew violation. "If there's nothing good gonna happen, something bad is gonna happen. That's what we're trying to prevent," Doughney said.

If it passes, Flagler Beach wouldn't be the only Central Florida city with a curfew for minors. New Smyrna Beach passed one in 2022.