Orlando leaders discuss additional safety measures after downtown shooting

A proposed ordinance has some pushback from Orlando bar owners and city commissioners. 

Orlando's City Commission discussed a proposed ordinance that claims to make downtown Orlando safer following a shooting in front of Wall Street Plaza several weeks ago that hurt seven people. The ordinance has three main points. It would improve parking lot safety with more lighting and require security until 3 a.m. It would also regulate outdoor speakers, require a special permit for bars to sell alcohol after midnight, and ask bars to have a security plan in place.  Many bar owners would like some language in the ordinance changed. 

"You can’t punish 30,000 a night that come out because of some bad apples," said John Sanfelippo, the co-owner of The Beacham Group. "We have to find a way to come together and let the bad actors know they're unwanted."

Sanfelippo said he worried about what the sound regulations would mean for his nightclub, especially when they have live music.  "I don’t think there’s anything that shows that sound attracts violence, and the way they want to measure is concerning," said Sanfelippo. "The mayor is trying to do what he can to make this right downtown, and work with the private sector however I think there are unintended consequences inside these documents that could put someone out of business that shouldn’t be put out of business."

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The Orlando Hospitality Alliance said they want to work with the city on the language to have a balance that works to make downtown safe and allow people to enjoy the downtown nightlife. 

"As owners and operators downtown, they take this extremely seriously," said Executive Director Dominique Greco. "The gang and gun violence is actually in the streets not the bars and nightclubs but in the streets."

City commissioners will reconvene on September 12 to further discuss this ordinance. 

"As far as controlling the pre-gaming or some would call it 'parking lot pimping' that happens during these events I think that's something that needs to be addressed because I think the perpetrators of some of these activities are probably not the ones who are coming out patronizing the businesses," said Commissioner Bakari Burns during the city meeting Monday.