A Florida state judge has sided with a South Beach hotel that challenged Miami Beach’s cutoff for late-night partying.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko ruled in a hearing on Monday that moving the city’s “last call” for alcohol from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. in South Beach’s entertainment district was “unlawful,” according to The Miami Herald.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the popular Clevelander hotel on Ocean Drive over the earlier time, which took effect on May 22.
Butchko said the last call was “arbitrary, it is a violation of local ordinances, and that was unlawful.” She said it should have been pitched as a land development order as opposed to a general ordinance.
Kendall Coffey, an attorney for the Clevelander, told The Hill in a brief interview “the Clevelander, is very appreciative of all the work and consideration the trial judge put into reaching a thoughtful decision, and is hopeful this will open the door to discussions and dialogue with the city.”
In a statement to The Hill, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (D) said the city plans to appeal the ruling.
“Our residents should not be held prisoner to a business model that promotes the all-night hard partying that has generated an unsafe atmosphere in our City,” Gelber said. “We will appeal as it makes no sense, legal or otherwise, that the courts would force our residents to endure this kind of misconduct and disorder”
The Clevelander sued Miami Beach in mid-May seeking to enjoin the city from enforcing the alcohol sales rollback and street closures on Ocean Drive.
The complaint alleged that the city “has launched a series of regulatory attacks with the avowed purpose of destroying the economic viability of this internationally renowned community.”
In a separate filing, the city said that misbehavior encouraged by the hotel and other nightclubs “is precisely what the City seeks to address” by imposing the new restrictions.
Miami Beach was at the center of attention earlier this year as it dealt with large crowds of spring breakers ignoring COVID-19 protocols. City officials said in March that police had arrested more than 1,000 people.
Updated: 12:34 p.m.