Open Container law changed " now OK to drink alcohol in Winter Park public parks
May 6, 2009
You no longer have to hide that bottle of wine or beer you are drinking when the police drive by if you are in a public park in Winter Park.
On Tuesday night, the Winter Park Town Council voted to make the law better fit the town’s reality as a recreational community.
Originally, the council had discussed offering an open container special use permit to organized events in Hideaway Park.
But on further discussion, the council agreed to remove that added level of government and just make an exception in the current Open Container Ordinance for public parks – including Hideaway Park, Wolf Park and Confluence Park.
“When I voted for the open container law years ago, I was thinking it was to keep people from driving around town (with open containers),” said Councilor Vince Turner. “I didn’t look into it deeper. I don’t have a problem with people drinking in our parks.
“Good laws should be clear and I would like to clear up this ambiguity.”
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During the discussion, the council made clear what kind of drinking they found acceptable and what kind of drinking in the parks could still result in a visit from police. Acceptable: Sharing a bottle of wine during a free concert. Not acceptable: A group of guys backing up to the park with a keg and throwing a loud party. The latter will be charged with disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct.
Though the Open Container Ordinance now excludes public parks, it is still illegal to drink in parking lots, in alleys, on the sidewalk or on the highway in Winter Park.