Winter Park, Fraser part ways on ordinance
April 22, 2010
WINTER PARK – While Fraser and Winter Park share many things, from a grocery store and a rec center to a police department and building department, the two towns don’t always see eye to eye.
That distinction was never so apparent as during the consideration of an ordinance proposed to both towns by Chief of Police Glen Trainor last month.
Winter Park’s Town Council unanimously approved the ordinance in March with little discussion. Fraser’s board of trustees debated the issue for two months, deciding last week to table it indefinitely.
The ordinance establishes, in Winter Park only, a “duty of liquor licensees to report illegal activities.” Among incidents that must be reported under the new law are: assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, harassment, public indecency, disorderly conduct and damaging property.
Trainor explained that while some bar owners in the area are responsible and already report these types of incidents, other owners kick disorderly patrons out on the street, creating more problems for the police department.
“If (an altercation) starts in a bar and moves outside, I think the bar owner should be held responsible, Trainor said.
Another issue is that “good” bar owners – those who do report incidents to the police – tend to get a bad mark on their record when it comes to renewing liquor licenses while “bad” bar owners – those who don’t report problems – end up looking clean on paper, Trainor said.
The ordinance will help level that playing field, putting the same requirement on all liquor license holders, he added.
Failure of a Winter Park bar owner or manager to report illegal activities could be punishable by up to $1,000 fine and a year in jail, according to the ordinance.
Fraser board members were uncomfortable with the power that the law could give to law enforcement officers as well as the negative effect that it could have on businesses owners.
“I think we need to look at it for what it says on the paper and not because it’s Glen Trainor,” said Mayor Fran Cook. “This has nothing to do with Glen. He runs an excellent police department.”
Board member and former bar owner David Pratt noted that the state’s liquor license already carries with it a long list of rules and regulations.
He equated the proposed regulation to seeing a parent slap a child in the grocery store parking lot and getting a ticket for not reporting it to the police.
Winter Park, which has more bars in its limits and went through a “show cause” process during one recent liquor license renewal, approved the ordinance without qualm. The new law goes into effect in Winter Park this month but will not be enforced until all the license owners can be contacted and provided some training on how to handle making the reports, Trainor said.
– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.