With all due hilarity, the Orlando city government sneakily resurrected its decade-old plan to expand downtown drinking hours to 3 a.m. earlier this year, something it swore it was doing with both transparency and economic development in mind. Except much of what the city was attempting to do – via private meetings among the muckety-mucks of the Downtown Development Board, initially – amounted to making things more costly for bars to operate downtown. Bars would be required to obtain permits for every concert, hire off-duty police officers for security and purchase expensive ID scanners in exchange for the glory of an extra hour of serving booze, all with the added cost of losing the 18-21 crowd downtown. The controversy spread wider than the Orange Avenue corridor, though, because many neighborhood bars resented the fact that there would be separate rules for bars operating within the same city’s limits, added regulations or not. In the end, the plan was effectively silenced, at least until it can sneak its way back up the secret gutter again.
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