Orlando will continue to block opening of new nightclubs downtown for another six months

Downtown Orlando won't be seeing any new nightclubs downtown (with limited exceptions) until at least late September

click to enlarge Orlando nightclub The Treehouse on East Pine Street - Photo via The Treehouse/Instagram
Photo via The Treehouse/Instagram
Orlando nightclub The Treehouse on East Pine Street
Orlando city commissioners voted Monday to extend a moratorium on new nightclubs downtown for another six months, through September 20, 2024.

The six-month moratorium, prompted by concerns such as a high concentration of nightclubs downtown and safety and security issues, was initially enacted as an ordinance last March, then extended for another six months in August. 

City commissioners signaled their intent to again extend the moratorium through an initial vote in February, with this latest vote on Monday solidifying that move. The moratorium officially expired on March 20, 2024.

According to city documents, the extension on the nightclub moratorium is meant to give city staff more time to perform outreach and research potential changes they could make to city code to better regulate nightclubs. The city is specifically looking into possible changes to land development codes or the regulation of alcoholic beverages to accomplish this.

The nightclub moratorium does offer some flexibility. For example, safe harbor provisions (a carve-out of sorts) are included for nightclubs that haven't yet opened, but which may be within a current permitting or related process ahead of their official opening.

City staff say there were a number of reasons they were looking to pursue new regulations. A lack of daytime activity in the downtown core, as well as concerns associated with the sometimes rowdy nightlife scene downtown on weekends, were some of the contributing factors to the decision to enact the moratorium in the first place.

The nightclub moratorium ordinance — driven in part by a July 2022 shooting downtown that injured seven people — was approved last year in conjunction with another, more controversial ordinance that placed new restrictions on the sale of alcohol after midnight. That ordinance requires existing club owners in the Downtown Entertainment Area to get a special permit to sell alcohol after midnight. It also established other security requirements, based on capacity, for late-night businesses that sell alcohol.

City staff do not predict any direct economic impact from the nightclub moratorium extension, which specifically applies to “the acceptance, processing and consideration of applications for development orders, development permits, building permits and zoning approvals for any new (which includes change of use and substantial improvement) nightclub use within the Downtown Orlando Community Redevelopment Area.”

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McKenna Schueler

News reporter for Orlando Weekly, with a focus on state and local government, workers' rights, and housing issues. Previously worked for WMNF Radio in Tampa. You can find her bylines in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, In These Times, Strikewave, and Facing South among other publications.
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