The Apopka City Council voted 3-2 to amend a Code of Ordinances that restricts the sale of alcoholic beverages within city limits. The amendment (Ordinance 2612) relaxes restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

The Apopka City Council Agenda Packet, provided by City staff for the December 20th meeting, stated:

“The City of Apopka’s alcoholic beverage ordinance contains outdated requirements that have the potential of prohibiting various businesses. Distance requirements prohibit alcoholic beverage sales/consumption within 750 feet of churches, schools, government property or buildings and public parks. Because all roads are actually considered government property, this alone can prohibit many uses throughout Apopka.”

The amendment goes on to address future uses for the downtown and the coming City Center:

“Under the current code, and due to the high number of storefront churches in the downtown, Apopka’s downtown will never see a brewpub, like most every thriving downtown has. This ordinance limits the distance requirement to 500 feet (down from 750 feet) from schools and provides additional definitions that were missing. It also incorporates the same for sale times that would put Apopka on par with Orange County. These changes, along with better clarifications, will allow Apopka to take advantage of the code, rather than being limited by it. The City has recognized that brewpubs and wine bars make up a new and emerging independent market segment within Florida. Local independent breweries have emerged as a competitive market segment enabling many downtowns to become economically viable again. The most important part of these updated regulations is to get Apopka and the downtown poised for economic opportunities that will allow alcoholic beverage sales in a more diversified atmosphere. This is another tool to help Apopka, the Apopka downtown and the CRA grow and make it acceptable to establishments that are normal for a successful downtown.”

Nine speakers voiced their opinions during the public comment portion of the discussion – including three pastors against the change.

“I knew sooner or later we would open this Pandora’s Box,” said Pastor Hezekiah Bradford, the President of the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance. “My main concern is for the police department. We already don’t have the money to fully fund them, and if you’re going to extend the drinking hours from 7 AM to 2 AM, that’s going to put undue pressure on them. This is going to add to drunk driving and crime in the community. There’s going to be a need for more first responders because there will be more crashes on the roads. All of this needs to be looked into.”

“Everywhere I go in Central Florida, people speak of Apopka as being probably the best place to raise kids,” said Darrell Morgan, President of the Apopka Christian Ministerial Alliance. “We should put children above business. And I’m not against business, but I’m going to ask that we consider the buffer that’s in place now. I think we can do that and put our children first.”

Commissioner Kyle Becker spoke in favor of the amendment, and suggested that a 750-foot buffer zone deters potential business more than it does bad behavior.

“With a buffer zone of 750 feet, there wouldn’t be much of an opportunity for these businesses to come downtown,” he said. “Eliminating some of the buffer requirements allows some of these businesses to come downtown. And I’m very empathetic to the fact that people have their own personal stories about death due to drunk driving, and alcohol-related abuse, but the fact of the matter is this ordinance has been in place for years and it didn’t prevent those things from happening. People are going to drink alcohol whether there’s an imaginary line of 500 feet, or 750 feet away. People are going to do it. It’s a matter of having a good police agency that knows how to deal with it properly and makes sure the residents of our community are safe.”

Commissioner Doug Bankson was the only Council member to verbalize his opposition to the amendment.

“There’s a reason there’s a statewide buffer of 500 feet for schools,” he said. “Yes people break the law, but that’s no reason not to have the law. It is a deterrent and it gives law enforcement something they can use if someone does break that law, then they can go back and help deter it in the future. So the fact is there are children and there are circumstances and anything we can do to create a safety zone for children I’m in favor of. There’s a reason they do that for schools, and I think these other institutions deserve that protection. And as far as the distance, I think that’s something that can be considered. I think there’s room to discuss that.”

Mayor Joe Kilsheimer used a popular street in Central Florida as an example of a successful merger between a church and businesses that serve alcohol.

“The example that I have in my head is Park Avenue in Winter Park where thers is St. Mary Margaret Catholic Church, and immediately across the street is an establishment that serves alcohol. It’s not even 100 feet away. St. Mary Margaret Catholic Church has been there since time itself. It’s almost as old as Winter Park itself. The business district on Park Avenue is active and thriving. It has a broad mix of businesses… some sell alcohol and some don’t. But they basically co-exist and that’s what we’re aiming for here.”

Kilsheimer, Becker and Commissioner Diane Velazquez voted in favor of the amendment, while Bankson and Commissioner Billie Dean voted against.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Headlines according to today’s Channel 13 News….”Company to close most of its medical marijuana clinics in Florida”……huh.

  2. The mayor asked people could they waiver their public comments about the marijuana subject, at the city council meeting, if someone else had already said basically the same thing they wanted to say, ahead of them…..

  3. Most of the marijuana advocates were out-of-towners, from places like Gainesville, and New Port Richey, and I believe, Lake Mary….you can hear it on the audio, when the city posts it, so I won’t be wrongly telling you anything incorrect, about where they were from.

  4. I can see it now, at the next council meeting to discuss changing the marijuana ban…..there will probably be busloads coming in from all over Florida, to give their public comments and they will not waiver!!! Get ready to bring your nap sack, pillows, jammies, and fuzzy throws, and plan to spend the day, on into the wee hours of the next night at the city council meeting when that marijuana meeting will be scheduled…LOL

  5. The alcohol amendment passing, and approval by the council majority Wednesday night, 3-2 vote, went just as I expected, very disappointing that they would vote to allow those kinds of changes, in this family oriented city! You know, one of those commissioners sitting up there, is beginning to seem very much like Young Shelton to me……

  6. We went for a ride today to see the Vincent Van Gogh house painted to match the wall. I had seen the wall painted already, but not the house painted too. I think it fabulous, it brings it all together, more in unity. Plus, there is some more painting on the wall, that has a scene of Lake Dora with a little boat, I believe, and a seaplane….love it! We drove all around the house, and I got out, and walked down the shoulder of the highway to get a better view. Vincent Van Gogh would be soooo proud. I understand that now, some historians and experts, think Vincent did not take his own life……then we went to the Mason Jar, where we both ate too much!

  7. Ah…. Christmas Eve will be here very soon, indeed! Hope Santa is feeding his reindeer well, as they are going to need all the energy they can muster, to fly across the heavens from the North Pole, to get to little ol’ Apopka Florida…..ho ho ho, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  8. Well Joe just got his way again, ramming down another change, not to help the people of Apopka, used to be we didn’t have bars in the city, now we are going to end up if he has his way looking like So. Orange Blossom trail with bars all over the place replacing dollar stores, and you know what comes with them, there goes the very reason I moved to Apopka 34 years ago, where the Heck are all these people going to park, we don’t have enough parking for our stores as it is. Shame on you for letting him out bars near schools and Churches.

  9. Well Joe just got his way again, ramming down another change, not to help the people of Apopka, used to be we didn’t have bars in the city, now we are going to end up if he has his way looking like So. Orange Blossom trail with bars all over the place replacing dollar stores, and you know what comes with them, there goes the very reason I moved to Apopka 34 years ago, where the Heck are all these people going to park, we don’t have enough parking for our stores as it is. Shame on you for letting him put bars near schools and Churches.

  10. James 1958…Putting these alcohol amendments on the city council meeting agenda to be voted on, and approving them with the 3-2 vote, sure is a strange way to “help” this city….NO, it will not help this city at all, it will open the doors wide open for the expansion of all kinds of alcohol establishments all over the city corporate boundaries, and along with them, will come the problems, putting our citizens at additional risks of more drunk drivers and the criminal element of drunk people wandering around, with their impaired brains and poor thinking skills that the alcohol causes.

  11. Did all the commissioners listen to the speakers against the ordinance amendments to loosen the liquor laws and change them? Apparently not enough! There was a 20 year old lady, I believe she said that was her age, who told of how she was practically chased by a drunk man as she had come out of a church, I think, and she ran to her car and locked the door, and he came up to the window, and was knocking on it, and frightened her. She was against allowing alcohol establishments right next to churches with no buffer zones………..

  12. Another young lady was against alcohol near daycares…I believe she said she worked at a daycare, not sure….listen to the city council audio of Dec. 20, 2017 when the city posts it so I won’t be telling you anything incorrect. Log on to Apopka.net and then scroll to meeting and minutes click on that icon, and then you can locate it, and hear all the people who spoke out against the alcohol changes to ordinance 2612! Plus pastors from churches too!

  13. Commissioner Becker was the first to make a motion to approve the alcohol amendments to allow for all of these bad changes! Then there was a silence, and no one sitting there made a second motion….so then the mayor said he would make a second, and then after he stared at Commissioner Velazquez, she paused, then said ok, and voted for it too making the 3 in favor of it and it passed…..

  14. I truly don’t think Commissioner Velazquez wanted to vote for the changes…but she did! And I was very disappointed, very disappointed to say the least.

  15. Oh and I almost forgot the young lady who spoke out against the alcohol amendments and referred to just how many classmates she had lost at her school to drunk driving….

  16. Sadly, I don’t think anyone can truly understand until they themselves become victimized by a drunk driver, or one of their family members, or even if one of them, their own self, happens to get pulled over and charged with an alcohol offense of some kind ….think it can’t happen??? Maybe it won’t happen, but it does happen. Everyday in the news we see people from all walks of life charged with alcohol offenses, of various sorts.

  17. The bottom line on those alcohol amendments was: There was no need to change the existing alcohol ordinance! Now get ready Apopka for being no different than South Orange Blossom Trail and the nighttime Orlando scene, and we KNOW how that is!

  18. Was so sorry to learn of the death of Ocoee Mayor, Scott Vandergrift….he passed away after some health issues. Oh how that man loved Ocoee with his heart and soul! I remember him with his tie on that had the letters that spelled out OCOEE down the tie front. And when I went to Ocoee Founder’s Day events and concerts, he was right there, riding around on a golf cart around the back streets, and greeting everyone coming to the event and would say hello and greet you and welcome you. He tried very hard to save the old drive in movie theater too! RIP Mayor Vandergrift.

  19. Terrible news too of the Apopka couple killed on that tour trip in Mexico when their tour bus flipped over, heading to see ancient ruins after a cruise….just horrible. It made me think back to when me and my mom went to the big island of Hawaii, and we took a circle island tour on a long passenger van with a driver and tour guide. That driver drove so darn fast, and as we were coming back down from the Volcano National Park at the top of the island, one of the many places we went, and along the way downward, the driver was flying! And then all of a sudden, without any notice, he suddenly pulled over along the highway shoulder, without slowing down enough, and then braked, and the bus skidded on all the lava rocks that were everywhere on that island, and it seemed at that instant in time, that we were going to be going over the side of the island mountain, into the deep, deep ravine down the mountainside….everyone on the bus gasped, and their eyes were big as saucers! It was frightening. You just think that when you book a tour that everything is supposed to be safe. I am so sorry this happened to this nice couple that lived here in Apopka.

  20. Get ready Apopka for the alcohol establishments! Happy hours, 2 for 1 drinks, wristband sales so you can binge drink into oblivion…. who knows, maybe Apopka will be like other cities near the beaches, with scantily clad women coleslaw wrestling in inflatable pools, and wet T-shirt contests??? Is this city council going to monitor what goes on inside the alcohol establishments next to churches, daycares, parks, and government businesses and much closer to schools???? NO…..good luck, if you need to call the police out for something going on suspious around your home, as the police will be all watching the alcohol establishment parking lots or inside!

  21. Everyone is NOT on board, that this alcohol amendment change is a “quality- of- life improvement” for this city! NOT IN THE LEAST! But we, as residents, do have one power, and that is our voting power! Enough said!!!!

  22. Alcohol sales as of last Wednesday night’s vote by the council majority, will now begin at 7am in the mornings, 7 days a week……this according to the Apopka Chief newspaper page 7 A, of today’s paper, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, for the record…NO respect for Sunday church mornings goers, what-so-ever, by time restrictions or buffer zone restrictions!…..just responding to comments on Apopka Voice Facebook.

  23. I guess we don’t already have enough drunks on the road nor do we have enough people high on pot behind the wheel. I’m also wondering, do we need special dispensaries for blood pressure medications???

  24. Seargent Saunders…..Also what the lawmakers have done, is the people that really need certain drugs that were sold at the regular pharmacies is…that they have made it where the people that really needed the drugs, can’t hardly get those drugs, because of “the lowest common demoninator”, or the people who abused those drugs…..oxycodone, hydrocodone, and the one that was in cough syrups, that I can’t begin to spell…psdophenrine??? I can’t spell it, I think that was it, not sure. Anyway, they first put it behind the counter instead of on the shelves, and you had to ask for it, and show a certain ID to get it and sign for it, then I think they just banned it altogether. It really worked wonderful to open up your breathing ability when you were sick with a cold, or bronchitis, but they, the lawmakers, were too afraid of the people who bought it by the shopping cart load full or making runs to multiple drug stores, to cook into meth, or something like that, not sure! And they didn’t even care if a regular doctor prescribed the oxycodone, or the hydrocodone, you might need for your pain or what serious condition that warrantied your prescription, of just a small amount of those legal pills, because of the druggies piling into the state, and abusing and overdosing by the multitudes. That is the “lowest common denominator” right?….legislating based on the “lowest common denominator”???

  25. Seargent Saunders….The crazy aggressive way people drive around this area everyday, tells me to stay off the roads, at least as much as I can, at night, during these holidays, because if those same people drive like that normally, I sure don’t want to see their drunk driving, or be out there sharing the lanes with them when they are skunk drunk!

  26. And some of the fast sport bike motorcycles guys we have had flying by us on I-4 so fast, that we really didn’t hardly get a glance of them, but more of a flash zooming by like a rocket out of the pad…..I swear I think some of those guys have a death wish or something, they just don’t care about their own life, or anyone else life either, and I have seen a couple without a helmet too! Unbelievable!

  27. We can’t find my husband’s Christmas fix……old fashioned chocolate drops. Used to find them only at Christmas and they were found easily in the drug stores, dollar stores, and grocery stores….no more. He has been looking everywhere for those things he likes once a year….LOL

  28. They came in a white paper bag….they were a pretty good size drop. Had white, almost pure sugar inside that was hard, not creamy at all, and on the outside was chocolate that was slightly waxy, and they smelled so good too! They were also cheap, like only a dollar a bag or so, and had been around forever….Where did all the old fashioned chocolate drops go, long time passing, oh where did all the chocolate drops go….?????

  29. It was several months ago, maybe even six months ago, we got a letter from our health insurance company that stated that they were not going to cover the costs of opioid type drugs, and that they were doing their part to fight the opioid overdose epidemic going on across this nation…….

  30. This letter from our health insurance did not concern me particularly, because I have only had those type of drugs once in my life, and when I took them, they happened to be some of the strongest available, but I didn’t know it, until several out- of -state pharmacies said how strong they were, and that they didn’t have them, and sent me away, and then recommended another pharmacy that had it. When I took the drug, I thought I was fine, had no affect on me, but I was very wrong, as I shaved my legs to get ready to go to my mom’s funeral, I cut my legs to shreds and must of had over a hundred cuts on my legs, and they were very bloody and would not stop bleeding. And at my mom’s funeral everything seemed to float and was surreal, I said some things that did not make sense to my relatives. My thinking process was not like it should have been. The drugs got me through the pneumonia pain of hardly being able to breathe, and fractured rib pain down both sides of multiple rib fractures, plus the devastating emotional pain of my mother’s death, that was not expected, but if you had of talked to me that day, I was fine, I would have told you I could drive back to Florida myself, yet my brain was very impaired….I just wasn’t aware that it was impaired…and this is the problem of those drugs, and how you can overdose when you don’t half way know what you are doing. At least for those unaware of the drugs, as someone not familiar with them. Then the others who get hooked and addicted from using them a lot…..

  31. Other than kidney stone episodes several times of my husband, and my mother taking opioids after a month or longer in the hospital after surgery, for pain, that was the extent of opioid drug use in my family’s past…..but while we don’t expect to need opioid type drugs, to get a letter from your health care company that they are now not covering the costs to “do their part to combat the opioid overdose epidemic” made me question if that was really why they made that decision. A lot of money savings to the health care company, if you ask me! And who knows what you MIGHT need in the future, and while you can get them…maybe?….the health insurance WON’T PAY and cover you although you sure have to pay them a lot for coverage! Doesn’t seem fair!

  32. And if you did have a prescription to obtain opioid type drugs I believe they would be hard to get, I don’t know, but the pharmacies seem to be clamping down, the health insurance companies too, all because of the state legislators I guess…..I just hope if we are in pain for something in the future, there will be something to take for pain that will work, and have access to! This is one reason people are hoping for the medical marijuana that it will be approved, and I hope it does get approved….However, I fully understand people’s skepticism, that the marijuana could be extended to recreation use, and I am not jumping down those people’s throats, they probably are right to be concerned. They have a right to their opinions, as residents here in this city, as there are those who do want to toke like Cheech and Chong….LOL

  33. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas today and happy holidays, and hope everyone has a great fresh New Year coming up, and remember what I have said over and over, and please, take it serious……Don’t drink, then drive, just don’t do it, it is not worth it!

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