Late bar hours fail in Cape after council split

Posted at 10:39 PM, Apr 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-04 22:45:06-04

Despite two hours of public comment in which business owners and Cape Coral residents pleaded with City Council to reconsider 4AM last call for some bars and restaurants, the Council was split, meaning there weren't enough votes to reopen the discussion.

"I think it's a big mistake. It's a Big mistake and it's gonna hurt Cape Coral economically," Joe Monks of Cape Coral said.

"I'm really disappointed. Really disappointed. They really didn't give it another chance," Kathy Cade of Cape Coral said.

Last week, the Council voted down a proposal to extend the city's pilot program for the late bar hours, but Council Member Jessica Cosden filed a motion to have the Council reconsider.

"It was disappointing, but I wasn't going in expecting anything different," Cosden said. "I felt like I didn't vote with my conscience Monday night last week because I supported 4 AM, but I didn't support the taxpayers paying for the additional police."

Cosden was hoping to find a way for the bar wonders to foot the $75,000 dollar bill for increased security necessary with the extended hours.

Her motion failed when Council Members Leon, Carioscia, and Mayor Sawicki were the only members open to the idea.

The council was split 4-4.

"I'm a little bummed that we didn't really discuss it," Leon said.

Business owners who weren't even participating in the extended bar hours pilot program were disappointed, too.

Shannon Yates of Nevermind Bar said his sales were up 60 percent in the last year.

"Almost $40,000 more last year we paid in SalesTax. In the middle of this, we didn't participate in it, so we got the numbers to back that stuff up," Yates said.

Other businesses, even ones closing at 5PM said they saw the same boost, like NOELA Chocolates.

"The first three years, we struggled. The last 12 months, more people have been in that area, they've seen my business," Ande Grant of Noela Chocolates said.

Council members said this discussion isn't over for good.

"What we're going to do is just craft a little draft ordinance but sit down with Council. So we're going to tweak it and go from there," Leon said.

"So hopefully {Leon} will bring up something that's better and more palatable," Cosden said.

After the council meeting, Fox 4 asked some of the bar owners for their reaction to the latest development, but they were too upset to go on camera.