Spring Break alcohol ban will continue on beaches

Spring Break alcohol ban will continue on beaches
By John Mullen
Gulf Shores voted Jan. 10 to continue its ban of alcohol on city beaches during spring break for the seventh straight year following on raucous start to the 2016 spring break which drew rowdy crowds in the early weeks of the annual school break.
The dates for the ban in 2022 will be Feb. 28 through April 18. Orange Beach does not ban alcohol on the beach but steps up beach patrols and has a “zero tolerance” policy for alcohol, drug and DUI offenses.
“During the first several days of spring break 2016, GSPD encountered numerous issues with large groups of spring breakers binge drinking, using illegal narcotics, and creating a dangerous atmosphere for themselves and other visitors,” city documents state.
“The potential for large-scale confrontations with the police officers existed in a very real way. Following the passing of an ordinance banning alcohol from the beach during spring break, dramatic improvements on our beach occurred immediately.”
During the early part of the 2016 spring break, visiting students posted videos of the huge gatherings and one of a spring breaker hitting a Gulf Shores Police cruiser with a football.
“We’ve seen a marked improvement over all those years for alcohol-related offenses,” Lt. Bill Cowan said. “It’s really drastically reduced the numbers down along the beach and places like that.”
In following years, the council passed similar bans ahead of spring break and police officials concluded “banning alcohol from the beach which once again proved to be positive, including slight upticks in tax revenues during the respective time period year over year.”
During the work session, the council:
• Denied a conditional use permit for Island Villas at 324 East 22nd Ave. to allow for short-term vacation rentals in the 16-unit apartment complex.
• OK’d a conditional use permit for seven cottage homes at 101 E. 22nd Ave. directly east of the State Route 59 bridge. Developers plan to build three three-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units on .37 acres.
• Voted for a new system for paid parking at the city’s beach access points. The new machines will allow patrons to pay for parking and overdue parking in the paid lots. City Magistrate Ken McKenzie said it will allow enforcement without writing tickets by taking a picture of the car, upload it to the system and will handling processing of the tickets. All information will be uploaded electronically.
• Reappointed Craig Olmstead and George Harris, Jr. to the Board of Zoning and Adjustments Appeals for another term. Their term endedJan. 7. And, reappointed Richard Lamar and David Stewart’s terms as Supernumerary Members when their terms expire on March 11.
• Voted for a Volkert Associates proposal to conduct a streambed assessment of Cotton Creek for about $24,000 to determine if there are obstructions that require mitigation and if so, provide an engineer’s estimate of the anticipated mitigation costs. The stream will be studied in three phases, Cotton Creek within Craft Farms, Cotton Creek from County Road 4 to Craft Farms and Cotton Creek from the Intracoastal Waterway to County Road 4.
• Approved a cooperative maintenance agreement for a new traffic signal at West Second Street and State Route 180 (Ft. Morgan Road).
• Awarded a contract for a trailer-mounted tree spade bid to Big John Manufacturing based upon the price submitted in their bid for $60,000.
• Awarded a bid for janitorial supplies to Baldwin Janitorial based upon the unit prices submitted in their bid at a cost of $48,972. The contract will begin immediately upon reward with an option to renew for another two years.
• Approved an assembly permit for the 2022 Gulf Shores Mardi Gras parade on March 1. The parade staging will be on West Beach Boulevard and the course will go along the beach road to the Gulf State Park Lodge.
• Approved an assembly permit for the annual Music at Meyer spring concert series. Dates in 2022 include March 31, April 7, April 21 and April 28. The lineup has yet to be announced. The park is at East 24th Avenue and East Third Street in Gulf Shores.
• Approved an assembly permit for the 2022 Waterway Village Zydeco and Crawfish Festival and associated 5K run on April 16. This year’s festival will be along West 24th Avenue in the city parking lot on Canal Road West across the street from the former site. The run will begin at 8 a.m. with the start and finish on 24th Avenue West near Tacky Jacks.