Orlando seeks to crack down on crime after downtown trouble

ORLANDO, Florida. —The Orlando Planning Board on Tuesday approved a set of proposals designed to deter crime and other problems downtown.

At a meeting on Tuesday, council members heard a presentation on three amendments aimed at businesses that operate late at night in downtown Orlando.

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The proposal came after several shootings in the downtown entertainment area over the past year, the most recent of which resulted in the arrest of a man and two teenagers early Monday.

“We’re moving from a more reactive code enforcement system to a more proactive method,” said Orlando project manager Jason Burton.

One of the amendments would require new owners to apply for a special use permit and submit a safety plan if they want their business to serve alcohol after midnight.

Another proposition applies to parking lots, where city leaders have said many crimes originate.

Car park owners may be required to implement a security plan and block car parks when closed.

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“What we’re going through is somebody’s going to take some money and fill up their lot and at midnight they’re gone,” Burton said. “They leave town or the police department with the issues associated with that particular terrain until three or four in the morning.”

The issue of noise was also addressed. City planners asked the city to raise the limit from 75 dB to 85 dB, which they said would encourage businesses to operate within that range.

“It seems a bit counterintuitive to level up, but in reality it will bring everyone up to an even level,” Burton said.

With the unanimous approval of the planning board, the amendments are expected to be voted on by city council in June.

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David H. Henry