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St. Augustine commission debates over drinking on carriages

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Updated: 9/23/2013 8:42 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A change to a city ordinance to allow alcohol on carriages went before the St. Augustine city commission Monday.

Horse and buggy rides are one of the most popular tourist attractions in downtown, and every now and then passengers get the urge to experience the sights in a different way.

"I think it would be just fine, you know, a glass of wine," said tourist Mary Bowers.

But it's not just fine, it's actually illegal. But if carriage operators have their way, that city ordinance could change.

"Our ordinance at this time does not allow alcohol on a carriage for any reason in a public street. We're simply going to bring the ordinance into compliance," said City Attorney Ron Brown.

The issue was brought to Brown's attention after he received a complaint from a local tour company. That complaint led leaders to realize the city law wasn't consistent with state law, which allows open alcohol containers in vehicles as long as the driver has a commercial license with passenger endorsement.

"A lot of this activity had been going on in the past, unbeknownst to many that state law had changed," said Brown.

For tour companies that depend on business like weddings and special events, it's a welcome change.

"It would make it enjoyable, especially on a hot day," said Bowers.

If the ordinance passes, it will go on to a second reading on Oct. 14.
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