Florida ‘Footloose’ Town Bans Night Clubs, Dance Halls and Skating Rinks

Apr 12, 2012 7:11pm

It’s a real-life “Footloose” story.

Nightclubs, dance halls and skating rinks have been permanently banned by the city of Weston, Fla.

The city council amended an ordinance on Wednesday, outlawing these venues in hopes to “protect the quality of life” of residents, according to City Manager John Flint.  Weston, in Broward County, has some 65,000 residents; it was incorporated in 1996 as a family-friendly planned community.

“Using tools such as periodic pro-active zoning code reviews to avoid unlawful incidents are far more preferable than having to react to such situations with law enforcement,” Flint told ABC News in an email.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that over the past 10 years, 20 people have been killed by gunfire in or near a nightclub in Southern Florida.

Since 2002, five people have been killed in nightclub stabbings.

Officials say crime and crowds are two factors that influenced their decision.

“Safety is always our number one priority for our residents and everyone in our city,” City Commissioner Jim Norton wrote in an email. “I believe we are doing exactly what the residents of our city want us to do as their elected representatives.”

Norton points out that skating rinks and dance halls can easily mask nightclub activities, creating breeding grounds for violence and large crowds.

He says the city code still allows school dances and activities at youth clubs.

“Residents have a YMCA, a community center, many after-school activities, access to a variety of parks as well as a skate park,” Norton said. “These activities offer great outlets for recreation in a safe and secure environment.”

Weston citizens can also travel to surrounding areas to find a dance floor. Neighboring cities Davis and Pembroke Pines both have dance clubs and skating rinks.

But as for now, Mayor Eric Hersh says those types of places will never exist in Weston.

“There aren’t those uses in Weston, there won’t be those uses in Weston, and we were never planning to allow those uses in Weston,” Mayor Hersh told the Sun-Sentinel. “This is something that we thought would protect the city.”

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