Community meeting held for answers on Conch House
Crowd demanded more rules on Conch House
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The city of St. Augustine held a community meeting Wednesday night for residents to get answers on what the city will do next after a massive brawl broke out at the Conch House a few weeks ago.
The meeting was held at a different restaurant and had the city's manager listening to dozens of concerns and sharing the city's next steps of action.
The Conch House made headlines just over a week ago at Reggae Sunday after a violent brawl happened, hurting several people, some even being hospitalized. A cellphone video caught all the violence on video and it immediately went viral.
The fire chief, police chief and city manager came out as the crowd demanded the city to enforce more rules on the Conch House.
Vicki Sellner lives across from the Conch House and has watched it rise for the last 30 years. She said the brawl that recently broke out at Reggae Sunday was the tip of the iceberg.
"I have people playing in my yard. I have people making out on my cement bench in my yard. I have people taking their clothes off, vomiting (and) all types of parking violations," said Sellner.
The issues were brought to the attention of City Manager John Regan at the community meeting Wednesday night.
"What we're hearing is that the Conch House is so intense and has become so large that it is out of proportion with the neighborhood, and it's degrading the quality of life, and it's time for things to change," Regan said.
The residents recommended a lot of changes. The first change suggested enforcing a maximum capacity at the restaurant. The second change is to make Reggae Sunday a ticketed event. The third change suggested the city require certified security, or hire off-duty police officers to work special events.
Another major topic discussed at the meeting was neighborhood parking.
"Within the neighborhood, because there is such a commuter load, there are tools that the neighbors can advocate for that control parking in the neighborhood. And they range from residential parking to posted no parking to yellow curbing," said Regan.
Neighborhood resident Ambra Wayne said those suggestions would only limit the ability to park as they pleased.
"We pay a lot of money for our taxes to live in this neighborhood. I am constantly picking up trash. The impact that the Conch House has every Sunday is far greater than the impact that we have on a daily basis," said Wayne.
The city manager said he will now work with the president of the neighborhood association. He said he will come up with a few options for residents and hold another meeting.
"There are all kind of ways to get solutions, but I'm glad that they're finally listening that there is a problem," said Sellner.
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