Plaza, Westport curfew on hold

Should the Plaza and other entertainment districts have a new curfew? The city has delayed a decision.

The proposal to make a 9 p.m. summer curfew year-long in the County Club Plaza, Westport and three other entertainment districts is on hold for another month.

The public safety committee voted to hold the controversial measure while the mayor conducts meetings with youths and Highwoods Properties, owner of the Plaza.

They recently held one such meeting and there will be others, said John Sharp, committee chairman.

Meanwhile, the regular summer curfew starts the Friday before Memorial Day and lasts until the last Sunday in September.

Part of the problem, Sharp said, is that the city has too many youth curfews.

“The police say they have to have a flow chart,” he said.

For those same summer months, there is a citywide curfew of 10 p.m. for those under 16 and 11 p.m. for those under 17.

And there is a year-round curfew of 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Police first have to figure out which curfew applies. Then they have to hold the youth somewhere until a parent arrives to get him or her and receive a ticket.

The city prosecutor has noted that police could issue tickets directly to 17-year-olds and release them, making things easier for police, Sharp said.

He also said this is a Plaza problem. The current summer curfew for youths under 18 not accompanied by a parent started two years ago after a shooting and other problems on the plaza.

The proposal to make it year round was introduced last month after late night fights and arrests among dozens of youths there.

Councilman Jermaine Reed noted Wednesday that it is called the “save the Plaza” ordinance but the effort should be on saving kids citywide.

“Let’s sort of pump the brakes a little bit and have further discussion,” he said.

Councilman Scott Taylor said, “While we’re having these meetings I do think we need to see something happen.”

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