TREASURE ISLAND – The city will host an emergency commission meeting to discuss a 60-day ban on alcohol consumption on Sunset Beach Thursday, March 26, 6 p.m., partially springing from a request from Tony Amico to erect temporary restrooms at his establishment, Caddy’s on the Beach.
In recent months Sunset Beach residents have consistently complained about increased traffic on Sunset Beach and visitors urinating on lawns among other unsavory acts.
A number of residents have tried to point the finger at Amico’s establishment as the culprit.
With the warming weather and the annual migration of spring breakers, Amico has noticed a highly increased number of nonpatrons using his establishment’s restrooms. As a result, Amico wanted to erect temporary bathrooms until he can build permanent additional restrooms.
Amico noted that this should help alleviate culprits from urinating in yards. So many people are drinking on the beach and trying to use Amico’s restrooms, that lines have grown and visitors seem to look for alternate sites to relieve themselves to avoid the wait.
The temporary restrooms, which would be a trailer, would contain four women’s stalls, two men’s stalls and four urinals, said City Manager Reid Silverboard.
“We have received complaints about people urinating in yards,” Silverboard said. “This would alleviate this issue.”
Amico’s contention that many nonpatrons of his establishment are using his restroom was reinforced by Treasure Island Police Chief Tim Casey, who recently inspected the scene at Amico’s bar during the height of a weekend day.
“I counted 40 girls and 20 men waiting in line for the bathroom,” Casey said.
After a series of residents spoke to the commission about banning alcohol on the beach and claiming Amico was advertising his business as the “last place to drink on the beach” – an accusation Amico and his marketing director vehemently denied – Amico spoke about his project.
“I care about the beach,” Amico said. “I clean it up each day not just outside of Caddy’s but north and south. When we have red tide I pick up all the fish and haul them away, not a truckload but tons.
“Maybe we should limit what we have on the beach? The solution isn’t for me to close my business down. I’m not going to close my business. The area is zoned for commercial business. I would not (be opposed) to restricted parking on the streets. We are trying to do everything we can.
“These are my neighbors. I am not against them but I am for me. I am in business. In this crummy economy fortunately Caddy’s is doing well.”
The citizens who complained also resumed their grievances over traffic and parking, a recurring issue that Sunset Beach residents claim is a potential for disaster as emergency vehicles may not be able to get to their residences.
As he has in the past, Casey maintained limiting parking on one side of the street will correct this hazard, but Sunset Beach residents in the past have opposed this remedy.
“About 70 percent of my work is dealing with issues on Sunset Beach,” Casey said. “I can sympathize with the aggravating traffic.”
Casey said his department issued 104 parking tickets on one recent Sunday on two Sunset Beach streets alone.
Casey also said he is neutral on banning alcohol on the beach. He noted many of the culprits are not patrons of Caddy’s. Casey added banning alcohol on Sunset Beach would improve congestion “but how much I don’t know.”
Casey was also convinced Amico’s addition of more bathrooms would stem the tide of visitors urinating in residents’ yards.
“It seems to me we need bathrooms,” Commissioner Carol Coward said. “I can’t see how we cannot do it.”
“People in Sunset Beach need a reprieve,” Commissioner Phil Collins said. “If there is a business owner willing to put up temporary restrooms at his expense, I think it behooves everyone in town.”