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Beach Beacon
New coffeehouse brings applause, concerns
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Photo courtesy of U.S. NAVY
Seaman Matt Karkheck, an aviation technician, serves aboard the 216-year-old Boston-based USS Constitution.
REDINGTON SHORES – A site plan to add outdoor seating to a newly opened coffee shop in Redington Shores won the unanimous approval of the town commission.

The OK was given at the June 11 Town Commission meeting and came with conditions, based on concerns over noise and securing of the property. One commissioner said the security requirements were overly restrictive.

The approved plan allows the Gypsy Souls Coffeehouse at 17465 Gulf Blvd., to add outdoor service during its open hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The site plan previously approved by the town Planning and Zoning Board adds landscaping with a number of ornamental plant types and seating in an area bordering the Intracoastal Waterway.

In a letter accompanying the site plan, owner Matthew Olafsen said the area would be “the perfect location for our customers to sit, relax and enjoy their coffee in an outdoor environment.”

Commissioner Lee Holmes wanted to add requirements that a gate on the north end and a boat dock be secured.

Commissioner Tom Kapper said fencing or roping off the dock should not be forced upon the owner by the town. Kapper said the town should encourage businesses rather than interfere with their operation.

“Who cares if a boater comes there and wants to get coffee?” Kapper said. “What does it hurt? That should not be our concern.”

The boat dock was not a part of the site plan approval, Holmes said. Building official Steve Andrews said the property owner does not want the dock used.

Olafsen agreed to secure the gate and dock, but added he might want to allow customers to arrive by boat in the future. That will require commission approval, Town Attorney James Denhardt said.

Commissioner MaryBeth Henderson was concerned about possible noise complaints related to a plan to have recorded music both outdoors and indoors during the coffeehouse’s open hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, as well as an acoustic guitar player performing on occasion.

Olafsen said two outdoor speakers “would play music all the time,” but there would be no electric guitars or drums. He said customers would “be able to have a conversation over the music, so it’s not going to be that loud.”

Henderson said she wants to “keep residents happy with the noise,” adding, “They are very sensitive to noise in my district.”

At Henderson’s request, the commission approved the outdoor seating plan for a 90-day probationary period. Compliance with the site plan approved and the conditions added will be reviewed at that point.

Olafsen said the coffeehouse had been open for three days and he is pleased.

“I’m excited to be here,” he said. He expects the outdoor seating area will be completed by October, when he plans a “soft opening” for the business.

In his letter requesting site plan approval, Olafsen said “our outdoor area has the potential to be a great location for our customers to enjoy their coffee. We are really excited to be opening our doors in Redington Shores and hope to provide the very best coffee and environment for your residents to enjoy for years to come.”

Parking restrictions bring stepped up ticketing

New parking restrictions on side streets, including bans in some areas, are adding to an already critical shortage of spaces. That is resulting in more tickets being issued to violators, and complaints about being ticketed are on the rise, said Police Capt. Jeff Rawson.

“Parking tickets are a way of life in Redington Shores,” Rawson said. “That’s life in a small town with very limited parking.”

Rawson said parking tickets are “the bane of my existence. I believe some people had rather be arrested for murder than get a ticket.”

Lee Avenue, where parking on both sides has recently been banned, has been a particular problem area. Tourists and other infrequent visitors have been parking on the north part of the roadway, as had previously been permitted, said Vice Mayor John Branch.

They get a ticket and complain, said Branch. “One even said he was entitled to a 30-day grace period.”

The fine is a relatively modest $25, compared to $100 in Clearwater, said Rawson, and motorists can contest tickets they believe have been wrongly issued. Rawson said people who “really, really feel they have gotten a ticket they don’t deserve can come see me, and we’ll talk about it.”

But Branch had some advice for town visitors who want to avoid being ticketed. “Watch where you park.”
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