TREASURE ISLAND – Circuit Court Judge Anthony Rondolino will hear arguments Sept. 16 for a writ of mandamus against two city of Treasure Island officials in a continuing lawsuit between residents of Sunset Beach and the city.
Writs of mandamus are used to force proper enforcement of zoning ordinances by public officials.
The suit names City Manager Reid Silverboard and Neal Schwartz, the city’s building official and code enforcement officer, as defendants.
The original case, filed by 15 Sunset Beach homeowners in December, was designed to determine what, if any, violations of the city’s zoning and land use regulations have taken place and to what degree Caddy’s on the Waterfront is an “unlawful public nuisance.” It named the city and Caddy’s on the Waterfront as defendants.
The intent was to first seek a declaratory judgment in Circuit Court and then injunctive relief of any land-use or zoning violations. It targeted, among other things, parking lots used by Caddy’s owner Tony Amico.
“The court has remanded the lawsuit from federal to the local courts and we’ve refiled, dropping Caddy’s as a defendant,” said Ray Green, one of the Sunset Beach residents who filed the class-action suit. “The judge (Rondolino) issued an alternate writ demanding closing of all parking lots not in compliance with city laws.”
In effect, it has forced the city to shut down all parking lots used by Caddy’s that are not in compliance with city zoning laws for a commercial venture.
Green said the plaintiffs would continue the lawsuit “until the city is in compliance.”
“If the city does (comply), we’ll probably withdraw the lawsuit,” Green said. “We just want the city to do what is right.”
Amico says the ruling, if it stands, could have serious consequences on his business. It would leave the business with 45 parking spaces. About 150 parking spaces on seven nearby overflow parking lots would not be available.
The order to close the parking lots takes effect immediately, but a hearing on the issue is set Sept. 7 when the city will argue against it becoming permanent.
Sunset Beach residents have long complained about rowdy beachgoers and Caddy’s patrons who cause neighborhood problems.
Amico has worked diligently with city officials on solutions, which included stepped-up police patrols and the installation of security cameras in the area of Caddy’s this past spring.