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Residents drop city as defendant
Sunset Beach homeowners file declaratory action against Caddy’s
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TREASURE ISLAND – The attorney representing 16 Sunset Beach homeowners who are upset with neighborhood conditions related to Caddy’s on the Beach said language in a legal complaint recently filed is being amended to exempt the city of Treasure Island.

St. Petersburg attorney David Bacon said last week the lawsuit has not been served because of the changes being made.

“It is being carefully evaluated,” said Bacon. “We’re releasing the city where the city is not an active defendant.”

The class-action lawsuit, which was originally filed Dec. 7, named the city of Treasure Island as a co-defendant along with Caddy’s, 9000 W. Gulf Blvd., but it was never served to the city or Caddy’s.

Bacon said the action is 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 is an “unlawful public nuisance.”

Bacon said the action will first seek a declaratory judgment in Circuit Court and then injunctive relief of any land-use or zoning violations.

“It would tell us what Caddy’s can do and can’t do,” said Bacon. “Then an injunction would be filed.”

The city’s only part in the process would be to help find a solution to the problem, Bacon said.

“Before this is activated by service,” Bacon said, “the complaint will be modified and the city will be

released as a party.”

That was good news to City Commissioner Phil Collins.

“This is a cease and desist order (involving Caddy’s) and the city’s not doing anything wrong,” he said. “I don’t think it has merit.”

The plaintiffs in the action contend that large groups of young patrons who frequent Caddy’s and the nearby public beach interfere with their property rights, which in turn lowers property values.

The lawsuit goes on to say Caddy’s attracts crowds that exceed the restaurant’s occupancy, parking and restroom capacities; it causes unreasonable amounts of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area, improper parking on neighborhood streets, excessive noise from music and disorderly conduct by customers.

Sunset Beach has long been a destination location for local residents and vacationers. At one point the neighborhood had four bars and now has two.

A restaurant and bar has been in existence at the site of Caddy’s since 1946.

“What people need to remember is that Sunset Beach is not a gated community,” said Collins. “Because of beach renourishment, all of the beaches there are public.”

Since public funds are used to renourish beaches, state law requires those locations to be open to the public.
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