INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Complaints about noise from now-defunct bars that operated at a location on Gulf Boulevard have not fallen on deaf ears.
The owner of Coco's Crush Bar and Grill on Clearwater Beach told city commissioners June 8 that a bar and grill they plan to open at the site of where 18 on the Rocks was located, 2405 Gulf Blvd., will not generate complaints about late-night entertainment.
When Glenn Sutch took over Coco's on Clearwater Beach, there were noise complaints from a nearby hotel.
"We've made 100 percent progress," he said. "We're actually some of the go-to people now for the rest of the bars and how to do it correctly on the beach."
He said the new Coco's Crush Bar IRB will be an island bar, and patrons will hear acoustic music and Jimmy Buffett tunes.
"And that's about all. I'm getting too old for this," Sutch said. "When it gets late at night, I want to go home."
Commissioners approved an alcoholic beverage use designation requested by Sutch and his partner, Piotr Czajkowski, after welcoming them to the community.
Commenting on the bar's name, Sutch said “Orange Crush” is a drink that originated in Ocean City, Maryland, which is where he is from.
"I'm a big eastern shore man, so I can promise you that Maryland crab cakes, steamed shrimp, scallops and a lot of seafood will be normal." he said.
Asked by Mayor Cookie Kennedy when he planned on opening Cocos, Sutch said jokingly, "Tomorrow, if you like. How fast can we get some permits going?"
Mark Bodine, vice president of Cameron Cove Resort, a time-share resort, said he would recommend that the 40 different families who come to the resort each week patronize Coco's as long the entertainment would not be too noisy.
"I welcome them to community. My main concern would be the noise ordinance with the city of Indian Rocks Beach," Bodine said. "Hopefully, we won't have any problems."
He said that there were no serious problems with 18 on the Rocks, but another former bar at that location spurred a lot of complaints, and hundreds of people attended a city meeting in reference to the noise ordinance being violated.
IRB resident Nancy Obarski said she was thrilled to see the new establishment along with other new businesses.
"That's a tribute to the city, I guess, in that it seems to be getting easier for businesses to work with the city, which was something much needed," she said.
Some improvements need to be done inside the establishment on Gulf Boulevard before Coco's opens, Sutch said after the meeting.
"Part of what we do and part of our background is making bar and restaurants work smarter," Sutch said.
Besides Coco's Crush Bar on Clearwater Beach, Sutch and Czajkowski also own Jammin'z Beach Bar on Clearwater Beach and Localz Sports Bar and Grill in Largo.
In other news
• City commissioners voted 4-1, with Kennedy dissenting, to approve an ordinance providing resident decals for parking among other regulations.
The most significant amendment made during the last meeting and included in the proposed ordinance is that all property owners will be entitled to two decals upon proof of ownership of the property, which can be done through documents such as property appraiser's records, city officials say.
"Of course, as you all know, we had numerous hearings on this ordinance, and this is actually an amendment of a recently adopted ordinance in response to citizen feedback, staff feedback, administrative concerns," City Attorney Randy Mora said.
Commissioner Ed Hoofnagle said he thinks the commission has heard a lot of thoughtful comments on the ordinance.
"I think this moves the ball forward and we should not let perfect be the enemy of the good, and I think this is good and I support it," he said.
City officials and commissioners have been talking about 73 resident-only parking spots for over a year, Commissioner Joe McCall said.
Though he wasn't a fan of the first draft, McCall said he feels the ordinance is an equitable solution to what officials have seen.
Commissioner Phil Hanna agreed.
"We have done the best we can. We listened, we heard. We made modifications as best we can. The doors are not closed that we couldn't do some further review, but as of right now we do have to move the ball forward," Hanna said.
The ordinance states, "There is a finite amount of public parking within the city’s beach accesses and parks, which does not satisfy the significantly higher demand for beach parking by residents, property owners, and transient visitors alike.
"The allotment of resident-only parking spots is not done to the complete exclusion of the public. In each location where the city has set aside spots for resident-only parking spots, spots are available to the public," the ordinance says.
• Action 2000 President Diane Flagg said Oktoberfest, a festival featuring food, beer and entertainment, will be held Saturday, Oct. 23.
For the first time in 19 years, the event was canceled last year because of COVID 19.
Plans also call for Taste of IRB to be held in the fall.
"Glad to be back to it," McCall said.