This is in response to the recent article “Pub owner challenges ruling” in which a magistrate is being asked to review Tampa City Council’s denial of a liquor license because the restaurant does not have sufficient parking.
I live in a residential area that backs up to an establishment similar to the one proposed in the article. It was originally a 910-square-foot building and expanded to include 4,000 square feet of outdoor seating, but had fewer than six parking spaces and needed about 50 to 60 more. Unfortunately, Tampa City Council waived the requirement, and my neighborhood has not been the same since.
The filing notice states that council’s decision was “improper, unreasonable, and imposed an unfair burden” on the business and property owners. The same can be said for homeowners and residents who have to put up with vehicles parked everywhere, creating dangerous blind spots and blocking driveways, stop signs and fire hydrants; patrons urinating, vomiting and “romancing” in people’s front yards; and cars speeding through quiet residential streets with stereos blasting at 3 a.m.
And then there are the beer bottles, plastic cups and other trash left behind.
We have no sidewalks in my neighborhood. Neighbors walking dogs, bicycling or strollering children do not have safe passage. “Five-Minute” parking signs are often ignored, if not vandalized or stolen. TPD is mostly sympathetic but can only ticket violators; officers are not authorized to tow or boot no matter how egregious.
Probably the most troubling incident to date occurred several months ago when a resident died in my community. Tampa Fire Rescue could not make the turn into the driveway because vehicles were lined bumper-to-bumper along the entire block. The truck remained on the street, making a public roadway impassable for an extended period of time. Moreover, this incident emphasized the lack of access in the event of future fire and medical emergencies.
I commend and thank Tampa City Council members for finally taking a stand to support neighborhoods and those of us who make our homes in them.