Neighbors upset after controversial business pops up in Pinellas County

8 On Your Side

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A controversial business popped up in the middle of a community in unincorporated Pinellas County. Now, a dozen frustrated neighbors are turning to 8 On Your Side Investigates to help shut it down.

“That type of business does not belong in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” said Wayne Richards.

Neighbors say they’ve dealt with this problem since at least July.  They’re upset about all the traffic and they are concerned for their safety.

“We all know each other here, we want it to stay that way,” said Laura Parker. “We don’t need a business in here.”

According to the Home Owner’s Association, one homeowner is operating a bail bond business inside Leisure World Mobile Home Park.

8 On Your Side Investigates stopped by the property and found an open sign outside, along with cars and customers.

“It’s making people uneasy, maybe locking their doors more,” Richards said.

Karen Milne is the president of the HOA. 

“We as a homeowners association do not allow any businesses in here,” Milne said.

She also mentioned attorneys sent a cease and desist letter to the homeowner in July. However, the business is still running.

“We would like something to move forward,” Parker said. 

According to Pinellas County Code Enforcement officials, the property is zoned for residential use and a business like this is not allowed.

8 On Your Side Investigates made several attempts to speak with the homeowner.  

“We’re here because this property is apparently not zoned to be operating a business,” said investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.

A woman inside did not open the door or identify herself.

“We’re not even here,” she said. “We have a building somewhere else.”

Code enforcement officials say they’ve found three violations: the business, illegal signs and inoperable cars.

They gave the homeowner a month to fix the problems and they’re going to re-inspect the property again this week.

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