Bayshore homeowners sue to stop Stovall House alcohol sales

Local News

A group of homeowners who oppose Stovall-Lee House becoming a private club had their day in court today.

Nearly two dozen homeowners and the Keep Bayshore Beautiful organization are suing the city, and the house’s attorney joined in defense, over the ‘private residential club‘ the owner wants to establish. 

They’re angry that a party house selling alcohol will now be smack in the middle of one of Tampa’s most prestigious neighborhoods.

Bob Soriano, the attorney for the neighbors who lives right behind the house himself, says this type of venue isn’t allowed in that neighborhood under the city’s zoning laws.

“The bottom line is that this is a ‘large venue’ commercial enterprise in the middle of a residential zoning area,” Soriano said. “Large venues can only be in certain areas of the city under zoning laws–and they’re not permitted in this zone.”

Judge Ralph Stoddard presided over the hearing for partial summary judgement on Thursday.

Blake Casper, the new owner of Stovall-Lee House, didn’t have a comment after the proceedings were completed.

Soriano conceded in court that he may not be able to stop Casper from establishing the club, but that the sale of alcohol in that location is not legal under the city’s zoning laws.

Casper’s attorney, Seth Mills, argued in court that whether they’re selling alcohol or just serving it to private members and their guests, there’s not much difference.

“It’s not a packaging retail store that’s not the primary use of the private recreational club,” Casper said. “It’s an incidental approval.”

The homeowners were unsuccessful in stopping the permitting process at Tampa City Council when they first objected, so they filed this lawsuit.

Soriano said Stoddard could take weeks or even months to make a decision.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

April 24 2021 08:00 am

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