■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE
UPDATED STORY AS OF THE AFTERNOON OF FRIDAY, AUG. 9 …
A Code Enforcement officer was on the island Friday morning, and he has already closed out several of the complaints against businesses that have been lodged in the past few weeks.
As of Friday, Aug. 9 complaints against Seale Family Realty/Boca Grande Cart Rentals, The Barnichol, Boca Grande Real Estate, Fugate’s, Gulf Coast International Properties and The Boca Beacon/Gasparilla Outfitters have all been declared closed and unfounded.
However, a new complaint was also lodged today for the Pink Pony. This complaint was regarding “signs covering windows.” This complaint goes along with past complaints alleging violation of “maximum seating regulations,” “location of outdoor seating not in approved area,” “a window for food service created and not allowed, and hours of operation had been exceeded.” Code Enforcement ended up sending a certified notice regarding all of the allegations, with the exception of the “signs covering windows” allegation, which as of Friday was showing on the website as “pending investigation.”
According to Code Enforcement Officer Paul Smith, the complaint against The Loose Caboose, 433 4th St. W. for “expanded outdoor and indoor seating/excessive/blocking public walkways” is still under investigation, and that the complaint regarding Aqua Boutique at 421 Park Avenue,“ signs covering windows,” is closed.
In regard to so many seats in the Chamber of Commerce courtyard and in front of the Pink Pony being taken away, Smith said the business owners are working with the county to try to comply with regulations.
However, Smith also said the case at The Inn Bakery is closed. That means outdoor seating at that location on E. Railroad Avenue is not going to happen any time soon.
“They removed their outdoor seating,” Smith said. “It won’t be back unless they can get it approved, maybe with a parking variance or special exception. They don’t have any parking, so to expand their seating they need parking … and they don’t have any.”
We will attempt to keep you posted. Meanwhile, you can check all Gasparilla Island code violations yourself by going to accelaaca.leegov.com/aca/, going to “code enforcement” and clicking on subsection “search applications.” From there go to the bottom of the form and type in our zip code, 33921.
ORIGINAL STORY AS PRINTED IN THE BOCA BEACON ON AUGUST 9 …
Trying to find a seat around here is becoming trickier and trickier, as more anonymous complaints have been lodged to Lee County Code Enforcement regarding local businesses … not to mention the public seating area outside the Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce office has been stripped bare, where once there were umbrellas, tables and chairs.
A complaint on August 7 was reported to code enforcement regarding expanded outdoor and indoor seating and excessive blockage of public walkways at 433 4th St. W., The Loose Caboose. As of press time the owners of the business were not aware of any communications with code enforcement.
Another complaint call was lodged against Aqua Boutique, 421 Park Ave., for “signs covering windows.” As of press time there was an “open” sign and a “sale” sign in the window.
All of the other complaints that were lodged against businesses in July are either closed or pending.
Keep in mind, anyone can call code enforcement and lodge a complaint. They will more than likely record that complaint on their web site, accelaaca.leegov.com. That does NOT mean the complaint is legitimate, or that it will be enforced.
We will keep you posted. In the mean time, you can go to their web site and search complaints on the island by our zip code, 33921.