Make us your home page

Brandon neighbors face Round II of fight over alcohol sales at strip mall

BRANDON — Oak Park residents have another fight on their hands to stop wet-zone permits for businesses that want to open in a neighboring shopping plaza.

In May, the county's zoning master ruled against variances that would have allowed alcohol sales at a restaurant and a liquor store planning to open at the Oak Park Plaza at Lumsden Road and Kings Avenue in Brandon.

The plaza's owner, Winbran Corp., has won an appeal of that ruling. The county's Land Use Appeals Board voted 7-0 last week to send both variances back a zoning master.

"In my opinion, the land use board did not see the addition of a small local restaurant as impacting a shopping center that has all the infrastructure required by the county for a typical shopping center use," said Todd Pressman, Winbran's lobbyist.

The plaza is home to O'Brien's Irish Pub and the Shrimp Warehouse, which both sell alcohol. Two free-standing buildings under construction at the plaza also plan to serve drinks.

Residents are concerned that alcohol permits for two additional businesses will open the door to more applications for stores that can sell alcohol.

"We are not Ybor City, and this is depreciating our home values further," said Gwen Plyler, secretary of the Oak Park Homeowners Association, a 75-home development near the plaza.

In successfully appealing the case, Pressman also pointed out that the plaza was once home to a beer and wine package sales store as well as other restaurants.

"The board was also pretty clear in understanding that the issues raised by the residents were directed by them to other tenants in the center," Pressman said.

In opposing the new liquor store and restaurant at the first hearing in April, many residents had complained of noise and parking issues related to O'Brien's Irish Pub & Family Restaurant. O'Brien's owners and residents have since sat down and ironed out those issues, something Pressman says he plans to do before the next public hearing.

"It's important to me to sit down with residents and work out issues, but for some reason they don't want to and I don't know why," Pressman said. "We want to resolve the residents' concerns, but we also don't want to stop two small local businesses from opening."

Plyler said the homeowners association attorney advised the group not to talk to Pressman.

As for the group's opposition to the two new wet zones, Plyler is guardedly optimistic.

"We are still hopeful. It's all up in the air now, but I said before we would be in for a long fight and that we would not give up. They may have the money, but we have the numbers."

The issue is due before the zoning master Oct. 15. "The zoning master will render a decision after that date," said Michelle Heinrich, a senior planner in development with the county.

If that decision is appealed, the land use board can overturn it, Heinrich said.

Kevin Brady can be reached at

Brandon neighbors face Round II of fight over alcohol sales at strip mall 07/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SEC says hackers may have profited from stolen info


    The Securities and Exchange Commission says its corporate filing system was hacked last year and the intruders may have used the nonpublic information they obtained to profit illegally.

    In this file photo, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman nominee Jay Clayton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The SEC says a cyber breach of a filing system it uses may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016. [AP file photo]
  2. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates


    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?


    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about …

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. When elders are in peril, who do you call — 911 or Rick Scott's cell?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Twelve hours after Irma blasted through South Florida, conditions at Larkin Community Hospital in Hollywood were miserable.

    Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power, on Sept. 13 in Hollywood. So far, nine deaths have been blamed on the incedent. [John McCall | South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  5. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency and leaders

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and disregarded its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]