Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Airstream Ranch, a code violation or art? Three judges will decide

DOVER — Frank Bates' trailers are still planted nose down along Interstate 4, even though code enforcement officers told him in March to remove the 7 1/2 Airstream trailers or face a $100 daily fine.

His appeal to the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Board in May was rejected, so Bates has taken the case to Circuit Court, where code enforcement appeals are heard by a three-judge panel.

A judge has suspended the fines until it's decided if Bates, owner of Bates RV, can keep the so-called Airstream Ranch.

On Monday, First Amendment attorney Luke Lirot filed a brief filled with precedent from similar cases and quotes from fans of Airstream Ranch.

The display is "an artistic icon," Susan Gott from Phoenix Class Studio in Tampa says in the brief.

Lirot hopes the court will overturn the code board's decision that the display violates zoning and sign restrictions, as well as rules against debris and improper storage. Those rules weren't designed to regulate artistic expression, he said.

"There's no doubt this is an artistic exhibition," Lirot said. "It's not storage, it's not junk, it's not a sign."

No hearing is scheduled yet.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

Airstream Ranch, a code violation or art? Three judges will decide 07/10/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 10:49am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst


    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75


    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.