TAMPA — Over the objections of people in the neighborhood, the Tampa City Council gave Joe Redner preliminary approval Thursday for a wet zoning at his business headquarters on Spruce Street near Dale Mabry Highway.
Best known as the owner of Mons Venus, Redner wants to open a microbrewery in the warehouse that holds his offices, with five-course meals and beer tastings scheduled four times a month.
People who live near the site oppose the project, saying it will bring too much traffic to the area. They also say the council was swayed by promises from Redner to fill in a ditch and install a sidewalk near his business.
"We can go to other sources to get that ditch covered," said Maurice Harvey, a board member of the Lincoln Gardens neighborhood association.
Harvey said it's absurd that the council granted the wet zoning in exchange for the $75,000 improvement project.
Council member Gwen Miller, who faced Redner in a runoff election for her City Council seat last year, sharply criticized her colleagues for not paying closer attention to neighborhood concerns.
"You're just ignoring them," she said.
Council member John Dingfelder said the board did address neighborhood concerns by allowing the wet zoning for only one year and limiting hours to 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"These are extremely strong conditions," he said. "Life is full of compromises. This is not a bar and it's not a strip club."
Council member Charlie Miranda agreed that the area does have some traffic problems, particularly at the entrance to the Home Depot near Redner's business.
"This neighborhood has the right to be alarmed," Miranda said. "I can also understand that this council is looking for compromises."
The council approved Redner's request, with Miller and council Chairman Tom Scott voting no. A final vote is scheduled for June 26.
Janet Zink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3401.