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Mediation with cabana vendor and St. Petersburg fails

TREASURE ISLAND — The fight over the right to rent cabanas at St. Petersburg Municipal Beach appears headed for trial.

On Friday, an official impasse was declared in a mediation effort between Greg Taylor, owner of Taylor Beach Services, and the city of St. Petersburg.

The mediation was ordered in October by Circuit Judge J. Thomas McGrady.

Assistant City Attorney Jeanne Hoffman confirmed the mediation impasse but declined to comment further on the case.

Taylor had sought to block a city threat to seize his cabanas and other beach equipment.

Judge McGrady refused to issue the injunction, but warned the city against any action toward Taylor or his equipment until the case is resolved.

Taylor said St. Petersburg has not tried to take his equipment or bar him from setting up on the beach so far.

At issue is whether the city owns the western portion of the 500-foot-wide Municipal Beach in Treasure Island that was acquired in 1938.

The city says it owns the beach all the way to the Gulf of Mexico waterline. Taylor, however, says the beach west of the state-imposed erosion control line is public property.

He stopped paying a monthly concession fee to St. Petersburg last summer and is suing to be reimbursed for back payments made to the city. He is still paying a fee to Treasure Island to run his concession business on about 1 mile of beachfront.

Taylor is not disputing Treasure Island's right, as the local municipality, to regulate beach concessions on public property within its jurisdiction.

"We are now finishing up discovery and eventually this will go to trial," said R. Michael Robinson, Taylor's attorney.

No trial date has been set.

Mediation with cabana vendor and St. Petersburg fails 12/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:46pm]
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