OZONA — After more than a year of calls from frustrated residents, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has cited the owners of J. C. Craver's, a restaurant and bar on the south end of Orange Street, for noise violations.
The citation was issued Friday while the Black Honkeys, a soul and funk band that makes monthly appearances at J. C. Craver's, was performing. It was "based on citizen complaints,'' according to an email from Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
"The case will proceed to the courts as (owner Nigel) Foster was issued a notice to appear,'' Gualtieri wrote.
Neighbors have called the Sheriff's Office more than a dozen times, complaining of being bombarded by noise and excessive traffic as well as litter left by patrons as they exited J. C. Craver's.
Until Friday, each time the sound was measured at the business, it did not exceed the 55 decibels allowed, according to past incident reports filed by the Sheriff's Office.
But this time, the Sheriff's Office decided enough was enough.
"As usually happens when (the Black Honkeys) are there, the noise gets too loud for this residential area," Gualtieri told the Times. "We have tried for over a year to work things out between Craver's and the residents and it finally came down to a situation where we had to take enforcement action in an effort to resolve this situation.''
J. C. Craver's first opened four years ago under the ownership of Vince and Kelly Lamattina. The couple sold the business in January to Lisa and Nigel Foster.
Last month, a community meeting was held with the new owner, neighbors and staff from Pinellas County to determine a way to ease the unrest.
Although no clear-cut decisions came from the meeting, both sides were hopeful that a peaceful resolution could be reached.
Neighbor Ken Donald told the Times last week that he felt there might still be an opportunity for the problems to be worked out, "but I am hoping to see evidence that Mr. Foster cares as much as I do about what living life on Orange Street is like,'' he said.
When reached by phone on Tuesday, Foster declined to comment, saying only that when it comes to the citation, he is planning "on following the proper legal process with my lawyer's help.''
Piper Castillo can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4163. To write a letter to the editor, visit tampabay.com/letters.