Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Warm weekend gives Treasure Island a preview of crowds to come at Sunset Beach

TREASURE ISLAND — Warmer weather attracted 400 to 500 beachgoers to Sunset Beach last weekend, a harbinger of larger spring break crowds to come.

Last year, crowd estimates peaked at more than 3,000 and were particularly concentrated on holiday weekends into the summer. Caddy's on the Beach bar and restaurant was the focal point for many beachgoers.

Spring break already has begun, but crowds have yet to reach their maximum.

Increased traffic, parking and alcohol-related behavior problems associated with those crowds led to increases in residents' complaints that continued throughout the year and, most recently, resulted in a lawsuit against the city and Caddy's.

"Spring break is kinda-sorta here. The beach was busy, but not at peak crowds. Sunday was busier," Treasure Island police Chief Tim Casey said Monday. He estimated Saturday's beach crowd at about 400, while warmer weather Sunday drew about 500 to the beach.

He expects the number of Sunset Beach visitors to increase significantly once temperatures rise another 5 to 10 degrees.

Casey said the heaviest concentration of beachgoers was south of Caddy's on Saturday and Sunday.

Although three people were arrested on an assortment of drug and alcohol charges, he said those crowds were mostly well-behaved.

Casey said with extra officers on duty, as well as off-duty officers hired by Caddy's, there were about 11 officers patrolling the beach and Sunset Beach neighborhoods.

In addition, Caddy's employees patrolled the section of beach the restaurant owns to ensure that the city's ban on beer kegs and glass containers was being obeyed.

Police officers also responded to a scattering of residential complaints about cars parking too close to driveways.

New surveillance cameras the city set up north and south of Caddy's have not detected any illegal behavior, Casey said.

"It will take heavier crowds for the cameras to show their worth. I actually think they are more of a deterrent," he said.

Nonetheless, live video feeds from the cameras are being watched at police headquarters.

Casey said big signs on the beach warn visitors that police are watching.

Meanwhile, city officials are still debating what kind of new parking regulations should be created to help alleviate problems, not only on Sunset Beach, but throughout the city.

The City Commission last Wednesday discussed a staff proposal to change the rules for off-street commercial parking lots and forwarded it, with some changes, to the city's Planning and Zoning Board for review.

At issue are properties owned by Caddy's that are used for satellite and valet parking. A lawsuit claims the lots violate city codes.

Tuesday night, commissioners also planned to review a series of on-street parking rules affecting Sunset Beach.

As recommended by Casey, new rules would ban parking on one side of neighborhood streets that run east to west. The proposed rules would be in effect between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends and some holidays.

Sunset Beach streets affected by the proposed rules are between 95th Avenue and Blind Pass Drive to the south. Casey, fire Chief Charlie Fant and Public Works Director Jim Murphy selected the particular street sides that would be closed to parking.

Warm weekend gives Treasure Island a preview of crowds to come at Sunset Beach 03/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 5:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill


    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    Demonstrators protests the passage of a House Republican health care bill, outside the the Capitol in Washington, on May 4. The House took the unusual step of voting on the American Health Care Act before the Congressional Budget Office could assess it. That analysis was released Thursday and it showed the bill would cause 23 million fewer people to have health insurance by 2026. Many additional consumers would see skimpier health coverage and higher deductibles, the budget office projected.
  2. Florida Specialty Insurance acquires Pinellas Park's Mount Beacon Insurance


    Tens of thousands of homeowners who were pushed out of Citizens Property Insurance for a private carrier since 2014 are finding themselves changing insurance companies yet again.

  3. Pope Francis presents Trump with a 'politically loaded gift': His encyclical on climate change

    Global Warming

    VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis appeared to make his point with a gift.

    Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Wednesday.  [Evan Vucci/Pool via The New York Times]
  4. Tampa police say 41-year-old man shot and killed by ex-boss, investigation ongoing


    TAMPA — A 41-year-old man was shot and killed by his former boss Wednesday morning outside the West Tampa auto body shop where they once worked together, according to Tampa police.

  5. Father and brother of alleged bomber detained in Libya


    The father and younger brother of the man who British police say bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester have been detained in Libya, where anti-terror authorities said the brother confessed to knowing "all the details" of the attack plot.

    Hashim Ramadan Abedi appears inside the Tripoli-based Special Deterrent anti-terrorism force unit after his arrest on Tuesday for alleged links to the Islamic State extremist group. Abedi is the brother of Salman Abedi, who has been identified as the man behind the bombing that killed 22 people and wounded scores at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester. [Ahmed Bin Salman, Special Deterrent Force via AP]