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Chunky Sunday's future remains iffy

The future of "Chunky Sunday" became more muddled Monday.

During a sometimes heated meeting, City Council member Larry Williams told about 100 residents of the Greater Pinellas Point Civic Association that he would put the topic of the weekly gathering on the May 7 City Council agenda.

He also plans to ask that future permits for the event, which attracts as many as 5,000 people, be suspended pending further discussions by the council.

Police had hoped to rotate the gathering to Pinellas Point's Maximo Park and to Campbell Park to appease residents of Bartlett Park, where the mammoth party is now in its second year. Residents have complained of traffic congestion, loud and vulgar music and litter.

"Maybe we need to review how we issue permits," Williams said after the almost two-hour emergency meeting.

"Until we can find out what the facts are, we need to suspend any permits which are not existing as we speak."

It is unclear what that means for the gatherings during the next few weeks. A planned Memorial Day gathering at Maximo Park already has been canceled because city officials will not issue a permit for the event on a holiday, Parks Director Dell Holmes said.

During the meeting, Pinellas Point residents, with few exceptions, said they opposed hosting the Sunday party, even though some voted last week to accept Chunky Sunday on a trial basis.

Williams said rumors about the gathering must be resolved.

"My concerns are they are drinking beer, they are smoking dope. I was told, and I don't know if that is true or not, that vendors may be charged a fee to entitle them to sell their products there," he said. "I'd like to know who is paying for the extra police services and the city cleanup, the use of Port-O-Lets there. I think we need to find out if that stuff is factual or hearsay."

Neighborhood president Brent Fisher said the topic of Chunky Sunday will be placed on the agenda for the association's May 19 meeting. Last week's vote by about 30 residents to allow the party to be rotated to Maximo park probably will be rescinded, Fisher said.

"The question is what is going to happen with council between now and May 19," he added.

At the same time, Pinellas Point, Campbell Park and neighborhoods already affected by Chunky Sunday are scheduled to meet May 5 with Police Chief Goliath Davis and Jamaican Funk, the promotion group that plays music for Chunky Sunday.

Earlier Monday, neighborhood representatives presented Davis with a list of conditions for allowing the parties. Included was a request that Chunky Sunday be rotated throughout the city.