For nearly a year now, St. Petersburg Residents have been able to purchase local fresh produce, food and crafts at the “Fresh Market at Founders Corner” in Northeast St. Pete on Fridays and Saturday. But no more, thanks to an arbitrary, lawless decision by the St. Petersburg government. A lone bureaucrat of the City of St. Petersburg, Shane Largent, has taken the law into his own hands and shut down the popular Saturday morning version of the market. His only reason: because he can! That’s right, there is absolutely nothing in the law that allows the government to shut down or even require a permit for the operation of the popular local attraction. Yet the petty dictator has decided that he can make up law out of thin air to apply to this situation.
Thanks to this unjust decision, local market Operator and several local vendors are going to lose business and their livelihoods. Local residents are going to lose affordable, high quality goods on which they have come to rely. The market is located at the “Founders Corner” property owned by Dr. David McKalip at 4th St. N and 62nd Ave. N in St. Petersburg. Ironically Founders Corner features monuments to the founding of our country including to “Limited Government”, “Property Rights” and “Free Markets”. But that has not stopped the power-hungry bureaucrat Shane Largent who dug deep into law to invent a power that doesn’t exist. Citing a vague St. Petersburg ordinance, the man designated a “Planner II” for “Planning and Economic Development” stated that he, as the “Person of Designation” (POD), shall decide whether the market conditions are “reasonable”. The operator of the market, Joe Iziarry, has worked with Dr. McKalip and the surrounding neighborhood to comply with every request of Mr. Largent. Planner II Largent wanted a site plan, He got one. Planner II Largent wanted a parking plan, he got that too. Planner II Largent wanted letters of support and he received many, including from the head of the local health department! Even with all of this, Mr. Largent decided that he would create new law under the vague code: “16.50.410 Temporary Uses” (see below). Mr. Largent could EASILY Have chosen to leave this small, wholesome and harmless business venture alone after harassing it for months. But, not satisfied to exercise his perceived “authority” as far as he did, he arbitrarily decided to call this regularly occurring market an “Event of Public Interest” under paragraph 5 rather than simply calling it an “Other Temporary use” under paragraph 11. As such he feels – HE FEELS – that is is only “reasonable” to allow the market to operate on Fridays and not on Saturday as well.
The result, no market on Saturdays under threat of financial and other civil government penalties for the small Market operator Joe Iziarry and the land owner Dr. McKalip. Ironically, the famous downtown “Saturday Morning Market” does not have ANY permit whatsoever to operate and Planner II Largent simply says it is operating under an old “Mayoral Proclamation”. In other words, the “King” deigned to allow it, so the law doesn’t matter for “the favored” while other new laws will be invented for “the riff raff”. It must help that a former St. Petersburg City Employee runs the downtown “Saturday Morning Market”. As clear cut an example of abuse of “Rule of Law” and “Equal Justice” as possible; these are also memorialized at Founder Corner.
This is yet another example of the massive City Government of St. Petersburg running amok to trample freedom and businesses. There can be only one motivation: submission to the controlling power of those who deem us as their “subjects”. The City Government doesn’t seem to remember that the Citizens constituted the government to serve them, not to be subjects of the Government. The City has a history of abuse of power and recently lost a Constitutional challenge to limits on the Electronic Message center also present at Founders Corner. After previously abusing its power by denying a Food Truck at the same property, the city recently had to write laws to stop bureaucrats from arbitrarily stopping their operation as well! The Owner of the property and Editor/Founder of this Sun Beam Times Blog has personally asked Mayor Kriseman to sit down and solve this problem. Let’s see if Mr. Mayor really wants to help the “struggling, vulnerable and voiceless” as he claimed in his inaugural address or will simply continue to work at the pleasure of the bureaucrats who are really in charge of the People’s government.
SECTION 16.50.410. TEMPORARY USES
This section regulates activities and uses that are not specifically allowed in a zoning district, but may be necessary or appropriate on a temporary basis.
(Code 1992, § 16.50.410.1)
This section provides for the orderly and effective management of temporary land uses not specifically allowed a zoning district. Temporary uses are often found to be necessary and desirable for limited periods of time although they might not be in keeping with the intent and purpose of the zoning district if allowed on a long-term basis. This section provides for thorough administrative review of these special types of land uses. These provisions are designed to allow certain reasonable temporary uses while minimizing adverse impact upon the public health and welfare.
(Code 1992, § 16.50.410.2)
Application for a temporary use permit shall be made to the POD in accordance with the applications and procedures section.
(Code 1992, § 16.50.410.3)
In addition to any other conditions that may reasonably be imposed, a temporary use permit issued for the following uses shall be subject to the following conditions:
- Concrete batch plant for road construction. Such plant shall be located not less than 1,000 feet from any building used for residential purposes.
- Carnival or circus. A parking plan showing sufficient on- and off-street parking must be approved. Such use shall cease before 11:00 p.m. and shall not begin before 8:00 a.m.
- Construction staging area. A temporary use permit may be issued for the use of property needed to accommodate the staging area (e.g., construction trailer, materials, and equipment, etc.) for any construction project.
- Holiday sales (Christmas trees, pumpkins, and fireworks). In any zoning district allowing commercial activities as a permitted use, a temporary use permit may be issued for the display and sale of Christmas trees, pumpkins, fireworks, and other related items on any open lot, parking lot or other location outside a building.
- Event of public interest. A temporary use permit may be issued for an event of public interest, including but not limited to, outdoor concerts, auctions, automobile races, block parties, business district events, and neighborhood events.
- Public assembly activities. A temporary use permit may be issued for public assembly activities which may be conducted under tents.
- Temporary modular unit for redevelopment of an existing business. A temporary use permit may be issued for a modular unit to house the operations of an existing business that is being redeveloped or reconstructed.
- Temporary modular unit or vehicle for redevelopment of an existing residence. A temporary use permit may be issued for a modular unit or vehicle to house occupants during the period in which a residence is being redeveloped or reconstructed.
- Promotional activities involving outdoor display of goods and merchandise. In commercial zones, a temporary use permit may be issued for a period of not more than two consecutive weeks in any six-month period for a retail business to display merchandise in the area immediately adjacent to the building that is for sale within the building, subject to the following conditions:
a.No portion of the display shall be on a right-of-way unless the applicant obtains approval for the use at that location from the POD.
b. No required off-street parking spaces or loading area will be utilized for such display storage or dispensing.
c. No food or drink may be displayed outside the building except in accordance with standards and prior written approval of the county health department.
11. Other temporary uses as may be approved by the POD. The POD shall impose reasonable conditions on the use to ensure that any impacts are mitigated to a reasonable degree.
12. Parking lots. A temporary use permit may be issued for unpaved parking lots, without regard to whether parking lots are a permitted use in a zoning district, when events at Tropicana Field are reasonably expected to attract more than 20,000 spectators. Such permits may be issued for not more than 30 event days in a calendar year and shall not be issued for any lot upon which a single-family residential use exists. The City may immediately revoke the permit, and refuse to grant future applications for a permit for a location, if there is a violation of any permit conditions.
(Code 1992, § 16.50.410.4; Ord. No. 900-G, § 2, 9-11-2008)