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Couple files suit over request to construct backyard pool

By SUSAN THURSTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 12, 2002

A controversy over a swimming pool in Sunset Park has moved one step deeper.

Peter and Michelle Alonso have filed a lawsuit against the city of Tampa charging that the City Council wrongly denied a request to build a pool behind the Alonsos' waterfront home.

The council in May overturned a decision by the variance review board to grant the pool at 5007 W San Gable Court.

The lawsuit says council members based their ruling on opinion, rather than on evidence presented to the variance review board in March.

The suit, filed June 27 in Hillsborough County Court, asks the city to reinstate the original decision or reconsider it.

The debate has pitted the Alonsos against neighbor Steve Yerrid, a wealthy lawyer, and has cost both sides thousands in legal fees. Yerrid opposes the pool and appealed the first ruling. He is not a party in the current lawsuit.

The Alonsos need a variance to reduce a wetlands buffer zone from 30 to 10 feet to make room for the pool. Their back yard abuts the Audubon Sanctuary, a small nature preserve on the edge of Tampa Bay.

Peter Alonso said they decided to sue because they felt their request was fair and reasonable.

"I'm a patient person," he said. "Sooner or later I think the facts will surface."

The city attorney could not be reached to comment on the lawsuit.

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