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Parking shortage stops liquor license bid

The owners of a new deli planned for Platt Street face opposition to their application from nearby businesses.

By DAVID KARP
Published September 19, 2003

TAMPA - For years, the only lights burning on Platt Street were under the thatched roof of an Irish pub.

Before downtown living became trendy, Four Green Fields was the sole source of late night noise on the edge of downtown. But now that the neighborhood has taken off, the pub is seeing a new phenomenon:

Competition.

Thursday, Four Green Fields and other businesses blocked another longtime Tampa restaurant name from operating in the way it wanted - on a corner that businesses wouldn't touch 10 years ago.

The City Council unanimously turned down a request for a new restaurant to serve alcohol at 201-A W Platt St., near Bayshore Boulevard, a short walk from the pub.

The hearing pitted Four Green Fields against another well-known south Tampa name, Marc and Didi Zudar of Zudar's. The couple opened the South Tampa lunch spot, known for its deli sandwiches and gourmet desserts. (It's now under new ownership.)

Zudar's neighbors wanted to avoid the crunch created in such growing neighborhoods as South Howard and Davis Islands, where people walk blocks for a parking space.

Already, the Publix beside Four Green Fields has posted signs warning people not to park in its lot.

People routinely park at the Publix rather than pay for parking during concerts and hockey games at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Charles Klug Jr., an attorney for the grocery chain, said the new restaurant will only bring more traffic.

"We can't afford to have any more spaces taken," he said.

Zudar's lawyer, John B. Grandoff III, argued that the restaurant had provided all the parking spaces required by city codes. "There is plenty of parking," he said.

The owner of the property had agreed to give the restaurant access to 26 spaces, he said.

But neighbors said the 26 spaces would be used for other businesses too. Next door, private investigator Scott Kamp of S.L.K. Investigations said the same property owner has given him the right to use eight of the spaces.

Colin Breen, owner of Four Green Fields, said Zudar approached him about sharing some of the pub's spaces. When Breen said no, he said Zudar claimed he had the influence to get the project through City Council anyway.

"I never said that," Zudar said Thursday.

Soon, the pub and deli will have to co-exist. Although the council denied Zudar the right to serve alcohol, he can still open his deli. He plans to do so by mid-October.

Mrs. Zudar said she wants to get along with her neighbors and talk over any problems.

When they stop in, "we will give them a piece of pie," she said.

- Times staff writer David Karp can be reached at 226-3376 or karp@sptimes.com

[Last modified September 19, 2003, 01:48:06]


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