tampabay.com

Eyebrow-raising action has amicable ending

A sports bar is fixing code problems and a shocking ad is gone.

By ANNE LINDBERG
Published January 10, 2007


The saga of the sign at the Page II Sports Bar and Night Club could be a modern fable with this lesson: Don't do something outrageous that will draw the city's attention unless you're complying with all codes.

The story began a few days before New Year's Eve when a resident called City Hall to complain about the bar's sign, which invited one and all to a "big fucin New Years party."

The resident deemed it obscene and wanted it removed.

But Seminole officials were stymied. Without the "k," the word was likely not obscene. Rather than engage in a battle with overtones of the First Amendment and free speech, officials opted for the friendly approach. They sent code officer John Marcum to ask owners to be a good neighbor and remove the sign.

When Marcum got to the Page II, 8680 Park Blvd., the bar was closed. While there, however, he inspected the sign and found multiple code problems with it.

On Dec. 28, Marcum cited the bar for four alleged violations, including the addition of electrical lights without a permit, plastic pennants and a missing sign face.

No one answered Page II's phone Tuesday to comment.

Marcum gave Page II until Jan. 5 to remove the nonpermitted lights and the pennants and to replace the sign face. If it did not, the owners ran risk of fines that could go as high as $250 a day. Repeat offenses could incur fines as much as $500 a day.

As of Jan. 5, the pennants and illegal lights had been removed and the owners had ordered a new face for the sign. The New Year's party advertisement also was gone.

"We try to respond to the citizens' issues as best we can in keeping with the law," said Mark Ely, Seminole's community development director. "We do no more than the law allows and no less than it requires."

Unlike many fables, this one looks like it's headed for a happy ending.