TAMPA - A Tampa civic group is trying to keep a Redner-owned business out of their neighborhood. But it's not the type of business or the Redner you probably guessed.
Cigar City Brewing, owned by Joey (not Joe) Redner, wants a license to serve beer in a tasting room next to their Spruce Street brewery. The neighbors don’t want that to happen.
In two short years, Cigar City Brewing has won national awards and local loyalty among a small but growing group of beer aficionados. The tasting room operates under a temporary beer and wine license that expires this year. Owner Joey Redner is seeking a permanent wet zoning license from the Tampa City Council.
The brewery is on a large commercial parcel that features a Home Depot, Target, a Total Wine big box store and Redner Enterprises.
Immediately to the west are two proud and historic neighborhoods with an active homeowners association they share. With all those stores and busy Dale Mabry within earshot, the residents of Lincoln Gardens and Carver City have had enough commercial encroachment.
“We just don't want it” says Maurice Harvey, president of the homeowner’s association. His group has fought and mostly lost wars against strip clubs, bars and restaurants along nearby Dale Mabry Highway.
When the Bennigan’s Restaurant was approved years ago, Harvey says they were assured there would be no problems.
“We had cars parked from here to the playground for St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo. Then we had the noise ordinance. None of it was ever enforced,” laments Harvey.
Harvey doesn't much care that Cigar City Brewing caters to customers who are more beer snobs than party animals and he hasn’t even gone inside to check it out. But this isn't personal. Maurice Harvey doesn't dislike beer or Joey Redner or Joey Redner's famous father, Joe Redner.
Harvey's actually more worried about what will happen when Cigar City Brewing gets even more successful.
“The issue is, he's going to outgrow the place. He's going to leave and we're stuck with another business there that isn't quite as nice.
Redner says he's already addressed that concern by agreeing to limit his license to allow only a beer tasting room attached to a brewery.
“Let's say 10 years down the road, we're not here. Anyone who would come to this space would actually have to go to the extreme expense of opening a brewery to have wet zoning here” said Redner.
Tampa’s City council will vote on this issue December 2. Redner says if he loses, he will move his tasting room outside of the neighborhood or even out of town if necessary.
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