TAMPA, Fla. - The neighborhood just west of South Howard Avenue between Swann Avenue and Morrison Avenue is a quaint and quiet area filled with older-style houses and giant trees.
Mike Bell lives with his family in the neighborhood and says they “love the older-style houses.”
Annaliese Meier lives across the street in a house she says she “got lucky buying.”
Both Bell and Meier are worried about the neighborhood they love.
They believe changes to a business on nearby South Howard Avenue may soon change their quiet lifestyle.
The Tampa City Council recently approved a change to The Lime restaurant and bar on South Howard Avenue, allowing the establishment to stay open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is a couple hundred feet away from Bell and Meier’s houses.
Bell, Meier and many others in the neighborhood believe the change in hours will bring more crime, noise and traffic into their neighborhood. Each thinks, at worst, the area will soon turn into a carbon-copy of Ybor City.
“We don’t want this to turn into Ybor because Ybor became just a mess,” Meier said.
“There is a chance (the crime, noise and traffic) could be spilling into a more residential area,” Bell said, worried the changes to The Lime’s hours would be a pre-cursor to more late-night establishments coming to the area.The neighbors fought hard to prevent the city council from approving the change in hours, but were unsuccessful.
But Jeff Gigante, co-owner of The Lime, does not believe the neighbors have anything to worry about. He said the restaurant has always been a “good neighbor” to the people who live in the neighborhood behind the restaurant.
He also said he was more than willing to work with the neighbors to assuage their concerns, but felt the change in hours would not bring the crime and noise the neighbors worried about.
Mike Missert, who lives in the neighborhood near The Lime and does not have a problem with the hour change, agrees with Gigante that crime will not increase.
“I honestly don’t see The Lime doing that great a business at 2 a.m. anyway,” Missert said.
To try and bring both sides of the issue together, city councilwoman Yvonne Capin has planned a Tuesday meeting.
The meeting will be held at the Kate Jackson Community Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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