Little did they know when they passed this ordinance, that it would end up in front of a judge! A Tampa Bay town’s beach umbrella ban has sparked a court battle.
Back in 2020, the town of Belleair Shore Beach passed an ordinance prohibiting certain activities on the beach. One of those things was:
- Erect, possess, or cause to be erected any tent, canopy, umbrella, temporary shade structure or recreation structure on the beach within the incorporated limits of the town.
You read correctly. No umbrellas are allowed on the sands of Belleair Shore Beach! That didn’t sit well with people including the former mayor of the the town, Joseph Manzo. “They passed an ordinance in Belleair Shore that bans all of the citizens of Belleair Beach that have the exclusive rights to use these lots for beach and bathing purposes, they stopped us from putting up umbrellas or any shade devices,” Manzo said in 2020. “What they’ve really said though was that it’s because of our view and we don’t want the people on the beach.” Manzo filed a lawsuit and took the town to court saying the ordinance violated his constitutional rights.
Belleair Shore Beach responded to Manzo and his lawsuit with the following: “The Initial Complaint should be dismissed because the Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this action; fails to allege a constitutional violation; and alleges no connection between an adjacent property and the challenged ordinance.”
The wheels of justice move slow and since this lawsuit was filed in 2020 another person has joined the Manzo lawsuit claiming a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine. This lawsuit is still moving throught the courts.
In case you were wondering, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office has handed out multiple warnings for the beach umbrella ban but have only issued two citations. [SOURCE News Channel 8]