Article Courtesy of The St.
By Mike Brassfield
November 15, 2010
CLEARWATER — Ever since the days of
castles and keeps, humankind has been building towers to live in, and
guarded gatehouses to keep strangers at bay.
It's no different on Sand Key, the
wealthiest slice of Clearwater. This thin strip of barrier island is known
for its row of tall, sleek condominium towers that loom above a two-lane
road. Most of them have guardhouses out front to keep intruders from
filling up the parking lots.
|Now a pair of
neighboring beachfront towers are embroiled in a lawsuit
over the gatehouse that they share.
For years, the South Beach
Condominiums at 1460 and 1480 Gulf Blvd. split the cost of
keeping their gatehouse staffed by a security guard around
the clock. Each of the two buildings contains roughly 140
units, many of which are valued in the neighborhood of
But hard times demand that
even the well-to-do tighten their belts. Last year, the
condo owners in the 1480 building decided that paying a
guard for an overnight shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. was a
bit of a luxury. They decided to trim expenses
towers of South Beach Condominiums on Sand Key, from left, 1480
and 1460 Gulf Blvd., share the cost of keeping their gatehouse
staffed by a security guard.
installing a keypad entry system at the gatehouse and stopping their share
of payments for a late-shift guard.
The problem was, the residents of 1460 Gulf
Blvd. weren't too keen on that idea. They still wanted a night guard but
didn't want to pay the whole cost by themselves. They demanded that the 1480
owners resume paying their share.
The residents of 1480 refused, and that's
when the legal wrangling began.
"Attorney's letters have been going back
and forth," said Gary Schaaf, lawyer for the condominium association at
1480 Gulf Blvd.
The condo owners at 1480 are suing their
neighbors in the next building. In the lawsuit, filed in Pinellas Circuit
Court, they allege that the condo owners at 1460 Gulf Boulevard have:
• demanded that the 1480 residents remove
their keypad entry system;
• threatened to disable the keypad if it's
• threatened to order the guards not to
allow residents of 1480 through the gatehouse after 7 p.m.
"Has anyone been kept out? Not
yet," Schaaf said. "But they're threatening to do it."
This pair of condo high-rises was built in
the early 1980s. The developer who created both buildings set it up so that
they share a driveway in an easement located between the two towers.
According to the lawsuit, the residents of
1460 are claiming that the 1480 residents installed their keypad entry
system at the northern edge of the driveway. They say that spot is on their
property and it lies outside the easement area, so they have the right to
block their neighbors from using it.
The residents of 1480 are seeking a court
So, who can come through the gate? It'll be
up to a judge to decide.