Councilman: Tampa squeezing small businesses

07/31/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday

A discussion on a wet zoning in West Tampa caused Tampa City Councilman Joseph Catano to make an outburst about small businesses getting squeezed.

The topic was a small convenience store proposed at Main Street near the Interstate 275 entrance.

City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena initially objected, saying she was concerned that a concentration on selling alcohol could harm children in the area.

No one at the Council meeting spoke against the proposed new business, but Councilwoman Mary Mulhern countered that not everyone in the West Tampa neighborhood supported it. She read aloud a letter written by Janice Williams of the Old West Tampa Neighborhood Association opposing the store.

City Councilman John Dingfelder said he had ambivalent feelings, and asked if the store would agree not to sell single beers, particularly 40-ounce bottles.

Land use consultant Steve Michelini, said the owner would agree not to sell singles.

But that seemed to irk Joseph Catano, who generally champions small businesses during Council discussions.

The Council later voted to support the wet zoning on a 5-1 vote, with Mary Mulhern dissenting.

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