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Judge tees up hearing in contentious Topgolf case

Brian Hartz

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Topgolf in Centennial, Colo. (PRNewsFoto/Topgolf)

Concerned Residents of Carillon, a group that opposes the construction of a Topgolf facility near homes in the Carillon Park area of northern St. Petersburg, is set to get another day in court — virtually. 

Judge Thomas Ramsberger will preside over a motion for summary judgment hearing on Monday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. Pinellas County Circuit Court has set up dial-in access for people who would like to listen to the proceedings: 425-436-6303, access code 141878#.

The City of St. Petersburg, also a defendant in the lawsuit, filed a motion for summary judgment on Dec. 21. It says the city and Topgolf should prevail in the case because Concerned Residents of Carillon, led by Jason Liu, challenged a development order that had been superseded by a subsequent development order, “thus rendering the case moot,” the motion reads. 

Minor changes — “to mitigate potential noise and light impacts … to surrounding properties,” the motion states — were made to the 67,000-square-foot site plan between May and September 2019, when a revised development order was issued. However, the city and Topgolf argue that Liu’s group, despite attending a Sept. 30 meeting with Topgolf representatives, did not contest the order, nor did they follow up with any communication following the meeting. 

The city and Topgolf, in the motion for summary judgment, say Liu’s group “cannot claim that it was caught unaware of the progress of the Topgolf facility,” adding that Concerned Residents of Carillon’s failure to submit a timely appeal of the September 2019 order means it did not exhaust its administrative remedies, thus the request for summary judgment. 

Attempts to reach Liu for comment were unsuccessful. Andrew Jenkins, an attorney at Bush Ross, the Tampa law firm representing Concerned Citizens of Carillon, declined to comment. 

Topgolf has a facility in a non-residential area of Brandon but executives have said that the St. Pete location will be built from a design that’s sensitive to its environs, with soundproofing, more subdued lighting and glare shields. 

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