A group of residents in St. Petersburg’s Carillon area is suing the city over plans to build a Topgolf recreational facility.
The more-than-67,000-square-foot facility is planned where a 250,000-square-foot office building had previously been approved. Large developments typically require public input before city approval, but St. Pete approved Topgolf’s application administratively, avoiding normal public discourse.
The city considered the modification to the site plan “minor” and therefore handled it in-house without an open public process.
In a lawsuit filed Oct. 30, a group of residents in Carillon area neighborhoods listed as Concerned Citizens of Carillon Inc., argue the city was wrong to consider the modification minor because the original land use approval did not consider a recreational, non-enclosed outdoor recreation facility.
Topgolf filed an application to build the St. Pete facility in 2019. Its application was approved in May. The company operates multi-level climate-controlled driving ranges and serves chef-quality fare and hand-crafted cocktails. They also offer event space for corporate events, which the city claimed made the Carillon location ideal because of its proximity to several large companies like Raymond James and HSN in the area.
This isn’t the first time the city has come under fire for its land-use and development approval processes, but such controversial developments typically are planned in or near downtown and involve residents complaining about the size and scale of large developments.
The city of St. Pete does not comment on pending litigation.
The Topgolf facility, unless a judge grants the complainants’ request to block development, is expected to open next fall.
The Topgolf facility is expected to create 400 full- and part-time jobs and offer more than 100 hitting bays.
The company opened a similar facility in Hillsborough County in 2014.