Multiple Belleair Shore residents against ordinance that bans umbrellas at the beach

A skin cancer survivor is fighting back against an umbrella ban at Belleair Shore after he said he received a $116 fine, and he's not alone. Multiple residents feel certain rules violate their rights as homeowners.

There's no shade allowed at Belleair Shore but some homeowners who live on Belleair Beach are determined to change that.

"I have to protect myself. I have to protect my grandkids. When we're here, and we spend maybe three hours, four hours at the most. We want to be able to have an umbrella," Belleair Beach resident Pete Redero said.

Back on June 12, Redero had an umbrella and two shade tents set up on the beach when he said Pinellas deputies hit him with a $116 fine for violating an ordinance which bans any kind of temporary shade structures. Redero, who's had several cancer spots removed from his face, feels he should be able to enjoy the beach without sacrificing sun protection. 

"We bought our house. Exactly for this. We live in Belleair Beach or residential Belleair Beach, and we live just down the street. The umbrella is making it impossible for us to come and spend some time at the beach," Redero said.

The umbrella ban was originally put in place about two years ago after issues with the pandemic and non-residents coming to the shore. Now, some feel the extra rules are only a means to limit access and deter Belleair Beach residents from taking up space.

"One of the things they said, which is actually unbelievable, it's blocking their view. I mean, these houses are absolutely gorgeous. They're three stories high. They have a 24/7 view of the beach," Belleair Beach resident Joe Manzo said.

Back in September 2020, Manzo who's an attorney and also the former Belleair Beach Mayor filled a lawsuit against the Town of Belleair Shore seeking damages and asking the town the repeal the umbrella ordinance. Forty-eight people have since joined the suit, which is still working its way through the courts.

If neither can reach a settlement, Manzo said they are prepared to go to trial which would most likely happen sometime next year.

"We don't want to go someplace else. And we got a Florida constitutional right to use that beach, and by God, we're going to use it," Manzo said.