Airstream Ranch isn't junk, advertising
By DAVE NICHOLSON
Published: February 13, 2010
DOVER - Airstream Ranch, a row of partially buried travel trailers that is a favorite spectacle among highway sightseers, does not violate Hillsborough County codes, a three-judge panel has ruled.
The panel this week overturned a Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Board determination that that the trailers constituted junk and off-site advertising for the adjacent Bates RV dealership at Interstate 4 and McIntosh Road.
Assistant County Attorney Nancy Y. Takemori said she was reviewing the judges' order and had not decided whether she will suggest an appeal.
Lawyer Luke Lirot, who represents Airstream Ranch owner Frank Bates, said he was elated at the decision by three Hillsborough circuit court judges.
Bates said he was "tickled to death" about the victory.
"It's not every day that you can fight city hall, so to speak, and win," he said.
Bates, who also owns Bates RV, contends the 2-year-old display is art.
Residents have complained of motorists crowding their neighborhood to get a better look at the creation.
The judges found there was no "competent, substantial evidence" to support the 2008 code enforcement board's findings that the display either was junk or any type of nuisance, that it was "open outside storage," or that it was an improper "off-site sign" advertising Bates RV.
Reporter Dave Nicholson can be reached at (813) 627-4727.