Slider's owner files suit against Neptune Beach

A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Neptune Beach in response to an ordinance recently passed to address nuisance lighting.
The suit, filed by King Neptune Seafood, Inc., (the corporation that owns Sliders in the Beaches Town Center) was brought against the city for “injunctive and declaratory relief.” The suit claims that the plaintiff previously obtained a permit from the city to install the very lighting “covered by the ordinance at issue.” It goes on to claim that the ordinance is void for vagueness and that it violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The ordinance specifically addresses man-made light and issues of light trespass and glare citywide. According to the ordinance, lighting fixtures in operation as of January 2019 will be considered permitted non-conforming lighting and are not required to be removed or replaced, provided it does not create light trespass to any adjacent property or unreasonably interfere with the lawful use and enjoyment of any adjacent property. Replacement and new lighting are not considered permitted non-conforming and must come into compliance, the ordinances reads.
The lawsuit against the city alleges the business utilized its lighting without issue until the owner had a disagreement with another business owner in the community. It goes on to claim that this disagreement led to the complaints and ultimate proposal of the lighting ordinance.
“During city council meetings and workshops regarding the proposed ordinance, two things were made clear (1) the public was overwhelmingly against the ordinance and, more importantly, (2) the ordinance was being passed solely to target Sliders,” the suit claims. Additionally, it states that the ordinance targets alleged light trespass as it relates to exterior lighting.
“However, that term as well as other terms set forth therein are vague because they fail to give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited and it fails to provide explicit standards for those who apply it to avoid arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement,” it continues.
During the April 1 City Council meeting, Councilor Scott Wiley — the single vote against the ordinance — said he did not support the ordinance because he believed it was “very vague,” hard to enforce and that the city did not spend enough time discussing it.