The ATM has been at Tony's Pizzeria for years.
It was only two months ago, however, that it was moved outside along the sidewalk on Clearwater's Cleveland Street to make it more convenient for users, owner Bledar "Tony" Starova said.
“I didn’t think it was a big problem,” he said Wednesday in front of the controversial cash machine.
And two days after comments by Mayor George N. Cretekos about the machine being a violation of city code during Monday's Community Redevelopment Agency meeting, Starova was having it removed.
"It irritates me when a member of the Downtown Development Board is blatantly ignoring a rule and an ordinance of the city of Clearwater and is just violating our own ordinances even though he has been warned repeatedly to make corrections, and now we're having to bring him before the Code Enforcement Board,” Cretekos said. “It's not responsible for a member of any of our organizations to thumb his nose at the ordinances of the city of Clearwater, and I hope that is conveyed to him posthaste.”
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Starova, who was heading to a Downtown Development Board meeting Wednesday, said the first thing he planned to start with was to address this issue and apologize.
“It’s all a misunderstanding,” Starova said.
Tony’s recently expanded with a pizza shop opening in downtown Dunedin and Starova opened the Capitol Beer House next door to the Clearwater location. While Starova runs the Dunedin location and beer bar, he said his brother Jimmy took over duties managing the Clearwater pizza shop.
Jimmy said he got a letter regarding the issue two weeks earlier that warned to correct the violation by Jan. 31. He admitted he had been busy and did not realize the company that installed the machine did not get the proper permits.
"I don't know anything about ATMs," he said.
Jimmy said he contacted the company that owns the machine, and it was coming to remove the screening Wednesday. A technician would be there a few days later to remove the machine.
Starova said after it is completely removed, he is going to talk with city officials to find out the steps and process to be able to offer ATM services.
“And if we don’t have an agreement, we won’t put one in,” he said.