Pensacola mayor sued over portable toilet construction at veteran’s park

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The mayor of Pensacola is being sued over a portable toilet.

In a lawsuit filed Monday by the McDonald Fleming Law Firm, on behalf of a group of property owners and residents, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson, the Veteran’s Memorial Park Foundation, and the city are accused of bypassing traditional permitting in order to get a site ready for a portable restroom trailer at Veteran’s Memorial Park.

“The lawsuit alleges that the installation of underground utilities, pouring of a concrete foundation, and proposed location of a modular toilet trailer on a structural slab at the entrance of the award-winning park, was done without a building permit, without required inspections, and without review and approval by the Planning Board,” a press release from the McDonald Fleming Law Firm reads. “It also alleges that the proposed structure is not a permitted use, does not meet applicable wind codes, and violates flood elevation requirements creating life-safety risks to surrounding persons and property.”

Veteran advocates have long pushed for a bathroom at the veteran’s park, and many believe the portable bathroom is a solution for now.

“We’re not taking care of the families left behind,” said veteran’s advocate Cris Dosev. “This simple little gesture — if this upsets people, the doors always open. They can always leave.”

Attorney Ed Fleming told WKRG News 5 the bathroom violates city code, stating portable bathrooms are not permitted in the area of Pensacola, right off of 9th Avenue and Bayfront Parkway.

“Any type of the development within the park also has to go for review before the Parks and Recreation Board,” Fleming said. “None of those things were done.” 

“Absolute nonsense,” Dosev said in response to the lawsuit. “We have followed everything that the city requires, to include the mayor and inspectors here. They’re making it up.”

Those in favor of the temporary bathroom say it’s been needed for the park for years. Fleming said his clients would be willing to raise funds to pay for a permanent bathroom.

“But that would be an aesthetically pleasing facility that blended with the beauty of the park,” he said. “Not an ugly toilet trailer.”

The city approved the temporary bathroom. It is expected to be installed soon, depending on the results of the lawsuit.

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