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Restaurant feud over parking space

5:45 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- It is a busy intersection: Blanding and Argyle Forest boulevards. Carrabba's on one side, soon to be Duke's Steak House on the other.

"They didn't have enough parking on their property," said Andrew Harrow, "so they decided to apply for what they called an administrative deviation."

And they, Carrabba's, got it, much to the objection of Harrow. Harrow is the developer of Duke's Steak House and he is crying foul in this battle between the chophouse and the trattoria.

"They decided to put a fence in the middle of the property," said Harrow. "That is our access they blocked the entrance to our property."

It is temporary fencing. Even so, Harrow claims it is on his property and he doesn't like it.

"How do you drive on to your property if you have a fence in the middle of your property?" he asked.

Harrow, reacting to the fence, posted signs on his property warning Carrabba's customers if they park on his side of the fence their vehicle will be towed.

"They need to take the fence down and keep their cars off our property," said Harrow. "Hire a guard and keep their people off our property."

It is so serious, Harrow has filed suit. He fought all the way to the appellate court, only to lose.

"The City of Jacksonville spent the money defending their own actions, which should be illegal," he said, "The whole deviation process should be illegal."

Harrow said he can't develop Duke's Steak House until the parking issue is resolved.

"How do you do anything if they block your access? Because we are landlocked," said Harrow.

Attorney Paul Harden represents Carrabba's. 

"This matter has been considered by four different tribunals and all have ruled against him," said Harden. 

Harden said the temporary fence is there to block the construction area and it is not on Harrow's property, Harden said. It is on the easement.

Harden said the courts have declared Harrow's lawsuit frivolous and now he has to pay Harden $40,000 in legal fees.

As for Harrow's request to remove the fence, Harden has yet to respond.

Harrow has two other Duke Steak House restaurants in Florida and has had legal fights in the Ft. Myers community.

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