In spite of years of wrangling, it looks like the party will be on for the 2013 summer season at Lazy Gators on Horseshoe Bend while the legal battle appears to be stalled.
A lawsuit filed by the Camden County Commission has done little to dissuade the developer of the venue from doing business. Not much has happened in a lawsuit between Glacier Park Investments and the Camden County Commission that has the fate of Lazy Gators dangling on its edge.
Three years after the county filed an injunction trying to force the lakefront venue to shut down over a planning and zoning issue, the doors are open and the season is about to begin while the legal wrangling over a zoning issue remains to be resolved.
Lazy Gators opened in 2009 on Sweet William Road next door to Shady Gators, a lakeside restaurant and bar. Developer Gary Prewitt's parent company Glacier Park Investments, LLC own the Gator properties.
Since its opening, Lazy Gators has operated using Shady Gators' catering license. The Camden County Planning and Zoning Commission and Camden County Commission denied requests to rezone Lazy Gators property to commercial. The pool, tiki bars, and cabanas are open for business on property still zoned for residential use.
The property is located at the 7-mile marker by water and off Sweet William Road on Horseshoe Bend by land.
At one time, Prewitt estimated he spent $2.9 million tearing down the house that once stood on the end of Sweet William Road and building the swimming pool, buildings and landscaping that make up the Lazy Gators complex.
Legal problems aside, business at Lazy Gators has been brisk during the summer seasons.
It looks like until he is forced to do otherwise and as long as he has the necessary state permit to continue to operate, the venue will be open for the spring/summer season in 2013, welcoming crowds of guests who enjoy the poolside atmosphere with a view of the lake.
The catering permit allows Prewitt to continue to operate even though he is at odds with county over the zoning of the property.
The Lazy Gators property is currently zoned for residential use only. The 1.3 acre parcel where Lazy Gators sits takes in about 1,000 feet of shoreline. Prewitt has built a pool, tiki bar and cabanas. Legally speaking, Lazy Gators patrons are considered guests at private parties.
Attempts by Prewitt to re-zone the property to allow for a commercial entertainment venue through the Camden County Planning and Zoning Commission and the county commission have failed — as did a move to have the property annexed into the village of Sunrise Beach, located across the lake from the property.