OWNER — Peter Ferrentino, owner of City Limits Taproom & Grille, poses outside his bar in November 2022, before a meeting between the bar and the local Hasidic community regarding noise some attributed to events at City Limits. Although both sides agreed to work together, the goodwill has again eroded. Additionally, Ferrentino is contending with code violations that he says were on the property before he took over ownership.

The owner of a food-and-drink business north of DeLand is under pressure to rid himself and his property of a half-dozen alleged violations of Volusia County’s building and permitting ordinances.

“I want to fix my problems so they don’t have anything against me,” Pete Ferrentino, owner of the City Limits Taproom and Grille, told The Beacon. “What am I being punished for?”

As he operates his business, located at 4425 North U.S. Highway 17 between DeLand and DeLeon Springs, the county’s Code Enforcement Board has determined Ferrentino is not in compliance on six counts.

Countdown to compliance?

Assistant County Attorney Sebrina Slack said the six alleged violations remain active, “and so they were found in non-compliance.”

The board July 19 gave Ferrentino until Oct. 18 to fix the problems — or at least make progress toward eliminating them — or perhaps face huge fines.

“All of the [other] counts met the burden of proof, and so they were found in non-compliance. They have to come into compliance by then,” Slack added.

Ferrentino resents being compelled to deal with code violations that he says he did not create, such as the presence of a shipping container and an RV on the City Limits property.

“I just don’t understand why I have to clean up someone else’s mess,” Ferrentino said.

But, for his part, Ferrentino has promised he will obtain the required permits and meet the Code Enforcement Board’s other demands.

“They want me to pull a fence permit,” he said. “I’m going to get the permit. I’m going to get the site plan.”

He also promised to move the shipping container off the property and to stop using an RV as a dwelling.

“I have an older gentleman who also lives here. He’s my nighttime security,” Ferrentino said.

“They’re not intended as a permanent residence,” Assistant County Attorney Sebrina Slack said, referring to RVs.

The costs of doing business

As of now, Ferrentino is under multiple pressures.

First, some of his neighbors have complained about the noise, especially loud music at night and on weekends, that they say comes from the bar.

Several of the complaints have come from Orthodox Jewish neighbors who moved en masse from New York and its problems and have settled in the rural area.

In fact, when several of the Jewish neighbors appeared before the County Council Nov. 1, the county’s code officers began their investigation of City Limits and possible breaches of building and property laws.

The Jewish residents say the noise from the bar not only rattles windows, but also infringes upon their Sabbath.

The Sabbath, observed between Friday sunset and Saturday sunset, is a time when the devout seek to set aside worldly activities and spend the time in worship, rest, prayer and Scripture reading.

The Orthodox community voiced their concerns to the County Council last fall, and a meeting was subsequently arranged between Ferrentino and the neighbors to work out their differences.

At the time, both sides agreed to work together. In recent months and weeks, however, the goodwill has dissipated. Ferrentino said the complaints from “the religious group across the street” have resumed, as noted by Slack.

“The neighbors are continuing to complain, and there’s numbers that the noise levels exceed what is allowed,” she said. “The Sheriff’s Office will complete a charging affidavit and then it’s forwarded to the County Attorney’s Office, and then if they file on it, it goes to Volusia County Court as an ordinance violation.”

Slack said five such alleged noise violations are pending. A court date has not yet been set.

Ferrentino denies City Limits’ noise is a nuisance late at night.

“The band always ends at 11,” he told the Code Enforcement Board. “Our band is done at 11.”

In one of the charging affidavits, dated Oct. 23, 2022, however, Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the bar shortly after midnight and noted the noise level was 59.1 decibels. The county’s noise ordinance sets a limit of 55 decibels between 10 p.m. and 6:59 a.m. The affidavit names Ferrentino as a defendant.

The report also noted there were “twenty more complaints in the last 90 days.”

If the court rules the noise ordinance has been broken, such violations are misdemeanors. Violators convicted of making more noise than the county’s law allows may be fined as much as $500, or sentenced to up to 60 days in jail, or both.

The violations
• Construction of a stage, an outdoor bar and shed without building permits
• Parking a semitractor-trailer where it is not permitted
• Installing a fence without a building permit
• Failing to obtain an itinerant vendors’ host license
• Maintaining a recreational vehicle as an accessory-use structure, namely as a dwelling
• Failure to obtain an approved site plan for the business and its improvements
On the last point, the board and the code officers declared Ferrentino out of sync with a site plan drafted several years ago.

The other side of the story

Ferrentino counters that the activity at City Limits is a sign of success. He recalled the owner of the former business at that location, Pitmasters Barbeque, sold their property to him. Before Pitmasters, the business was known as Trader Jack’s. Ferrentino opened City Limits in 2022.

“This is a business that is successful,” he said. “They’ve got a vendetta against me. The moral of the story is, why don’t they buy the place if they want me out of there.”

The spiritual leader of the Orthodox group, Rabbi Abraham Fisher, could not be reached for comment.

Ferrentino also said City Limits gives back to the community. Examples of charitable efforts, he noted, are a fundraiser for a cancer victim, and “we’re getting backpacks for homeless kids.”

“All I want to do is run a business,” he said. “I’m not trying to cause trouble.”

Secondly, the cost of operating a business is a challenge — even without facing possible violations of laws.

“It’s a very frustrating thing. I had to pay $18,000 for air conditioning and refrigeration last month. It was hit by lightning,” Ferrentino said, referring to an unplanned expense in recent weeks.

The code violations that he says he did not create, like the presence of the shipping container and the RV on the City Limits property, will cost him too.

“I just don’t understand why I have to clean up someone else’s mess,” Ferrentino said.

These pre-existing violations, as well as the ones attributed to him, are becoming a financial burden.

“This is going to cost me $10,000 to $20,000,” Ferrentino said.

How much may an ordinance offender suffer?
“Volusia County Ordinances, Article VII, Section 2-365,” as cited in an email response from Assistant Volusia County Attorney Sebrina Slack, “provides the code board may impose a fine that shall not exceed $1,000.00 per day, per violation for a first violation, $5,000.00 per day, per violation for a repeat violation, and up to $15,000 per violation if the code enforcement board finds the violation to be irreparable or irreversible in nature. In this [City Limits] case, the County will likely request a fine of $250 … with no maximum cap.”

Buyer, beware!

County officials are not sympathetic.

“If you buy a property with a violation on it, the violation runs with the land. The violations are going to stay with the property,” Slack said. “If you buy the property and there’s an issue, you’re going to be responsible.”

Worse, the cost of getting rid of the old problems may actually be greater than the 20-grand Ferrentino estimated, according to Clay Ervin, the county’s director of Growth and Resource Management.

“That might be actually low. He’s going to need an engineer or an architect to update the site plan to show what he wants added to the site,” Ervin said.

As summer wends its way toward fall, the clock is ticking toward the deadline for becoming law-abiding in the eyes of the county.

“The 18th of October is when we’ll see [if he is making progress to come into compliance]. What we want to see if by the Oct. 18 he is making progress to come into compliance,” Slack said.

“Could it be done by the 18th [of October]? Yes,” Ervin concluded.

Stay tuned.


  1. So…… As a life long resident here I will tell those of you who aren’t from here how it works in Volusia county (and most of Florida). No one will tell you this information and furthermore they will adamantly deny it, especially city council members. When the city doesn’t like what you’re doing a way to run you out of business is to continually slam you with bogus fines and harass you to the point you just give up and walk away. This is the primary reason “bigger” businesses refuse to set up shop in Florida. Code enforcement will continually be at your business finding ways to fine you and squeeze you to the point that you, just as I said earlier give up and walk away. Its a tactic that’s been used for years. The fact is that Law enforcement and the city council is out of control and they have been allowed to do things that affect the livelihood of its citizens for years (a lot of it illegal and against federal law and regulations) but no one has stood up and made them accountable for their actions in the past. Therefore, like a unruly child they continue to act out. Don’t believe me…Mike Chitwood is a GREAT example of law enforcement and people who act out and push their authority to far. As far as the Jewish community who moved here from New York here is what i have to say about that. I am personally tired of you guys from up north moving down here and expecting everyone else to change what they’ve been doing for years to suit your needs because “that’s what we did up there” Please do us all a favor and go back to the democrat run shitholes you came from. We really don’t care how you do it in New York or New Jersey! Your state is a shithole because of “how you do it”! Additionally, you should have done a little better research. Every time I’ve seen a major problem here in Volusia county it’s always 1 of 2 issues with either some retiree or transplant from some northern state, or out of control city official. We as Citizens need to take back control from local government. Remember they work for you! not the other wat around. My suggestion to the local owner of City Limits is get a lawyer and sue them all! Keep good notes, take pictures, and start looking at the reason behind things. I really think there is more to this than meets the eye. someone either wants the property or some city official or family of someone possibly wants the property. This wouldn’t be the first time that has happened here! In other instances the city sees all the money being made at a certain location and wants “a piece of the pie”…Yes this still happens and is very prevalent in this area. Don’t think for a second it doesn’t!

  2. This is absolutely ridiculous and disgusting to see as an active member of the community. Our town thrives off of the backs of the small businesses that do their best to make this community better and City Limits has done nothing but provide excellent entertainment, a safe environment and an all-around family friendly establishment for people to go relax, and spend time together for years now just for this religious group to move here and demand things be changed to their liking. I love how the article doesn’t talk to any of the residents that actual live within the community, but take it upon themselves to put words in our mouths. Why in this article is there no mention of the Jewish community who constantly Jay walks across an extremely busy highway that is 17 all while laughing and videoing the people trying to swerve not to hit them or the babies they’re pushing in carriages because all they wish is to be a nuisance.


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