In April 2023, Damien Gilliams, the owner of the No Name Sports Bar in Sebastian, received letters from the Indian River County Department of Utility Services and the Florida Department of Health. These correspondences requested that Gilliams connect his business to the sanitary sewer system.
The Department of Utility Services claims that the bar’s septic tank discharges sewage onto the ground surface and into the Indian River Lagoon. As per the County and State, Gilliams has not taken any steps to connect to the utilities, even though some customers report the presence of a porta potty at the establishment.
The letters indicate that Gilliams was first instructed in 2019 to connect to the sewer system but did not comply. In April, he was given a 90-day timeframe, which runs out at the end of this month.
Sean C. Lieske, the Director of the Indian River County Department of Utility Services, expressed in his letter that the No Name Bar is still not in compliance.
“Indian River County Department of Utility Services has become aware that your facility located at 490 US Highway 1 in Sebastian, Florida continues to be served by a non-conforming on-site septic treatment and disposal system that is causing sewage to be discharged to the surface and ultimately the Indian River Lagoon,” Lieske wrote.
As of Thursday, July 13, 2023, Lieske said Gilliams had not taken any action, nor is there any record of him obtaining permits for sewer hookup. Should no steps be taken by month’s end, Lieske confirmed they will implement additional measures to ensure compliance.
In the correspondence, Lieske urges the bar to hook up with the County’s sewer line, situated around 75 linear feet east of their property boundary along Harrison Street Right-of-Way, a service available since 2019.
Travis Stevens, an Environmental Specialist from the Florida Department of Health, also penned a letter to Gilliams. He, too, urged Gilliams to link to the County sewer and abandon the existing septic system.
Stevens asserted, “This property is being maintained in a manner capable of introducing and perpetuating human disease organisms or vectors into the community.” He also stated that failure to rectify the noted violations within the specified period may lead to a summons to appear before the Indian River County Environmental Hearing Board or Circuit Court, potentially resulting in a daily fine of up to $500 for each violation.
Furthermore, the Department of Health stated that Gilliams could incur daily fines of up to $500 for each day he poses a public health threat or conducts an activity leading to environmental damage.
The No Name Bar is owned by Gilliams and managed by his son, Damien Lee Fey Gilliams. In the past, both have sought positions on the Sebastian City Council, advocating for environmental concerns and the betterment of the Indian River Lagoon.
History of Noncompliance
Gilliams has a history of noncompliance with the City of Sebastian’s codes. He has been warned for years about piling objects on the building’s north and east side, facing Riverview Park, close to the road. However, he continues to violate City ordinances. The objects have included tables, chairs, a grill, several junk vehicles, a camper, and a recent addition of a kiddie pool.
Whenever the City requests Gilliams to comply with ordinances, he dismisses it as a “political” act targeting his business.
Last year, after he placed picnic tables and an outdoor bar close to the road, the City declared him in violation. He and his son attended a hearing before a magistrate court, arguing it was all “political” and accusing the City of singling out his business. Both Gilliams and his son lost the case and the subsequent appeal.
Last March, a code enforcement officer notified them of another violation for situating an outdoor grill too close to the roadway. Though they complied, they took a picture of the officer and used it in a paid Facebook ad, using the officer’s image to ridicule him for doing his job.
Here’s the ad and image they created:
The No Name Bar mocked the situation on Facebook.
“Sebastian Code Enforcement came by to tell us our BBQ is in violation and must be moved south by 6 inches to a foot! Thank you, City of Sebastian, for keeping us so safe,” the No Name Bar wrote on Facebook.
Now, a mere four months later, it appears the No Name Bar has again violated ordinances, this time coming under scrutiny from the City, County, and the State of Florida.