Challenge hearings postponed

 

Challenge hearings postponed

 

Date: December 22, 2010
by: Kurt Schultheis | City Editor

 
 

Every challenge the Islandside Property Owners Coalition levied against the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside renovation-and-expansion project has been put on hold until spring 2011.

A Tallahassee-based administrative law judge has agreed to postpone any hearings until May 3 regarding IPOC’s administrative appeal of the commission’s code changes that affected the club’s Islandside project.

Town attorney David Persson asked Judge Bram Canter to postpone the hearings while the town makes amendments to the codes it changed, to further clarify its position with the state’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and avoid the looming administrative process.

The hearings are now scheduled for May 3 to May 6.

Although IPOC and the DCA filed a motion to reconsider the judge’s request to postpone the hearings, the judge has ruled against the request.

In the meantime, two legal challenges filed against the Islandside project in Sarasota County Clerk of Circuit Court are also on hold until at least next spring.

A judge will not review IPOC’s petition for a writ of certiorari, which challenges the Comprehensive Plan and the Islandside project ordinance the commission adopted, until at least February.

In this petition, a judge relies solely on the record formed from all the project hearings, held at Temple Beth Israel, to make a decision.

An oral argument IPOC requested for this challenge could be heard in February before a judge would make a ruling.

And a request for a de novo hearing, which allows IPOC to ask for a new hearing challenging the Islandside project, does not have a timetable yet.

The de novo hearing, which requires new testimony and does not rely solely on the record the Town Commission used to make its project decision, has no court date set.

Key Club attorney Jim Syprett believes a trial for this challenge will not begin until the summer or early fall.

Both legal challenges could take up to two years to be completed after all appeals are exhausted.

Both the Longboat Key Club and Resort and the town of Longboat Key are listed as defendants in the two legal challenge filings.

The appeals are expected to delay the phasing schedule of the $400 million Islandside project.

“We still feel, quite frankly, very comfortable with where we are,” Syprett said. “The ultimate determination of where all this will come out will be determined by amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.”

Contact Kurt Schultheis at kschultheis@yourobserver.com

 

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