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East County Thursday, Mar. 7, 2019 5 months ago

Manatee County delays settlement decision

Agreement to end litigation between county, Tara's developer is postponed to April.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

After more than four hours of public testimony, Manatee County commissioners today agreed to postpone a decision on whether to settle a seven-year land dispute with the developer of the Tara community.

Lake Lincoln, a subsidiary of Power Corp., legally challenged Manatee County in 2012 after a 2010 decision in which commissioners dubbed a piece of property at the northwest corner of Tara Boulevard and State Road 70 could only be used for conservation or open space. 

Manatee County 12th Judicial District Judge Lon Arend had been set to approve a settlement agreement between Lake Lincoln and Manatee County that would have allowed commercial development on the site, but residents of Tara intervened in the case. Arend ordered commissioners to reconsider the matter before making a decision.

Lake Lincoln's land-use attorney Patricia Petruff asked for the continuance after Tara residents supplied letters written by Petruff and statements in emails and other documents from Lake Lincoln's contractors and county staff that the property would not be developed. Petruff said she could not rebut information she had not had time to examine and ensure was being taken into context.

"Patty's request is reasonable," Commissioner Misty Servia said. "I worked on the Tara DRI for about 30 years as a staff member and I still have questions."

The board will render a decision April 4 at its land-use item. The item will be heard at 1:30 p.m.


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