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Stoneybrook owners add new lawyers in CDD suit

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  • | 4:00 a.m. March 21, 2012
  • East County
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HERITAGE HARBOUR — Stoneybrook Investors, owner of the Stoneybrook Golf Club, has enlisted the services of a special counsel to handle the entity’s lawsuit against the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District.

Heritage Harbour and Stoneybrook attorneys last week agreed to enter into an order granting Heritage Harbour South’s motion to dismiss and to give Stoneybrook Investors another 30 days to file an amended complaint against the district.

“The new attorneys that are involved in this (case) needed more time to prepare a response to the motion to dismiss that the (defendants) had filed,” Stoneybrook’s attorney David Wilcox said, noting Allen Bobo, of the law firm Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, will be handling the case for Stoneybrook Investors moving forward. “We expect to re-file within two weeks.”

Stoneybrook in late December filed a lawsuit against the CDD that alleged the golf course is not subject to special assessments imposed by the CDD, challenged the legality of assessments imposed for stormwater management services and asserted the golf course offers benefits to the district’s stormwater system and thus should be reimbursed for those derived benefits. The entity also sued the district for damages totaling $3.8 million for benefits derived over the last eight years and $40,000 monthly going forward.

Heritage Harbour South filed in January a motion to dismiss Stoneybrook’s request for declaratory judgment, and other counts noted in the suit. On March 15, a judge had been slated to Heritage Harbour South’s motion, which asserted Stoneybrook had not stated a cause of action that warranted its request of the court for declaratory judgment, among other arguments. The hearing, however, was canceled because of the new agreement.

The CDD maintains the new assessment methodology it adopted in the fall of 2011 for its stormwater management system is both fair and appropriate. Stoneybrook Investors, however, believes it is being unfairly targeted, as stormwater assessments for the golf-course property are expected increase by about 500%, or $35,000 annually, under the new methodology. Lighthouse Cove at Heritage Harbour, the association for homeowners in the Lighthouse Cove community, also is challenging the new assessment methodology. It also believes assessments are not fairly being apportioned.

A judge on March 7 granted the CDD’s motion to dismiss two of three counts of the Lighthouse Cove complaint, narrowing the scope of future proceedings. The portion of the lawsuit seeking declaratory judgment on the matter will move forward.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].