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Date of Issue: August 18, 2010

PAR files second lawsuit over site-plan denial

The list of lawsuits and legal actions involving Anna Maria has grown.

Pine Avenue Restoration LLC filed a lawsuit Aug. 9 against the city for the commission’s 3-2 vote July 22 to deny its site plan for 210 Pine Ave. The company already has a lawsuit against the city for its May 27 denial of a site plan for 308 Pine Ave.

Attorney Valerie Fernandez, representing PAR, filed the latest action in Manatee County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit asks the court to reverse the 3-2 denial on grounds that include the commission’s June 24 approval by a 4-1 vote of the site plan and accompanying parking plan for a development at 501 Pine Ave. that was submitted by Mike and Lizzie Vann Thrasher.

In voting on the Thrasher’s site plan, Commissioners John Quam, Dale Woodland, Chuck Webb and Jo Ann Mattick were in the affirmative, while Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus voted to deny the plan.

PAR claimed the city rejected the 210 Pine plan because of several issues, including parking, but alleged that the parking plan for 210 Pine is the same as that for 501 Pine Ave.

Fernandez also claimed Stoltzfus was biased in his July 22 vote to deny, saying that on several occasions Stoltzfus stated he would oppose any PAR site plan.

Fernandez also contended that parking for 210 Pine Ave. is the same as the parking plan for other PAR developments that were approved and already are operating on Pine Avenue.

Under the procedures in force prior to early March, the planning and zoning board approved plans for retail-office-residential projects such as those built by PAR. The commission changed the review process March 4, reverting the procedures back to those in force in 2003, when the commission approved or denied major site-plan applications.

In addition to the latest lawsuit, the city also is involved in a legal action filed by William and Barbara Nally of Spring Avenue regarding the city’s approval of the PAR site plan for 216 Pine Ave.

The city and Nallys have a court hearing Sept. 1 on the city’s motion to dismiss that case.

Dr. Richard Friday of 104 Park St. has filed a legal action against the city for a planned development by the Walker Trust in the conservation land-use zone.

The Walker Trust also has filed a lawsuit against the city for its denial of a two-lot subdivision on land the trust owns in the conservation land-use area at the beach end of Park Street.

One action already has been dismissed in favor of the city. A complaint made by Robert and Nicky Hunt of Anna Maria to the Florida Department of Community Affairs in February alleged the city incorrectly determined density in the retail-office-residential district.

The DCA announced July 20 that the city’s density calculations “were consistent” with its comp plan.

Attorney Jeremy Anderson, representing the Hunts, has not responded to e-mails asking if the Hunts will appeal the decision.

In the commission’s May 27 denial of PAR’s site plan for 308 Pine Ave, the vote again was 3-2, with Stoltzfus, Quam and Woodland voting to deny. Webb and Mattick voted against the motion to reject the plan.