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2nd suit challenges PAR plan

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Anna Maria residents Robert and Nicola Hunt filed a lawsuit Dec. 17 in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court seeking to overturn the city’s approval of a Pine Avenue Restoration LLC site plan for 308 Pine Ave.

PAR is a company that has been developing retail-office-residential complexes in the city’s ROR district since 2007.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a motion by William and Barbara Nally of Spring Avenue for an immediate judgment in their favor in their lawsuit against the city for approval of a PAR site plan for 216 Pine Ave.

A hearing on the Nally lawsuit, filed in March 2010, was scheduled for Dec. 23, but was rescheduled to Jan. 11 by attorney Dan Lobeck of the Sarasota law firm of Lobeck & Hanson, P.A.

Attorney Mark Hanson of the Lobeck & Hanson firm represents the Hunts, who live on Lakeview Drive.

The Hunts filed their lawsuit Dec. 17, but it was only presented to the city Jan. 5.

The Hunts claim the city’s actions and decisions in approving the site plan are “inconsistent” with the city’s comprehensive plan, and the project, if built, would affect their “health, safety and welfare.”

In addition, the Hunts claim the development units configured in the retail-office-residential district exceeds the requirements in the comprehensive plan.

They have requested the court vacate and reverse the city’s decision, award them costs and expenses and grant “other relief” as the court deems appropriate.

City attorney Jim Dye said the grounds the Hunts cited in their suit are similar to those of the Nallys, who allege the city’s approval of the PAR site plan for 216 Pine Ave. is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan and land-development regulations.

Both lawsuits claim the city’s method of determining density in the retail-office-residential district is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan.

Further, the Hunts allege the parking arrangement for the 308 Pine Ave. site plan is unsafe.

Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Peter Dubensky is presiding over both cases.

Anna Maria city clerk Alice Baird said Jan. 7 that the city had not yet been served with the Hunts lawsuit, but had received a copy from Dye.

Baird said the formal procedure is for a process server to present the lawsuit to the mayor or city clerk and obtain a signature.

Hunts challenge lost

The Hunts already have lost one challenge to the city’s method of computing density in the ROR, the area along both sides of Pine Avenue and from Pine Avenue south on several lots on each side of Gulf Drive to Palmetto Avenue.

In July 2010, the Florida Department of Community Affairs ruled against a complaint filed by the Hunts in February 2010 that the city’s density calculations in the ROR were inconsistent with its comp plan. The Hunts claimed the lots don’t meet the 7,500 square-foot requirement.

The DCA decision, which was reviewed by a judge with Florida’s Administrative Law Division, said the city accepted the platted lots in the ROR before World War II. Therefore, the size of the lots now doesn’t matter as they were grandfathered for use by the city, the DCA said.

The DCA agreed the city was correct in grandfathering the smaller lots and using the gross-density method to determine ROR density. To deny construction on those lots smaller than 7,500 feet would amount to a “taking” from the property owners, the DCA said.

Motions filed in comp-plan dispute

A hearing in a lawsuit filed by William and Barbara Nally in March 2010 was scheduled in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court Jan. 11 before Judge Peter A. Dubensky.

William and Barbara Nally of Lakeland claim in their lawsuit that the city’s February 2010 approval of a site plan from Pine Avenue Restoration LLC for 216 Pine Ave. is inconsistent with Anna Maria’s comprehensive plan.

The Nallys, who own a vacation rental property in Anna Maria, allege the city’s method of determining density for the site-plan in the retail-office-residential district is at odds with the comp-plan, which they claim calls for a maximum of six residential units per acre.

PAR’s 216 Pine Ave. project is a completed, occupied retail-office-residential complex.

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