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BB legal dispute ends

By Lisa Neff, Islander Reporter

A long-running dispute between a Bradenton Beach property owner and the city ended in late October — about six weeks after the property owner died.

Ken Lohn, who died Sept. 4 at 77, took his complaint against the city as high as the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal and vowed to go as high as the state supreme court if necessary.

He wanted the court to review a ruling from Manatee County Circuit Court rejecting his argument that the city made an error in its decisions upholding a certificate of occupancy for a property that neighbors Lohn’s residence on Bay Drive South.

Lohn, for years, maintained that the city wrongfully issued a certificate of occupancy for a Fifth Street South development abutting his bayfront property and near a duplex he owns.

In April 2009, the Bradenton Beach Board of Adjustment recommended that the city commission deny Lohn’s complaint regarding the now privately owned Fifth Street property.

In June 2009, the city commission also voted against Lohn’s complaint, which essentially said that a driveway built on an easement alongside his home was too close to his property line and too narrow.

Lohn went to circuit court in July 2009 to seek a judicial review of the commission’s decision.

“This complaint challenges the city of Bradenton Beach issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the multi-family condominium … despite the fact the location is in violation of express provisions of the Bradenton Beach Land Development Code,” the complaint states.

City attorney Ricinda Perry prepared the city’s response, which stated, “The city determined, based on competent and substantial evidence, that the issuance of the CO was proper and consistent with the applicable zoning and land-use regulations. Absent an abuse of discretion or a clearly erroneous decision by the city commission, the decision of the city must be upheld.”

In a 13-page decision, Circuit Court Judge Edward Nicholas did not accept all the city’s arguments, but he did uphold the commission’s decision and denied Lohn’s appeal.

Lohn, in late February, took his case to the appellate court.

City officials then described the appeal as frivolous and potentially expensive for both Lohn and the city.

The appeal court on Oct. 21 denied Lohn’s petition for a review of Nicholas’ ruling.

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