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Holmes Beach clears a path in 27th Street suit

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

The first major ruling in Holmes Beach’s lawsuit against Bradenton Beach and Sandpiper Resort Co-op over 27th Street gave something to both sides.

Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court Diana Moreland entered an order Nov. 1 allowing the suit to continue — but also agreed with Bradenton Beach’s motion that questioned whether Holmes Beach has a sufficient stake in the controversy, or legal standing, bring the suit.

“The judge is requiring that Holmes Beach clarify its authority to make a claim for property outside its boundary,” said Bradenton Beach attorney Chuck Johnson of Blalock Walters P.A of Bradenton, who filed the motion to dismiss the lawsuit in July.

In the ruling, Holmes Beach was given 10 days to amend the complaint allegations about its right to bring suit on behalf of its citizens who utilize the right of way, and the city, which uses it for municipal drainage purposes.

With respect to the part of Bradenton Beach motion that the court denied, Johnson said, “The judge determined, while confusing, the minimum requirements to go forward with the action for declaratory judgment have been met.”

Holmes Beach filed the lawsuit in May asking the court to declare public that part of the street east of Gulf Drive ending at Sarasota Bay.

The street is the divider between city of Holmes Beach and the Sandpiper Resort, a mobile home cooperative in Bradenton Beach.

The lawsuit also seeks a court order requiring the Sandpiper to remove gates and private property signs from a Sandpiper fence, and to remove part of the fence for access to adjoining properties in Holmes Beach.

The ruling came six days after Sandpiper attorney Charles Webb filed a counterclaim to stop the city of Holmes Beach from using public funds for a private purpose.

Webb also filed a second motion to dismiss, alleging the city of Holmes Beach failed to properly exercise its appeal rights following a Dec. 4, 2008, quasi-judicial decision by the city of Bradenton Beach.

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