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Date of Issue: February 03, 2010

Amended offer made in land dispute

Bradenton Beach has been invited to purchase the privately owned property in the 1400 block of Gulf Drive. Commissioners have discussed possibly using the area for preservation and a park. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Bradenton Beach city commissioners balked at a recent deal offered by the owners of waterfront property that the city wants for a park.

So the property owners amended the offer.

Island Inc.-Beach Development Inc. wants the city to buy the property in the 1400 block of Gulf Drive for $600,000, with the amount payable over 20 years. In a previous offer, the property owners were willing to sell the land for $600,000 payable over five years.

The deal, in addition to resulting in the waterfront property going from private to public ownership, possibly for a park, also would settle a lawsuit between Island Inc.-Beach Development and the city.

“Please see if this resolves the ‘funds available’ issue you spoke to me about,” attorney S. William Moore wrote to attorney Greg Hootman. Moore is representing Island Inc.-Beach Development and Hootman is representing the city in the suit.

Commissioners discussed the initial offer at a commission meeting in January, but shared a concern about the price attached to the property.

How much is the land worth? commissioners asked, before voting to have the property professionally appraised.

Commissioners, who have not acted upon the amended offer, also said they wanted to hold a public meeting on the matter, which, as of Islander press time, had not been scheduled.

The legal dispute between the city and the property owners dates back years. The developers had sought to build residences on property that the city deemed preservation land.

The dispute went to court, where the city won the first round, the developers won a second round and a judge eventually pushed both sides into mediation.

In mediation, the focus turned to the city’s acquisition of the property. Bradenton Beach applied for a state grant to help purchase the land in 2007, but did not secure the money.