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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Hunts request special master hearing

Robert and Nicky Hunt, owners of 303 Pine Ave. in Anna Maria have opted for a special master hearing to resolve issues the city has with their site plan, which the the city commission denied Aug. 2.

The Hunts could have taken their case directly to circuit court with a lawsuit, but instead have chosen the special master hearing in an effort to solve the impasse.

The Hunts preliminary site plan was approved by the planning and zoning board, but was rejected in a 3-2 vote by the commission.

In a special master hearing, both the city and Hunts agree on an independent third party, usually a retired judge, to mediate the case. Both sides present arguments and discuss issues to reach a solution. The special master considers all the evidence and issues a non-binding ruling.

The commission then has the option of accepting or rejecting the ruling.

The special master procedure is authorized by Florida statutes.

Attorney Peter Mackey of Bradenton is representing the Hunts.