By KATI BEXLEY
Publication Date: 03/20/08
The City of St. Augustine is working with the developer of the Fish Island Development in hopes of stopping a $9 million lawsuit over a proposed dock that the city turned down.
Fish Island Development LLC will go before St. Augustine's Planning and Zoning Board on April 16 to discuss alternatives to the owner's originally proposed dock. The meeting is required by law before the developer, Jim Young, can proceed with his $9 million lawsuit against the city, said City Attorney Ron Brown.
Planning and Zoning could offer new ways for the owner to use the property, or suggest modifications to the original plan, Brown said.
"They could change it or leave it alone," Brown said. "They just have to give a written settlement offer to show they tried (to work it out)."
The original dock was to have been more than 1,200 feet long and about 10 feet wide, said Mark Knight, city planning and building director.
It would have been part of an upscale development on Anastasia Island south of the Mickler O'Connell Bridge (S.R. 312).
Fish Island gave the city notice on Jan. 17 of the potential lawsuit, and the city has 180 days to either settle with the developer or look at other ways the developer can use the property.
If a resolution is not found during that time, the developer can then move forward with his lawsuit.
Fish Island could also offer a new proposal to the Planning and Zoning Board, Brown said.
The development's attorney, Richard Maguire of Rogers Towers P.A., did not return calls for comment.
Planning and Zoning denied the original project twice and the City Commission supported the board's denial.
The developer claims the city's decision will cause $2.7 million in value loss to the property and $6.2 million in value loss of future marina sales, totaling $8.9 million, according to court documents.
Opponents of the project said they were concerned about safety, erosion, destruction of the environment and loss of the Fish Island vista to the public.
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