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Sandestin Investments sues Walton County over Osprey Point decision

Apr 25th, 2014 | 0

By DOTTY NIST
Sandestin Resort owner Sandestin Investments, L.L.C., has filed two lawsuits against Walton County following a March 11 decision by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners not to accept building permit applications for the Osprey Point development.
Both lawsuits were filed in early April in Walton County Circuit Court.
On Jan. 28, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) had voted to approve an “E-2 change” to correct the amount of acreage recorded for a parcel within the resort property and the Sandestin Development of Regional Impact (DRI). Then, at the Feb. 25 BCC meeting, it was reported that the planning department had issued Sandestin Investments a development order for the Osprey Point subdivision.
Objections were raised, and there was comment by commissioners that it had been their understanding that the BCC had previously directed that no development orders would be issued for Osprey Point prior to the county holding a compliance hearing. The stated purpose of scheduling that hearing was to determine whether Sandestin was in compliance with its DRI requirements. The compliance hearing had not taken place and still has not taken place at this time.
At the March 11 BCC meeting, Walton County Attorney Mark Davis had told the commissioners that the E-2 change had been the last impediment in the way of development order issuance for Osprey Point. However, some of the commissioners said they had not been advised that approving the E-2 change would result in issuance of the development order.
At that meeting, the BCC voted 4-0 to direct staff not to accept any building permit applications for the Osprey Point Development.
The first lawsuit is a “writ of mandamus” seeking that the court order Walton County to accept and review Sandestin’s building plans for Osprey Point.
The second lawsuit is a “petition for writ of certiorari” seeking that  the court “quash” or negate the action taken by the BCC on March 11 regarding the direction to staff on Osprey Point building permit applications.
Along with Walton County, both lawsuits name Wayne Dyess, Walton County planning and development services director, and Walton County Building Official Billy Bearden as defendants.
The first lawsuit has been assigned to Judge Kelvin C. Wells, the second to Judge W. Howard LaPorte. There have been no responsive filings by the county at this time, and no court dates have been set.

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