Bradenton Beach mayor drops out of lawsuit against city

skennedy@bradenton.comNovember 13, 2013 

BRADENTON BEACH -- Newly elected Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon has dropped out as a plaintiff in a suit filed last year against the city, his attorney said Tuesday.

"He was just elected mayor of the city of Bradenton Beach, and he doesn't feel it's appropriate to be suing the city," said his attorney, Ralf Brookes.

Plaintiffs Jo Ann Meilner and Tjet Martin will continue pursuing the suit against the city, Brookes said. The plaintiffs have objected to a "Major Development Application" that allows development of parking spaces on two parcels of land along the beach designated "preservation" in the Bradenton Beach Comprehensive Plan future land use map.

The land in question is just south of the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N.

"Parking is not an allowable use on land designated 'preservation' in the Comprehensive Plan," the suit claims.

The parties are exploring a settlement, said Brookes.

"Nothing's happened in the case in a few months. The city had asked for mediation," Brookes said. "The judge has not ruled on that yet; we have not picked a mediator yet, but typically, mediation will include settlement discussions.

"Parties in front of a mediator will try to reach a settlement, but it is always voluntary."

Meilner, of Bradenton Beach, said: "It's probably a difficult position for a mayor to be in a lawsuit against his own city."

Asked if Shearon's recent election as mayor might help resolve the suit, she said she hoped so: "We feel pretty strongly the law is on our side on this."

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.

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