The developers of Long Bar Pointe are suing Manatee County over the construction of El Conquistador Parkway, citing an unlawful taking of land.
Companies operated by developers Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman filed a lawsuit July 25 in Circuit Court requesting damages, compensation for land and a jury trial.
The lawsuit focuses on requirements of the developers to set aside land for the construction of El Conquistador Parkway, arguing that the requirements took away constitutional land rights, according to the complaint, and that the developers did not receive proper compensation for the land.
An agreement with the developers, SBC Developments, had stated that if the road was built after Jan. 1, 2010, the developers would be relieved of a special fee for the road, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs state that the county did not provide written notice on or before Jan. 1, 2010, that the road would be constructed, according to the complaint.
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"They are essentially suggesting that the original land development agreement for a portion of this property was unlawful,” said Manatee County Attorney Mickey Palmer.
Palmer said he was puzzled about the lawsuit.
Asked if it would change a Manatee County Commission public hearing on a map amendment and text amendment to the county's comprehensive plan set for Aug. 6, he replied, "We don’t know yet, we're still analyzing how this pending lawsuit may affect the proceedings next week."
The changes are needed to make way for the Long Bar Pointe project, according to the developers.
The first two lanes of the El Conquistador Parkway extension were built from Oct. 31 to July 2012, but the decision to build was made beforehand. An email chain between Ron Schulhofer, director of public works, and Lieberman discussing the development between Sept. 18 and Sept. 25, 2009, was considered the written notice, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit is filed by a condemnation specialist attorney S. William Moore. Ed Vogler, attorney for the Long Bar Pointe project, claims the new lawsuit has nothing to do with the proposed text and map amendments the developers are seeking for a waterfront resort. Vogler said the case was filed because statute of limitations expire today for the claim.
Vogler said the lawsuit is not intended as a pressure tactic on the county in the run-up to next week's meeting.