January 19, 2022
The written summations by lawyers representing those of us concerned about the City’s overreach for the Kanner CPUD as it relates to the City’s Comprehensive Plan and the City Attorney for the City of Stuart have been submitted the Administrative Judge Francine Ffolkes, specific to our DOAH suit filed against the City of Stuart. Judge Ffolkes has up to 30 days to render her opinion as to whether the City of Stuart violated its comprehensive plan.
Our attorneys presented a case that was and is based on facts as they relate to the City’s Comprehensive Plan and what is permitted based on their own plan. Our witnesses included an expert who specializes in comprehensive plans, zoning, and growth management and an expert who is a Certified Environmental Professional, specializing in ecological issues.
Unlike traditional court cases, there is no jury nor is a verdict rendered at the close of testimony. In an administrative hearing, testimony takes place over a scheduled number of days as determined by the Administrative Judge and agreed to by both parties. A transcript is provided to each counsel who then drafts a written summation pointing to parts of the testimony in the transcript to support their respective arguments.
As part of our pre-hearing obligation, we presented a well-thought-out site plan that could have been used and would have preserved the most important parts of the land while allowing for building on the site. It was flatly rejected. We know that parcel will ultimately be developed. Unfortunately, the previous land owners who sold it to be developed didn’t see its value. The current land owners are developers and only see value in concrete and not trees or wetlands.
And so now we wait in the hopes that the Administrative Judge will see the bundling of the Future Land Use Map, zoning, and variances as a manipulation of the Comprehensive Plan as stated in our case during trial and in the written summation provided to the Administrative Judge.