FL Appeals Court docket Finds Developer Who Offered Its Property Throughout Its Lawsuit Was No Longer a “Property Proprietor” Entitled to Reduction Below the Personal Property Rights

This publish was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Over the previous a number of many years, Edward Dean and others started shopping for contiguous two parcels of land on Pine Island in Lee County, Florida, “for farming and eventual sale for residences.” A lot of the land was zoned for agricultural use and included a “Rural” future land use designation that allowed a residential density of 1 dwelling unit per acre (1 du/1 acre) beneath the Lee County Complete Plan. In 2003, Lee County modified the “Rural” designation to “Coastal Rural” – reducing the density to 1 dwelling unit per each ten acres. In 2010, Mr. Dean and Gary Wishnatzki shaped Dean Want and submitted a improvement software to Lee County in search of an administrative improve in the usual most density for the “Coastal Rural” lands and for a allow for 336 dwelling items over its 640 acres. In 2015, Lee County’s Zoning Division responded that it was not approved to administratively approve the applying, and advised that Dean Want “submit an software for a deliberate improvement in keeping with the Land Growth Code or an acceptable modification to the Lee Plan.” In 2016, Lee County amended the Plan, setting the density of the “Coastal Rural” lands to 1 dwelling unit per 2.7 acres. Dean Want offered the property “as is” at public sale allegedly attributable to lack of market curiosity, litigation prices, and Mr. Dean’s retirement, rising age, and medical bills. The gross sales contract specified that Dean Want retained all rights to financial aid within the pending lawsuit. The trial court docket in the end discovered Dean Want’s appraisal legitimate as a result of it included solely property that it owned, and Dean Want solely alleged damages stemming from “the loss in residential density of its Rural/Coastal Rural property”, and Dean Want appealed.

On enchantment, Lee County claimed that the trial court docket was appropriate to find that the Act’s plain language “affords restoration solely to the ‘property proprietor’ as outlined within the Act, which requires the claimant to retain authorized title to the topic property till the case is concluded.” Lee County additional contended that Dean Want’s publish hoc retention of rights to cash didn’t quantity to an equitable or authorized title for it to be a “property proprietor” beneath the Act. Upon evaluation of the Act, the court docket discovered the Act didn’t use a tense or phrases that permits a claimant, who held authorized title up to now, when the lawsuit was filed or when the property was burdened, to acquire aid. Furthermore, the court docket decided the modification to the Act didn’t apply retroactively as a result of the legislature didn’t categorical a transparent intent to take action. Because the trial court docket accurately interpreted the Act’s plain language, the court docket held Dean Want’s argument a couple of judicial taking additionally failed, since Claims beneath the Act have been for presidency actions that didn’t quantity to constitutional takings.

Dean Want, LLC v. Lee County, 326 So.3d 840 (2021)