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Judge strikes appeal of St. Regis Hotel project

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Last week brought a measure of victory to Unicorp National Development, which has an approved plan to build a 266-room resort and residences on the former Colony site.

Sarasota Circuit Court Judge Hunter W. Carroll struck a Writ of Certiorari filed by Blake Fleetwood, who is a unit owner at the Colony, and challenged the legality of the town to approve the project and specifically the right of Unicorp to apply and act on behalf of all of the owners.

Fleetwood is in disagreement with Unicorp’s redevelopment plan and hired attorney Dan Loebeck to challenge and try to persuade the approval that the Longboat Key Town Commission eventually granted on March 16.

From the very beginning of the town’s consideration, Loebeck and Fleetwood argued that the applicant had misfiled and not included all of the owners in his application packet.

The commission and the Town Attorney Maggie Mooney-Portale did not find issue with the town code nor with the attorney’s interpretation and the plan went forward which in addition to the dwelling units and hotel rooms will also include 15,304 square feet of meeting space, which includes a 7,650 square foot ballroom.

The Writ of Certiorari filed by Fleetwood was filed on April 18 and essentially asks the Circuit Court to set aside the town’s approval due to a misapplication of the rules.

In essence, the Judge did not agree with Fleetwood, but is allowing Fleetwood to re-file his Writ of Certiorari within 50 days because part of Unicorp’s argument against Fleetwood in the hearing is that Fleetwood did not present the entire transcript and testimony of the town’s approval. If Fleetwood chooses, he can re-file.

Judge Carroll also granted the Colony Association of Unit Owners, which is the homeowner organization that represents the Colony Unit Owners, the ability to intervene and present argument against Fleetwood during the hearing.

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