April 14, 2021
Today the Second District Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Siesta Key Association of Sarasota, Inc., et.al. (“SKA”) v. City of Sarasota and Lido Key Residents Association, Inc., (“LKRA”) Case No. 2D19-3833, affirming the Circuit Court for Sarasota County’s dismissal of a complaint seeking injunctive relief pursuant to Section 403.412, Florida Statutes. This decision is another win for the City and LKRA of the beach renourishment project for Lido Key which SKA has endeavored to stop over the last four years in several forums. The beach renourishment project, which was performed during the pendency of the appeal, dredged a near shore sand shoal in Big Sarasota Pass as a long-term sand source for the renourishment of Lido Key Beach. The restoration project also included the construction of several groins to stabilize the beach in the vicinity of a county park. The appellate court upheld the dismissal based on Section 403.412(2)(e), Florida Statutes, the plain language of which states that no action under 403.412 may be maintained if the person or governmental agency or authority is acting pursuant to a currently valid permit. SKA argued that despite the project being performed pursuant to a valid permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection (which was also challenged by SKA in 2017 and defended by LKRA and the attorneys at Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A.), an additional permit was required and had never been obtained from Sarasota County. The 2nd DCA noted that Section 403.412 (2)(e) does not require that the person or government hold every potentially relevant permit and declined to extend the language of the statute to encompass SKA’s argument. In a footnote the court also noted a potential second ground to uphold the trial court decision, that Section 403.412 (2)(a) provide a means to enjoin laws, rules or regulations, but is silent as to local ordinances.
Kevin S. Hennessy, Nicole Poot, and Richard Green of LLW’s St. Petersburg office have represented LKRA throughout the challenges to the beach renourishment project including the appeal. An award of appellate attorney’s fees for LKRA and the City of Sarasota was also granted by the Court.
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