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Second District Court of Appeal rules for Town of Fort Myers Beach in citizen development challenge

By Staff | Jul 8, 2020

The Second District Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of the Town of Fort Myers Beach in an appeal of a circuit court decision filed by Chris Patton and attorney Ralf Brookes over TPI’s Margaritaville project.

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy called the decision a “milestone.” The town and TPI each defended the appeal by Chris Patton, a resident who argued along with attorney Ralf Brookes that the town’s awarding of deviations for the density and intensity of the 254-room resort and six acres of commercial uses was based on the town’s citing of “exceptional circumstances” which did not have a “definite standard.”

The two sides clashed over what was allowed under the town’s code and comprehensive plan. All three judges on the Second District Court of Appeal voted to deny the appeal, without a written explanation.

“It’s been a long, drawn-out process,” Murphy said. “Hopefully, this is the end of it. It’s the beginning of the renaissance and revival of the commercial corridor of Fort Myers Beach. This development will spur other developments and will spur investment.”

Fort Myers Beach Attorney John Herin Jr. called the decision a “home run for the town.” Herin said the lack of a written opinion “doesn’t get any better.” The decision showed that the court found the town did “nothing wrong,” Herin said.

Brookes and Patton could still appeal the decision or request a re-hearing.

“We are obviously disappointed in the ruling issued today and we are examining our legal options,” Brookes said.