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Hearings begin on lawsuit by rural residents over construction of thousands of luxury homes

Written by on Sunday, August 27, 2023

Vast areas of pasture land in rural east Sarasota County are at stake.

By Johannes Werner

Original Air Date: August 25, 2023


Official Transcript

Host: The Siesta Key hotel lawsuit is not the only one against Sarasota County over their approvals for big developments, another one filed by residents of the county’s rural East has the potential to stop construction of s of new luxury homes on pasture land. Our news team has an update on that lawsuit.

Johannes Werner: On Monday, Eileen Fitzgerald, Mike Hutchinson, Becky Ayech and their lawyer Richard Grosso spent another day in the think tank on the third floor of the county administration building in downtown Sarasota. This was the second session of hearings before Administrative Judge Hetal Desai in their appeal against the county commissioners mode last fall to change their Comprehensive Plan and allow the developer of Lakewood Ranch to build 5,000 homes on more than 4,000 acres of pasture land in the rural East of Sarasota.

The three plaintiffs, all residents of Old Miakka, fear the new development will overwhelm their historic community.

This was the second and last set of hearings after a whole week of hearings in July. So what’s the status? Once the attorney’s of both sides receive the transcript of the Monday hearing, they have 20 days to submit their written closing arguments. Judge Desai has said she would rule within 30 days, which would be by the end of September.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Richard Grosso, also represented a plaintiff in a similar suit against Sarasota County that saw two favorable rulings. Stay tuned.

This was Johannes Werner reporting for WSLR.


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