notebook - Southwest Florida Water Management District

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notebook - Southwest Florida Water Management District

Item 17.d.

Consent Agenda

October 30, 2012

General Counsel’s Report

Administrative, Enforcement, and Litigation Activities that Require Governing Board Approval

Settlement – SWFWMD v. M. Lewis King and Hancock Lake Ranch, LLC (Parcel No.

20-503-111-P)

On October 28, 2008, in connection with the Lake Hancock Lake Level Modification Project

(“Project”), the District’s Governing Board adopted a Resolution authorizing the use of eminent

domain to acquire an inundation easement to establish the Lake Hancock outfall control

structure at an elevation of 100 NGVD (1929).

On March 29, 2011, the District filed a petition in eminent domain to obtain an inundation

easement over 8.5 acres of real property identified as Parcel 111-P, and owned by M. Lewis

King and Hancock Lake Ranch, LLC (the “Property”).

In July 2011, the District filed an amended petition seeking to acquire an intermittent flowage

and inundation easement on the Property. On September 30, 2011, the trial court dismissed

the amended petition on grounds the property rights sought to be acquired in the petition

differed from those authorized in the Resolution. On October 25, 2011, the Governing Board

adopted a new Resolution authorizing eminent domain to acquire the intermittent easement.

The District served a second amended petition on October 28, 2011. On January 4, 2012, the

court dismissed the second amended petition. In response, the District filed notice on January

23 that it would not amend further.

On January 9, 2012, the District sent notice to the Property owners that it intended to

commence new eminent domain proceedings as to the Property upon completion of statutorily

required pre-suit negotiations. The District offered $109,400 to the Property owners for the

easement sought, while the owners made a compensation claim in excess of their $207,900

appraisal. The District appraised the Property at $10,000 per acre with an easement impact on

value of 25%, while the owners appraised the Property at $15,000 per acre with a 90% to 95%

impact on value from the easement. The District’s appraiser concluded that there were

damages to the remainder, but in an amount substantially less than the $85,400 remainder

damages determined by the owners’ appraiser.

The parties attended a pre-suit mediation on August 30, 2012. As a result of the mediation, the

parties arrived at a contingent settlement, subject to approval by the District’s Governing Board,

whereby the District will pay the owners $170,000 for the easement.

Staff Recommendation:

Approve the settlement agreement whereby the District will pay the owners $170,000 for the

easement necessary for implementation of the Project.

Presenter:

Joseph J. Ward, Senior Assistant General Counsel

147

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