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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Negele lawsuit may not be over

Reports that Susan Negele might be close to settling her lawsuit against the City of Anna Maria, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (The Islander, Dec. 10) may be premature.

Attorney Greg Hootman, representing Anna Maria and the FLC in the lawsuit, had said that at a Nov. 18 "mediation conference" with Negele's attorneys, DEP representatives, and Anna Maria City Attorney Jim Dye, the DEP appeared agreeable to allowing construction on the subject property by Negele.

But during a followup visit to the Negele property at 107 Elm St. in Anna Maria by Negele, her lawyers, and a DEP attorney, said Hootman, the DEP apparently got cold feet and reportedly said "no way" it would allow construction on the site.

In a letter to the League of Cities forwarded to Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn, Hootman said he now believes Negele will sell the property to an adjacent land owner, rather than continue with the suit.

The DEP has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that will be heard by Judge Paul Logan on Feb. 25 at the Manatee County Courthouse.

Negele, acting as representative of her late father's estate, filed the suit after the city commission denied her variance request in August 2001 for her beachfront lot on Elm Street, despite a recommendation for approval by the planning and zoning board. She had requested a variance of 7 feet on the side of a proposed house, 3 feet less than the city requirement of a 10-foot setback, because a 10-foot setback would have encroached on what the DEP considers environmentally sensitive lands.

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