Historic City News watched as lawyers; for the city, city commissioners who are lawyers, and a hired attorney representing County Commissioner Ken Bryan and others, debated the settlement proposed by Fish Island development.
City Attorney Ron Brown recommended accepting the proposed settlement for a 75 slip marina (including 5 public slips) which was negotiated with developers; down from their original request for 100 boat slips.
Also included in the negotiated settlement was a provision that would narrow the footprint of the pier connecting the shore to the dock and boat slips. The pier, which has to cross over protected wetland marshes, was considered to potentially pose the most impact on the environment.
After a motion from Commissioner Freeman, public hearing was allowed which brought impassioned pleas to deny the marina from citizens, many of whom do not live in the city.
After the public hearing, and follow-up comments from attorney Brown, Commissioner Freeman made another motion to clarify with Judge Trayner whether or not he would find that the city would be liable to the developer for damages if they refused to accept the settlement.
The motion failed 3/2 with Boles, Sikes-Kline and Jones opposed. Nancy Sikes-Kline said that she had already “done her homework” and spent hours on the phone with the city attorney and others over the weekend in preparation of casting her vote tonight.
Mayor Boles said that the commission had three options; deny the settlement offer and proceed to court, make a counter-offer for a lower number of slips, or, delay the matter for another meeting.
After three hours of testimony and debate, the commission decided to research the matter a bit further before accepting or denying the settlement in a motion that passed 5-0.
The Fish Island development project has already gained approval to build about 450 multi-family dwellings at the site.