City wins appeal in Wendler lawsuit at 5th District Court of Appeal

In a decision filed March 6, 2018, Scott and Donna Wendler were informed that the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach affirmed the lower court ruling; leaving few practical options in their lawsuit against the City of St. Augustine.

Opinions are not final until any timely filed motion for rehearing is considered and disposed of by the Court, and they are subject to formal revision before publication in the Southern Reporter, 3d Series.

Donna R. Wendler, Scott G. Wendler And Wendler Properties, III, LLC, have been at odds with the City since they were denied demolition permits for buildings located on commercial property which they own on King Street.

When the Wendlers purchased the properties, currently used as apartments and office space, they say it was their intention to remove the 50+ year old buildings, eliminating an eyesore and replacing them with a single, small scale boutique hotel.

Plans were drawn, and an artist’s rendering of the project was submitted for approval. Since the lots owned by the Wendlers are contiguous and the property stretches the length from King Street through to Oviedo Street, they say they were shocked when City officials declared that the buildings were protected under the code of ordinances as “historic” and a demolition permit was denied.

Judge Howard M. Maltz ruled in favor of the City when the case was heard in the Circuit Court for St. Johns County, prompting Wendlers to hire Andrew Prince Brigham and Brett S. Tensfeldt of Brigham Property Rights Law Firm in Jacksonville to bring the matter before the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida Fifth District.

The city commission approved retaining Susan S Erdelyi, of Marks Gray, P.A., in Jacksonville to defend the appeal; they have spent tens of thousands of dollars in outside legal fees in the process.  The opinion in Case No. 5D17-504 was confirmed by Judge Richard B. Orfinger, Vincent G. Torpy, Jr., and F. Rand Wallis yesterday.

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