Settlement Reached in Gulf Coast Park Sand Dispute
Escambia County commissioners on Thursday (Feb. 16) settled a dispute with developers building an RV park on Pensacola Beach in the Florida Panhandle.
They unanimously approved a settlement agreement between Escambia County and Holiday Holding Trust, the developer of a $2.4 million RV park on the beach, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
The developers agreed in the settlement to comply with a county code enforcement order requiring them to remove thousands of cubic yards of discolored sand from the building site.
The settlement was recommended by local attorney William Bond, who mediated the settlement between the two parties.
Pensacola attorney and developer Jim Reeves and businessman Thomas Bizzell, with Holiday Holding Trust, had challenged a county action ordering them to remove discolored sand from the RV park construction site.
An ordinance — designed to protect the white-sand beach — was cited by the county to order the top two feet of discolored sand removed from the island without spilling a grain.
Reeves initially said the order was too financially burdensome and would add $100,000 to his project.
However, during mediation, Reeves’ attorney, Wes Reeder, said the developers already had removed 3,198 cubic yards of the 3,407 yards of discolored sand required by the county, and only needed to remove an additional 209 yards to be in compliance.
The developer’s attorneys must prove they hauled off the sand through a sworn affidavit and supporting documentation showing dump truck “trip tickets.”
“They will not be free and clear until there is written confirmation from the Community and Environment Department verifying the loads,” said County Attorney Alison Rogers.
The developers will be required to come into compliance within 48 hours of commissioners’ approval of the settlement.