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Circuit Judge Rules Crystal Beach Road Development Approval Process Lawful

Published on Aug 2, 2021

Polk County’s Development Review Committee followed the proper guidelines and allowed for due process when approving a 28.5-acre development off Crystal Beach Road in May 2020, according to an order from Circuit Judge Wayne Durden.

The order, which was a result of an amended petition for writ of certiorari, denied all claims made in the petition by residents challenging the approval of the Winter Haven development.

“In this case. The DRC held a noticed meeting on May 14, 2020, that was open to the public,” Durden wrote in the order. “The date, time, and place of the May 14, 2020, DRC meeting was noticed on the BoCC’s May 5, 2020 agenda. It was also posted on Polk County website. The DRC agenda itself was e-mailed on May 8, 2020, to the applicants and anyone else having requested to receive weekly agendas. The meeting opened with an opportunity for public comment on any items on the agenda. Accordingly, the Court finds that the Petitioners have failed to show a violation of procedural due process.”

The proposed development from Heritage Investments of Polk LLC had already been denied when it was originally proposed as a 94-unit development in 2017. The company challenged the denial in court and lost in a 2019 ruling.

The development was later approved as an 87-unit residential infill development, which underwent a Level 2 review by the Development Review Committee. The DRC provided more than 70 comments to the applicant regarding the application. Following a May 14, 2020 hearing, the applicant submitted a revised site plan and addressed the numerous comments. The DRC ultimately approved the plans Aug. 10, 2020.