TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) — UPDATE: The Tarpron Springs Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of pausing any contracts or permits connected to the Anclote Harbor development project after nearly 5 hours of testimony and public comment.
Concerned Citizens of Tarpon Springs were back before the city commissioners in their ongoing efforts to prevent the construction of more than 400 luxury apartments at a location off of US-19 on the Anclote River.
“I think it behooves you to preserve that property in the pristine state it is in currently,” one speaker said during public comment Tuesday night.
Last November the commissioners gave the green light to the development project despite lots of local opposition because of environmental, traffic and public safety concerns.
Since then, new commissioners have been elected and residents said they hoped their city leaders would side with them this time and not the developer.
“The decisions you make today should not necessarily be about how much money a developer can make,” the speaker said.
The question before the commissioners Tuesday night was should they put on hold any permits and contracts connected to the Anclote Harbor apartments until a lawsuit challenging the development project is resolved.
“If the motion is improperly granted then my client has been damaged,” said Scott McLaren, an attorney for the developer The Morgan Group. “We dont want to be damaged. We don’t wan to engage in lawsuits. We didn’t bring the lawsuit.”
Three circuit court judges in Pinellas County sided with the Morgan Group in March, but the Concerned Citizens’ attorneys are appealing that ruling.
This same group stopped Walmart from building a superstore at the site and now they are committed to preserving the wildlife and wetlands on the property once again.
“We’re trying to tell Morgan Group, we don’t mind you coming to Tarpon and building apartments, just not here,” said Peter Dalacos told News Channel 8 before the meeting. “Find another site.”
The Morgan group wanted the new mayor and commissioners to rescues themselves from the vote, but the city attorney shot that down.