Sirata CUP Faces Challenge in Pinellas County Circuit Court

April 8, 2024 by
Sirata CUP Faces Challenge in Pinellas County Circuit Court
Protect St. Pete Beach

At the end of last week, Protect St. Pete Beach Advocacy Group filed a legal challenge in Pinellas County Circuit Court to the City Commission’s approval of the Sirata project. The Petition for Writ of Certiorari alleges that the City failed to afford procedural due process, failed to apply the correct law, and failed to support the decision with competent substantial evidence on numerous counts.

The sixty-five page petition cites, as examples of due process violations:

  • The City Commission’s failure to consider and vote on intervenor status for PSPB.
  • Failure to disclose the subject and details of their ex parte communications.
  • Despite the meeting on February 27 being closed to public comment, the Sirata and its team were allowed to testify.
  • The City also failed to follow the correct law by allowing the Sirata application to proceed despite extensive new data and information submitted at the end of the process, which should have been reviewed by the City’s technical staff and planning board beforehand.
  • The application was allowed to proceed even though the City staff admitted the property was in violation of sea turtle lighting code.
  • The Commission voted based on issues and evidence that were not relevant to the decision, such as the developer’s threat that if not approved, they would pursue a Live Local Act project with much higher density/intensity.
  • There were significant flaws in the traffic study.
  • The applicant provided no evidence to show how three separate hotels met the intent or definition of full-service integrated resorts required in the Large Resort district.

Now that the appeal has been filed, the City must stay all proceedings in furtherance of the Sirata application. This means that they cannot move forward with site plans or building permits.

Read the full petition here:

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