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RV park, developer reach deal, end suits

A $100-million housing development project at the site must still undergo city review before it can begin.

© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 28, 2001

SEMINOLE -- In an abrupt move, the developer who had sued the owner of the Holiday Campground -- a 600-lot RV park -- suddenly settled the case Monday morning.

In his suit, John Reed of La Perla Development Group had asserted that the owner's actions had delayed his plans to build a $100-million housing project.

The case was set to go before Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge John Lenderman the next day.

City officials said that whatever compromise has been reached, the development group must first submit plans for review before Reed could begin construction on his planned community of single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums.

Reed had initially filed suit in July against Bill Baynard Sr., owner of Holiday Campground at 10000 Park Blvd. The suit alleged that Baynard refused to provide copies of deeds for 55 acres of submerged land, part of a 101-acre parcel he was selling to Reed for $11.4-million. Baynard had argued the 55 acres could not be developed because the land borders Long Bayou and a fragile wetlands system.

But without deeds for the submerged acres, La Perla said it was unable to process preliminary site plans and other governmental approvals necessary to move forward with plans for portions of the land that could be built on.

Holiday Campground Inc. filed its own claim against the developer in August, saying Reed was defaulting on his end of the deal.

Attorneys for both parties refused to comment on the nature of their deal this week.

"As part of the settlement agreement the attorneys have agreed not to communicate with the media," said Leonard Englander, who represents Reed and La Perla Development in the case.

While the property "has been rezoned for the planned residential community that they wanted they have to go through the formal process," said Mitch Bobowski, general services director for the city. He added the rezoning process alone took six months.

As for site plans, "they haven't even gotten to that stage," he said.

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