LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County has lost another appeal of damages that were awarded to developers. So, it appears that Lee will have to finally pay up for denying a housing development several years ago...a payment that could approach $8.4 million.
"This is unconscionable at a time when we are talking about cutting out bus service for the blind. We have to make sure that we change things around here and make sure this never happens, ever again," said commissioner Larry Kiker.
Developers wanted to build hundreds of homes along Buckingham Road. The project was called Buckingham Village, but Lee commissioners said no. The developers later went to trial and were awarded more than $4 million in damages against the county. That figure, through interest, has grown to more than $8 million.
"It is unfortunate, especially when it comes from the tax dollars. But sometimes, you just have to pay. Those things happen," said Lee County manager Roger Desjarlais.
Kiker said it appears that previous commissioners were stubborn in fighting the judgment against the county. Kiker said he wants to carefully listen to legal advice and weigh the risks of appealing cases. He said that is part of the culture of Lee government that must change, and that decisions should be made based on solid, business-like advice, and not on emotion or politics.