Today Oct. 6, 2020 Union County appealed the 8th Circuit Court’s earlier decision to grant plaintiff HPS II’s request, based on Bert Harris Act, for compensation for lost funds due to the County’s Comprehensive Plan amendment which limited mining on their land to 341 acres instead of 2,700 acres.
Essentially, HPS II sued Union County for enacting a moratorium on issuing mining permits until they completed a Comprehensive Plan Amendment which strongly curtailed mining in their county. HPS II demanded around $298 million for lost revenue which they alleged could have been realized from their land in Union Co. Today’s hearing was a Motion for Reconsideration of the earlier ruling. Should Union Co. not be successful today does not mean they must pay the amount demanded. It only means the issue will continue in the Florida courts.
The meeting was a Zoom with no participation from listeners, who reached a peak of 9. The meeting was slated to begin at 1:15 but the live streaming began about 1:25. Present were Judge Denise R. Ferrero, David Theriaque and Russell Wade for Union Co. and Jim Taylor for HPS II, plus court reporter Connie Hunnings.
Presentations and arguments were based mostly on legal precedents, and interpretations of precedents. Union County’s strong argument was that the Comprehensive Plan Amendment was enacted county-wide and not specifically to one property (this being HPS II), and thus the Bert Harris Act could not apply
Mr. Taylor maintained that this argument only placed emphasis on the manner or method and that the result was the important issue.
At about 1:52 Judge Ferrero said that she would review the arguments and the meeting was concluded.