Judge Brian Davis grants motion to dismiss – City of Fernandina Beach vs Patricia C. Toundas

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Property involved in dispute

Submitted by Susan Hardee Steger

On August 29, Circuit Court Judge Brian Davis granted Attorney Daniel Brim’s request for a motion to dismiss a lawsuit between the City of Fernandina Beach and Patricia C. Toundas. Brim, attorney for Patricia C. Toundas, filed the motion to  dismiss May 23.  The initial lawsuit was filed by the City to settle a dispute involving property located west of the Duryee building (Marina Restaurant)  at the corner of Centre and North Front Streets.

According to the written order handed down by Judge Davis, the court found that the City of Fernandina Beach “has failed to allege sufficiently the cloud on its title.” In granting the motion to dismiss, Judge Davis is allowing 20 days for the City to amend the complaint.

City Attorney Tammi Bach says the City will file a declaratory judgment centered on Ordinance 258. The ordinance was passed by the City Commission in 1954 to close a portion of North Front Street. During the August 23 hearing, Brim argued Ordinance 258 is “at best ambiguous.” Bach countered saying the ordinance contains specific language defining the exception of “a ten foot wide driveway paralleling the westerly sidewalk line of Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Block No 1 of said City.” The City’s written response notes the exception of the driveway in this ordinance “specifically” reserves a portion of the property “for the continued benefit of the public.”  According to Bach, “The City looks forward to getting clarification from Judge Davis on the meaning of Ordinance 258.”

September 12, 2013 8:30 a.m.

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