ST. PETERSBURG — A judge has allowed the city of St. Petersburg to join in a lawsuit over whether Florida owns some submerged land under Coffee Pot Bayou, or whether it belongs to a St. Petersburg couple named Rick and Kelly Ware.
The Wares have been battling the state Department of Environmental Protection since 2008 over ownership of the submerged land at 181 Brightwaters Blvd. NE.
Last year Attorney General Pam Bondi filed suit contending the property had belonged to the taxpayers since Florida became a state in 1845. The Wares say their chain of title goes back to 1883, when Florida sold 4 million acres to Hamilton Disston to help pay off debts dating to the Civil War.
Eighty other property owners — including the city itself — are in the same position as the Wares, and that's why city officials wanted to intervene on their side. No trial date has been set.