Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Leo pushes forward on de-annexation despite legal advice

ST. LEO — A 37-year-old Florida Attorney General's opinion may stand in the way of efforts by Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club residents to de-annex from St. Leo.

For years, residents of 85 homes in gated Lake Jovita — which is split with 350 more units in the subdivision located in unincorporated Pasco County — have grumbled at having to pay taxes to the town in addition to the county.

Efforts to de-annex that have fizzled over the years reached a fever pitch in recent months with the election of two Lake Jovita residents, Commissioners Robert Inslee and James Wells who have made it clear their constituents want out. The town also received a petition from 70 residents of Lake Jovita calling for de-annexation.

But the town's attorney, Patricia Petruff, told the commission last month in her opinion due to the population density in Lake Jovita, the property in question meets the legal qualifications for annexation, which in turn prevents it from being de-annexed. That ruling led the commission to seek an opinion from the Florida Attorney General's Office.

The opinion backs Petruff's finding citing a 1976 precedent the AGO still leans on in dealing with de-annexation questions. It states "the statute precludes a municipal government from enacting a contraction ordinance — either on its own initiative or in response to a petition — if the area proposed to be excluded is found to meet the criteria for annexation."

Still, Inslee and Wells last month floated the idea of moving forward with an ordinance to de-annex anyway with hopes there would be no legal challenge.

On Monday, at a St. Leo Town Commission meeting the board agreed to hold a de-annexation feasibility discussion on Sept. 23 following a 7 p.m. budget meeting.

St. Leo pushes forward on de-annexation despite legal advice 09/10/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 4:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.
  2. Police pull unconscious New Port Richey man from SUV in Cotee River


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Police rescued an unconscious driver whose sport utility vehicle plunged into the Cotee River on Saturday.

  3. Analysis: Bannon is out, but his agenda may live on


    WASHINGTON — In his West Wing office, Stephen Bannon kept a chart listing trade actions — on China, steel and autos — that the Trump White House planned to roll out, week by week, through the fall. Now that Bannon, the president's chief strategist, has been pushed out, the question is whether his …

    Steve Bannon thinks he could be more effective influencing policy from outside the White House.
  4. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  5. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times