ST. PETE BEACH — The city won the first round this week in an ongoing legal battle over voter-approved redevelopment rules.
Bill Pyle, a supporter and financier of Citizens for Responsible Growth, failed in his state administrative challenge to one of a series of land redevelopment ordinances approved by voters last year.
The contested ordinance created a new land use category establishing redevelopment districts, affecting about 20 percent of the city, including downtown and along Gulf Boulevard.
During a two-day state hearing in February, Pyle contended that the redevelopment districts did not comply with state law and the city did not follow proper procedures during the referendum process.
He also objected to the ordinance based, in part, on how the plan established mixed-use land use categories, how it affected the city's beach preservation district, and how the city used scientific data sources to support the plan.
The state administrative law judge, Donald Alexander, found that Pyle did not prove that the city's redevelopment plan was flawed.
Alexander recommended that the state Department of Community Affairs issue a final order finding that the ordinance complies with state law. Then the new development rules will go into effect, said City Manager Mike Bonfield.
Meanwhile, several lawsuits filed by Pyle and another resident, Bruce Kadura, are still wending their way through the legal system.
Until the city's redevelopment wars are resolved, city officials are telling developers that any permits pulled under the new redevelopment regulations could be at risk because of those lawsuits.