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News & Views Section



Text Box: As of Friday August 21st 2009 the Jensen Beach Group and the named residents of Jensen Beach have reached a settlement with Bill and Nancy Reily and Reily Enterprises bringing the SLAPP suit and the SLAPP-back suit to an end.


We cannot comment about the settlement but we are well satisfied with the conclusion of the cases and we are glad the litigation is over.


The lawsuit filed by Mr. Reily against residents of Jensen Beach was a classic SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) suit designed to silence citizens who objected to -- and still object to -- the Pitchford's Landing project he proposed to build on the Pitchford's RV Park site.


Residents successfully challenged the permit Reily applied for to build a concrete seawall on the Indian River Lagoon.  The Department of Environmental Protection and the Fourth District Court of Appeals ultimately agreed with residents that the seawall project could be harmful to the environment and the permit was denied.


Residents also successfully challenged the density and height of the proposed project, which was scaled back 40% by the Board of County Commissioners in response to the comments of the Jensen Beach residents.


The litigation has been going on for more than three years and has cost all parties in the range of a million dollars.  It has been emotionally and financially draining for all of us and we welcome an end to the battle of Pitchford's Landing but do not regret the action we took.  If you do not stand up for your rights, if you do not protect your community, then no one else will do it for you.


Unfortunately, the end of the litigation is only the beginning of new challenges for residents of Martin County who want to protect and preserve their neighborhoods.  We are facing threats from developers despite the horrendous state of the economy, and citizens must now more than ever stand up for our rights to participate in government decision-making that will affect our homes and our children's future.


Ultimately we hope that our ordeal will serve as an example to other residents that citizens can affect what happens in their neighborhood even when opposed by one of the largest law firms in the state and a team of well funded professionals.





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