Manatee County Government Administrative Center Honorable Patricia M. Glass Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - November 19, 2019
November 19, 2019 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #18

Proposed Eminent Domain Settlement; FDOT v. Golf Car Outlet, LLC, a Florida limited liability company, et al., Case No. 2018 CA 47; Parcel 106

Briefing Provided Upon Request

Contact and/or Presenter Information
Pamela J. D’Agostino, Assistant County Attorney, Ext. 3750

Action Requested
Motion to: 

  1. Approve the proposed settlement with Defendants Golf Car Outlet, LLC, a Florida limited liability company, and Grow Financial Federal Credit Union in Manatee County Circuit Case No. 2018 CA 47 as delineated in the attached proposed Order Authorizing Withdrawal and Disbursement of Condemnation Funds;
  2. Authorize the County Attorney or his designee to execute the attached Motion for Entry of Order Authorizing Withdrawal and Disbursement of Condemnation Funds and all other necessary paperwork associated with said settlement; and
  3. Authorize the County Attorney or his designee to take any other action in furtherance of the settlement outlined pursuant to this proposed Order Authorizing Withdrawal and Disbursement of Condemnation Funds, including furnishing executed copies of the attachments and other necessary paperwork to opposing counsel and the Court as appropriate and to enforce the terms of this settlement.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Article X, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution
Chapters 73, 74, 334 through 341, and Section 479.15, Florida Statutes

Background Discussion
The State of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will soon be undertaking a project to improve the interchange at I-75 and U.S. 301.  The proposed improvements include reconfiguring the existing interchange as well as enhancing the following three intersections along U.S. 301:  51st Avenue East, 60th Avenue East, and 19th Street.

To complete the project, FDOT needed to acquire additional right-of-way, including the property currently occupied by a golf cart sales and service center known as Golf Car Outlet, LLC, which is located in the southeast quadrant of the interchange of I-75 and U.S. 301, at 5707 19th Street East, Ellenton, Florida 34222.  FDOT has labeled this property as Parcel 106.

The FDOT was unable to successfully negotiate to purchase Parcel 106 from the owner and therefore had to file an eminent domain action to acquire the property.  The County was served with the Petition on February 1, 2018.  Because Parcel 106 is encumbered in part by a recorded permanent easement in favor of the County, the County is a party to the eminent domain case.  Attached is a copy of the permanent easement, which was granted as a part of a right-of-way vacation application in 2013.  The purpose of the permanent easement was to provide for ingress, egress, construction and maintenance of surface and/or underground drainage and utility facilities.  The County has no improvements within the area of the easement which falls within Parcel 106, and the area is not otherwise needed for County purposes.  In the course of defending the eminent domain litigation, the CAO consulted with staff from Public Works and Utilities, both of whom had no objection to the FDOT’s taking of Parcel 106.  For that reason, the County did not oppose the taking and the Court entered an Order of Taking on March 26, 2018.  Pursuant to the Order of Taking, when the FDOT deposited the sum of money ($61,970) any and all right, title or interest to Parcel 106 vested in the FDOT.

In September of 2019, the FDOT and Golf Car Outlet reached a global settlement as to all claims for compensation for the taking, business damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and experts’ fees and costs, but that amount ($496,757.50) is subject to apportionment.  In accordance with that settlement, the FDOT and Golf Car Outlet entered into a joint motion for entry of a Stipulated Final Judgment, which the Court ordered on September 18, 2019.  Because the County’s claim is one of apportionment, and apportionment is determined only after full compensation is determined, the CAO would need to hire an appraiser to determine the value of the easement.

In an effort to avoid further litigation, the CAO contacted both the FDOT and Golf Car Outlet in an attempt to negotiate a resolution of the County’s apportionment claim.  Golf Car Outlet and the only remaining party to the matter, Grow Financial Credit Union, have agreed to award the County $6,000 for its apportionment claim.

The County Attorney’s Office believes that accepting this proposed settlement is in the best interests of the County and therefore recommends that the Board approve this settlement for $6,000 in accordance with the terms outlined in the attached Order Authorizing Withdrawal and Disbursement of Condemnation Funds.  The recommendation to accept the terms of this settlement considers the value of the property acquired, the estimated costs associated with further litigation of this apportionment matter, and the relative strengths and weaknesses in the case.

By approving this proposed settlement, all litigation relative to this eminent domain case will be concluded and resolved and the County will incur no additional expense relative to this matter.  If the County were to reject this proposed settlement, the CAO will proceed to defend this eminent domain case by hiring an appraiser to value the easement and will seek recovery for its apportionment claim.  As in all eminent domain matters, the condemning authority, in this instance, the FDOT, would be ultimately responsible for paying the reasonable fees and costs of the County’s expert witness as well as the County’s reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to litigate the County’s apportionment claim.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other
This is a County Attorney item.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

If approved by the Board, please e-mail an approved copy of this agenda item to Pamela J. D’Agostino, Assistant County Attorney, at pamela.dagostino@mymanatee.org, and Alicia M. Stull, Paralegal, at alicia.stull@mymanatee.org.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Motion for Entry of Order Authorizing Withdrawal & Disbursement with Exhibit A.pdf
Attachment:  Permanent Easement.pdf
Attachment:  Aerial Map.pdf