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Martin County settles Lake Point lawsuit; gains 400 acres

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The Martin County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a legal settlement with the owners of Lake Point Monday, officials said.

This settlement comes after the South Florida Water Management District settled with Lake Point in August.

“After months of working toward a resolution through court-ordered mediation, we have reached an agreement which we believe is in the best financial interest of the county," said Board Chairman Doug Smith. "The settlement is considerably less than the original amount requested by Lake Point, and will be structured with payments over time to offset the impact to residents."

This case began in 2013 when Lake Point had accused the county of several contract and public records violations, according to officials.

George Lindeman, one of the owners, released this statement:

This settlement clears the way to let us take dirty water from Lake Okeechobee and the canal, keeping some of it from flowing to the estuary; clean it and put it back into the system. We’re glad to be moving forward.

As part of the settlement agreement, the county will purchase over 400 acres of land next to the C-44/Okeechobee Waterway to develop as a storm water treatment area, providing significant environmental benefits as well as other uses for $12 million, according to officials.

The county also formally apologized to the Lake Point owners, principals and its employees.

“We realize the meaningful economic contribution of the continued public-private partnership with Lake Point, and this settlement allows us to move forward in our continued efforts to protect and improve environmental resources of Martin County,” county administrator Taryn Kryzda said.

The case is set for trial in February 2018, officials said.

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By settling the case, the county eliminates its exposure for possible damages and the further expenditure of attorney’s fees and costs.

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