After years of being at odds over various development issues, the Sandestin Owners Association’s president has announced that the association has agreed to a settlementt with Sandestin Investments to resolving their differences.
That dispute, which had resulted in the SOA filing lawsuits, was prompted by SDI owner Tom Becnel’s Notice of Proposed Change application he filed with Walton County and that was approved by the Walton County Commission earlier this year.
The Notice of Proposed Change amended certain provisions of the development order for the Sandestin Development of Regional Impact.
The SOA challenged the proposed change by filing two lawsuits, one before Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet sitting as the Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission and one in Walton County Circuit Court. Both cases will be dismissed under the terms of the settlement.
“I am thrilled,” said Kitty Whitney, Becnel’s assistant. “I think they did the right thing.”
Despite its entitlement to build 1,873 additional residential units, SDI has agreed to reduce the number of units it will develop within the boundaries of the DRI to no more than 1,324.
Of those, 624 will be north of U.S. Highway 98 and 200 will be south of U.S. 98 on no more than three parcels. Grand Boulevard will be allocated 500 units.
In addition, SDI reserves 240 units for development within the vested areas of Linkside Conference Center, Linkside Center, the exhibition hall and the Links golf driving range.
The settlement agreement does not affect residential units previously allocated for the development of Burnt Pine Villas and Osprey Point.
Of the 624 units north of U.S. 98, no more than 466 will be developed on any of the Marina parcels, the Village of Baytowne Wharf, Monarch or Jolee Island.
No more than 24 units will be developed on the Raven clubhouse, and no more than 134 units will be developed on the administration area and four Baytowne golf holes adjacent to U.S. 98. SDI committed to delay construction on any portion of those for five years.
The tennis court parcel will remain open space and will not be developed. SDI also agreed to not pursue residential development on the Finz restaurant site.
SDI also committed to forego the addition of any category of amusements without the consent of the Sandestin Owners Association.
Both sides also agreed to terms for future beach parking, village parking, beach restroom facilities, construction of a roundabout at Heron Walk Drive and Baytowne Avenue, garbage disposal fees and parcel assessments.
A statement issued by the association to its homeowners said SDI and SOA looked forward to closing this chapter and investing their resources to improve Sandestin for all.
SDI also issued a press release stating that SOA and SDI will work together for the future.
It was noted that SDI agreed to donate the land and a financial contribution to build a traffic circle and additional feeder road to ease traffic at the Heron Walk/Baytowne intersection.
SDI also offered an option for SOA to buy SDI land near the administration building where an office building could be constructed. SDI also offered to lease the former administration building to the SOA for $1,000 a year for three years.
With concerns about increased beach traffic, SDI granted SOA use of restrooms near the putting dunes course near the west beach crossover.
SDI also will extend beach concessions and services to the western area of the beach.
The County Commission must approve the settlement terms.