Florida Supreme Court hands victory to Calusa homeowners

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida. – It wasn’t about eggs or birds or endangered species or homeowners worried about more traffic.

It wasn't Miami-Dade County officials or employees who kept saying yes to building hundreds of homes on the old Calusa Golf Course.

It was the Florida Supreme Court that refused to even take up the matter.

This ends developer GL Homes' battle against Calusa-area homeowners who successfully argued that they had not been adequately informed about the plan to put 550 homes on the golf course in the middle of their densely populated West Kendall neighborhood.

“Instead of doing that, they repeatedly said, 'No, we believe our notice was sufficient,' and continued the process,” said homeowner Amanda Prieto. “Then we felt we had to take legal action.”

It all started when the developer bought the land two decades ago. Green space was required, but that need was overridden with the support of a group of homeowners who were paid out, according to a commissioner.

During the fight, the homeowners proved that the land is a nesting ground and home to several endangered species.

“Is there any chance the county will buy the land?” Local 10’s Glenna Milberg asked.

“We would have liked that right from the start,” answered homeowner Dennis Horn. “It’s private property now.”

Prieto added: “They will continue to file and try again, but a lot has changed. “We feel like there is more emphasis on environmental protection and conservation.”

If the developer tries again, he will have to start from step one, but with a different client and a different environmental landscape.

Neither the development team nor county prosecutors responded to Local 10 News' request for comment.

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Anna Harden

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