Thread: Driftwood Estates
01-28-2012, 04:37 PM #1
It seems like this has been going on for decades. How much has this cost Walton County and why has it become such a war?
At the recommendation of staff and legal counsel, the commissioners voted to extend until their next meeting a previous move to refrain from issuing building permits for properties in Block G of the interior of Driftwood Estates.
The vote followed a lengthy presentation by Shawn Heath, an attorney representing Driftwood Estates homeowners, and Alan Osborne, president of the Greater Driftwood Estates Homeowners’ Association.
County Attorney Greg Kisela said that, after hours of discussions between the parties, there had been a decision to recommend that the suspension on permits, initiated two week previous, be continued. He said his was due to concerns as to whether there were potential violations in connection with open space requirements and stormwater drainage requirements within the Sandestin development of regional impact (DRI). Much of Driftwood Estates was orginally included in the Sandestin DRI approved decades ago, and the Driftwood area is still part of the documents governing the development. By law, violations of documents and ordinances associated with the DRI disallow the issuance of building permits for new development, as the homeowners and their representatives have pointed out.
Fact gathering and discussions with representative of the homeowners are to continue, and additional action by the BCC on the matter is possible on Feb. 14.
02-10-2012, 11:04 PM #2
Ths was posted on another forum site
Greater_Driftwood_Estates_HOA_pptv1.pdfThis looks like a crime. What's the deal on this? Does anybody know about this brief at the BCC meeting last time?
02-11-2012, 10:14 AM #3
Note to self: do not build on wetlands. Do not buy a home built on wetlands.
02-11-2012, 10:23 AM #4
Note to Dawn: You obviously have not been following this situation very closely.I think of government as the Mafia without the moral authority or predictability. Ron Hart
02-13-2012, 11:08 PM #5
This sure doesn't jive with the Walton Sun article Saturday that said 3 new big projects are about to start in Sandestin. Shouldn't the Sandestin Development order have to be in compliance before any new projects or construction of any kind is started? How much will this mess cost us? Why doesn't the county make the developer fix it, instead of assuming more liability, continuing to build with known violations of the DO and County ordinances? I can make no sense of this one. I went and looked up County ordinance 2000-03 and sure enough it says in plain language there is supposed to be a nine hole Golf Course in the middle of Driftwood. The adopted Masterplan maps on the County's record for the current adopted plan. (Map H) Sure enough it shows Driftwood as a part of the resort with the primary collector road to US 98 going through Burnt Pine and a Golf Course/Open Space of over 147 Acres in the center of Driftwood. How in the world could the developer skip the public notice (NOPC) to eliminate the Golf course and create 463 units of housing and skip years of Annual reports and nobody say anything? Can you adopt a law that says you have access and then refuse to give it? I need a little help on this one, I'm new. Who can explain?Ltr_to_G._Stewart.pdf
Last edited by kurt; 02-15-2012 at 05:12 AM.
02-15-2012, 01:55 PM #6
Thank you Alan for keeping us posted on this! I wish I could have been at the meeting but could not get out of work for it.
02-16-2012, 06:01 AM #7
Most of the property north of 98 near the bay is wetlands or "former" wetlands. Letting people develop property there or on the dunes has ruined the future.
02-16-2012, 02:57 PM #8
We don't want to hear that crap!
The long-running dispute between residents of Driftwood Estates and and the Sandestin Golf and Beach resort has erupted again.
The Walton County Commission rejected the Driftwood Homeowners Association's request Tuesday night to impose a moratorium on Sandestin's expansion.
For seven years homeowners in Driftwood Estates have complained about drainage problems and dumping access. They blame those problems on the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
Tuesday night those residents told Walton County commissioners Sandestin is not complying with the resort's Development of Regional Impact, and asked the commission to denying any of Sandestin's requests to expand.
The commission said no.
Driftwood HOA President Alan Osborne was furious. "We don't want to hear that crap, enforce the law--I'll see you later. You adopted a law, now enforce it."
Walton County Manager Greg Kisela said he has spent hours upon hours working with Driftwood homeowners, attorneys, and the resort to find a solution. "We're not saying there aren't compliance issues, we said that six weeks ago, but do they raise to the level where we issue a building moratorium on all of the Sandestin development?"
That seems to be the biggest question at hand. After hearing that, Driftwood neighbors ripped into the commission.
"Number one, do you know what it will cost you to fix Driftwood's problem without entering a lawsuit? Number two, do you know what it will cost us meaning the taxpayers to be sued? Can you do what is right?" said one Driftwood resident.
Now, the Driftwood Homeowners Association is preparing to sue.
Shawn Heath, the attorney representing the Driftwood HOA took the podium to lay out his plan of action. "If the county is right, they're right. If we lose, that's the decision. But if we're correct, the court will enter its order and the fallout will be from there."
County officials said they are currently working with Sandestin to help initiate reconciliation, and re-instated the resort's building permits Tuesday night.
02-19-2012, 06:34 PM #9
An independent law firm review of the Driftwood Estates issue has been completed and the report to the Walton commissioners is there is not a substantial non-compliance.
The report says reviews of the location of residential units in the interior, Driftwood Drive and more ended in a recommendation to lift the suspension of the building permits. A motion and second was made to accept the recommendation.
Driftwood Homeowner’s Association president, Alan Osborn and attorney Shawn Heath, presented information. They said the local government is primarily responsible for making sure the development order is followed.
They presented five reasons why the project is out of compliance. The reasons included: home sites in open golf course space, lot development does not meet stormwater retention, DEP determination the developer has not certified this meets water quality requirements, no access through Sandestin as the DRI shows and no annual reports filed since 2004. Driftwood was built as part of Sandestin and the DRI, a type of development order, had plans for Driftwood and uses the land in calculations. Sandestin no longer owns the property, but still use it as part of their approved development order. The 460 additional homes where a golf course and green space was planned was approved by the commissioners for the new owner as a minor change. Heath said the stormwater runoff was to be designed for 6.7 inches, but was only designed for 1 inch.
Heath said the developer was released by paying $60,000 when there was an estimated cost of several million. A special magistrate was brought in and the magistrate said the Sandestin DRI contains a 6.7 inch stormwater run-off. Health said the county has been helping the developer rather than staying neutral. The special magistrate gave other actions the county should take and Heath said none were taken.
Heath said in 2008 the county colluded with Interwest to work against Driftwood. An email was presented saying the county and other parties involved wanted to silence Alan Osborn. Osborn questions why, as a pilot for the military and serving overseas, his local government would want to silence him.
Commissioner Sara Comander said she understands the issue has been ongoing for years. She said they have Osborn’s findings and the findings from the engineers and others they have hired saying something different. Comander said she wants to do the right thing, but does not know what it is.
Heath suggested they file a lawsuit and the commissioners not issue further permits until the court rules. The attorney reviewing for the county called the information provided by Driftwood “snippets” and said, that if you look at the rest of the information there is a different picture. Osborn asked that the three commissioners come with the residents. The motion to lift the suspension was approved 3-0.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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