The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court- Appellate Division-today quashed the Graves Bros. annexation in Sebastian, granting the petition brought by the Pelican Island Audubon Society, et al. The three-judge panel granted Audubon’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari, the judges agreeing that the city had failed to follow the proper procedures during their rush to annex over 1,100 acres of land into the City of Sebastian. This court decision puts a stop to the Graves Bos. annexation ordinance pushed through in haste by the Sebastian City Council in August, 2019, according to George Glenn Jr., attorney for Pelican Island Audubon Society.
Sebastian City Council pushed through the Graves Bros. annexation of ~1,100 acres on the southern edge of the city after two contentious public hearings last July and August before the city’s planning and zoning board and the city council. At the council meeting more than 40 people spoke in opposition to the annexation, many arguing that they needed more time to study the proposed annexation. Some were opposed because the proposed land use plan would increase the number of homes by 3,000 plus and make room for 8,000 or more new city residents, arguing that the small-town character and quality of life in today’s Sebastian would be hurt. This issue became a major factor in the city elections in November, resulting in a clean sweep of three council members who, with the current city mayor Ed Dodd and then mayor Jim Hill, voted in favor of the annexation.
“This is an opportunity for the City of Sebastian, the applicant (Graves Bros.), the County and concerned groups to come together to address issues of developmental impacts, protection of our natural environment, and the efficient delivery of services to this rural area of the county”, said Donna Halleran, a board member of the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County and a Petitioner in the lawsuit to halt the annexation.
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