Port St. Joe Allows Project to Proceed
PORT ST. JOE, FL — Yesterday, the City of Port St. Joe decided to recommend that a building permit for the “reconstruction project” next door to the Port Theatre be issued.
In spite of legal counsel and abrogation laws in our favor, it was determined that if we wish to continue fighting this, it will have to become a civil matter in a court of law.
So, it looks like a permit will be issued in spite of a restrictive covenant on the books, a Party Wall Agreement, that expressly states that neighboring building can be one story only.
Sometimes it is frustrating to watch the battles faced by owners of historic buildings who are trying to retain any sense of historical integrity. In this case, the neighboring property has, on the books, “unfinished storage” in an upper loft. Now, with a reconstruction project, changing the pitch of the roof, walla! Poof! An attempt to get a legal second story.
I am thankful for the two people who showed up at the meeting on our behalf (besides our attorney) and for the one professional couple who wrote a very moving letter from another state, which the City of Port St. Joe must have simply ignored. This whole saga makes me realize that with real estate, research, research, research. Then work hard to preserve EARLY.
Also, the longer something goes on unnoticed, the easier it is to make it appear to be something it never was intended to be. Our attorney couldn’t believe the outcome! He felt there were grounds for the City to rule in favor of our theater building.
The next step is probably going to be a difficult one on our part, if we make the decision we probably should. There is legal precedent, and we are fairly likely to prevail, but at what cost, and what cost to who?