The fight first gained traction in 2006 when the school filed an application to rezone the 32.5-acre parcel it had purchased and sought a special exception to increase the student enrollment from 600 to 1,400. The village denied the rezoning request in 2008. Palmer Trinity modified its site plan and enrollment request and achieved a victory in 2010 when a Miami-Dade Circuit Court panel ordered the village to rehear and grant the zoning request.
The Circuit Court later ruled that Palmetto Bay’s 900 figure was not supported by competent substantial evidence, and the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed that decision.
Stan Price, who has represented Palmer Trinity through eight appellate appearances, including the two Third District rulings, isn’t sure that this clear decision ends the matter. The school still has a lawsuit pending against the city for tuition lost due to the village’s decisions.
“I feel very elated and very pleased with the court’s order. It has taken us six years to get to this point of time,” he said. “The most telling was that Chief Judge Wells basically came to the conclusion that the city was acting in bad faith and its actions belie someone wanting to do the right thing. Judge Schwartz concurred and indicated that everything the city was doing was superfluous. That’s what we’ve been saying all along. But there are a few individuals in this city who don’t want a school in that city and the court has recognized the school’s right to exist and to expand. We’d like to think every time we’ve come to the end of the road but there’s another stumbling block. Is this the end? With this town, you never know what the end is.”
Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.