Of course, legal issues aside, council members also may consider popular opinion.
Council member Joseph Corradino said “the residents feel very strongly” about not changing the rules for anyone.
“I think my perception is that there is a definite opposition to modifying the covenant,” he said.
Corradino said the council did not intend to create a banquet hall, but adding language to those request for proposals (RFP) documents that says the council will change the rules has put people on edge.
“The RFP is misleading and I think that is a large concern to the neighbors,” Corradino said.
But Lerner said that taking away the possibility of changing the rule before the deadline for proposals was premature and may hurt the chances of getting people interested in starting a restaurant in the Gardens.
“Once we see what we are presented with, that will give us some guidance,” Lerner said.
Council member James McDonald said it was too early to fight with the residents over whether or not to change the rule.
“Right now we are just talking about something that hasn’t happened yet,” he said.
However, Vice Mayor Jeff Cutler said there was a big disagreement that would eventually come up, again.
“We have a clash between what the neighbors want and what the consultants advise we should do with that space,” Cutler warned.
However, the council agreed to keep language in the RFP that says the council could change the legal agreement and just deal with that fight once all the proposals are submitted to the council.
“It doesn’t deserve a full-blown hearing now,” Cutler said.
The Florida Community Trust, which provided a grant for the village to buy the Gardens, would eventually have to sign off on any changes to Cypress Hall.