Nocatee Suit Losses Led to Deal; Sierra Club Gains Nothing in Settlement

Article excerpt

Byline: Lisa Woods, Times-Union staff writer

The Sierra Club decided to settle a lawsuit last month over the planned 15,000-acre Nocatee development because it didn't want to keep spending money and time on the case and had failed in two previous lawsuits, officials said this week.

The environmental organization didn't receive money, land or anything else in the settlement. But The Parc Group, developers of the community planned for northeast St. Johns County and southwest Duval County, received a guarantee that the Sierra Club wouldn't sue them during the first five years of the 25-year project.

The Sierra Club suit was filed against St. Johns County, but it was dismissed as part of the settlement.

Although the case was settled Oct. 25, attorneys and others directly involved refused to disclose the details until yesterday, when Sierra Club attorney Warren Anderson, who also is chairman of the club's northeast Florida group, released a copy of the settlement.

"We have decided that our resources are better spent pursuing other remedies for ensuring smarter growth, curbing urban sprawl and protecting the quality of life for our families for the future," Anderson said. He also said the club decided to drop the suit because of two previous unsuccessful legal challenges against the development.

The Parc Group officials would not comment on the settlement yesterday.

Anderson said the Sierra Club finally agreed to release the terms of the agreement because it's against the club's national policy to keep settlements confidential. …