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HEX hearing examiner rules in favor of Gilchrist property owner – matter to be returned to BGHPB hands

October 19, 2023
By Marcy Shortuse
A decision has been made in the case of the property owner at 161 Gilchrist Avenue vs. Lee County, heard on September 12 of this year by Chief Hearing Examiner Donna Marie Collins. The appeal was made by the property owner and their representatives, based on their belief that in denying a special Certificate of Appropriateness to permit construction of a home (161 Gilchrist Avenue) and a garage and maintenance building on the adjoining lot (181 Gilchrist Avenue), the Boca Grande Historic Preservation Board did not apply the correct law, they did not afford the property owner due process and did not use the proper evidence to back up their denial. Representing the County was Amanda Swindle, Esq.; representing the property owner at 161 Gilchrist Avenue were Jenna Persons-Mulicka, Esq. and Megan Strayhorn, Esq. It was at the BGHPB’s April meeting when this item was on the agenda. Prior to any engagement, conversation or examination of the actual proposed structures on the two properties, which is all the COA was for, Board members asked about a feature on one of the properties called the Whispering Bench.

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