St. Pete wants to join legal fight over dock - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

St. Pete wants to join legal fight over dock

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The dock at Coffee Pot Bayou The dock at Coffee Pot Bayou
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) - The city of St. Petersburg wants to join in a local man's legal fight against the state over a dock. Rick Ware has the title to submerged land in Coffee Pot Bayou in St. Petersburg, and has been paying $1700 in property taxes for it annually.

In 2010, the city and county approved his permit to expand his dock. After it was built, he received a letter from the State claiming it owned the submerged land. Ware has been fighting the claim for over 3 years. 

In a court hearing Tuesday before Judge Walter Schafer, 6th Judicial Circuit, an attorney representing the city of St. Petersburg argued to join the case, because it has a stake in the outcome. Kimberly Proano, attorney for the city, said the case could set precedent for all submerged dock properties along Coffee Pot Bayou, including 12 plots that the city owns.

The city could potentially lose the taxes from all those plots. The state argued this is an individual case and the city has no legal stake. During the hearing, attorneys from both sides were citing cases that date back to the 1800's on the ownership of submerged lands.

The judge said he will issue a decision next Monday.
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