WINTER PARK, Fla., Dec. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In an important legal victory that could have ramifications for challenges of public referendums, an Orange County judge has sided with the city of Winter Park, represented by Bryant Miller Olive (BMO), to allow construction of a new library with bond financing in the city's Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, part of a broader project that had been approved by voter referendum.
A group of citizens had challenged the $30 million project, which also includes a civic center and parking garage. They were seeking to stop the project because they were opposed to its location in MLK Park on the grounds that the location was not included in the actual ballot question.
BMO attorneys Chris Roe and Ellie Neiberger countered that the city's official actions to approve and specify MLK Park as the project site, coupled with the city's extensive public discussion and educational outreach campaign in the months leading to the March 2016 election, made the project's location clear to city voters.
Orange County Judge Margaret Schreiber, in a final judgement issued Dec. 7, agreed with BMO and Winter Park. "Given the overwhelming information about the location of the project on the site of the existing civic center in MLK Park, a reasonable voter in the city could only have understood the bond referendum to mean that the new library and events center and related facilities would be built on the site of the current civic center," the judgement states.
Winter Park City Manager Randy Knight, in a statement, said the judge's ruling "confirms the city's position that the project has already gone to vote and the matter has been decided by voters."
"This is an important victory, not only for residents of Winter Park who voted in favor of the project and financing, but for defending against future referendum challenges as well," Roe said. "The courts recognize that a ballot question need not contain every crucial detail of a given project - especially where an extensive and detailed public education and outreach campaign is undertaken before the election."
About Bryant Miller Olive: With a distinguished 45-year history of serving its clients' needs, Bryant Miller Olive represents governments, businesses and agencies in legal matters relating to public finance, state and local government law, complex transactions, project finance, and litigation. The firm has served as Bond Counsel on more deals than any other firm in the Southeast over the past five years, and more than any other firm in Florida over the past decade. Members of the firm are often called upon to handle some of the most complex legal issues in the boardroom and in the courtroom. The firm has offices in Tampa, Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit http://www.bmolaw.com.
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SOURCE Bryant Miller Olive