ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Attorneys for Reedy Creek’s new board are citing several reasons why Walt Disney World’s development agreement will not stand.
In a meeting on Wednesday, the new board appointed by the governor explained how they plan to fight a development agreement that gave Disney exclusive development rights.
Attorneys are arguing procedural flaws nullify that agreement.
Attorneys argued the agreement was unconstitutional under Florida law for multiple reasons, but one of their biggest points for why they say the agreement will be void stems from public notice.
State law is specific about how that needs to happen before any board enters a development agreement.
“It was Disney’s way or the highway, which is why we were forced to higher litigation counsel,” said Martin Garcia, chair of Reedy Creek Improvement District. “Compromise was out of the question.”
Now, Reedy Creek’s new board is lawyered up and preparing for a potential court battle.
The governor-appointed board has been trying to figure out how to wrestle back some of the power it lost as the former board signed a last-minute deal that ceded development authority over to Disney.
Lawyers for the district said Disney’s development agreement gives the company the ability to insist on new infrastructure, zoning power and exclusive development rights, but they argue it won’t hold up in court.
“Procedurally, Disney and the prior board failed to adhere to the state sunshine laws,” trial counsel David Thompson said.
Thompson pointed out a part of state law that requires notice to be mailed to all effected property owners before a development agreement can be considered. Attorneys said that never happened.
A trial is something experts view as increasingly likely. Board members will vote to declare the agreement void next meeting, and Disney executives hinted they view all these government actions as retaliatory.
Disney has not responded to requests seeking comment.
On Wednesday, the board also adopted one significant resolution, giving them superior authority of the cities of Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake that are also in the district.
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