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$80 million Shores of Panama project at ‘standstill’ after judge’s ruling. Here’s the latest

Posted on August 3, 2022

A court has ordered a “standstill” of all but one in-progress portion of the multi-million dollar repair and renovation project at a Panama City Beach high-rise condominium.

The order is temporary until the court can determine the necessity of the project.

Judge William S. Henry issued a ruling Saturday afternoon addressing payment for work covered by a $8.9 million special assessment that the Shores of Panama Home Owners Association Board of Directors lodged against owners of the 709-unit 23-story building at 9900 S. Thomas Drive.

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The amount of the special assessment also was reduced by the HOA board at a July 19 meeting when board members agreed that $1.9 million of it wasn’t necessary.

The reduction amounted to about $1,944,000 for safety nets to cover the building, said Dana Matthews, attorney for some of the homeowners suing to stop the special assessment.

“They finally listened to us and they finally eliminated it,” Matthews said, pointing out that the HOA board had paid $250,000 for a consultant to tell the HOA it needed to put stakes into the exterior of the building to hold the netting.

The HOA board’s attorney, John Townsend, has not returned three calls from The News Herald seeking comment.

But Matthews said attorneys for both sides have agreed to ask the judge to meet on Aug. 17, and they are waiting to hear back from the judge’s administrator

The $80 million project

Initially, the HOA board had approved the $80 million project to correct problems some homeowners say the HOA blames on Hurricane Michael in 2018, damage that their insurance would not cover.

The HOA board, which started out with seven members and currently has just three, signed contracts that owners say was done without notification and permission.

In June, the HOA board lodged an $8.9 million special assessment against the owners.

The owners say the work is “overkill” and unnecessary.

They sought a temporary injunction, Matthews said. The hearing was scheduled for July 27, but didn’t take place and was instead continued.

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