Canopy Development Faces Another Lawsuit, Allegations Include “Purposeful” Violations

Canopy Development Faces Another Lawsuit, Allegations Include “Purposeful” Violations

The Northwest Florida Water Management District (NFWMD) has filed a lawsuit against companies affiliated with the Canopy development. Canopy is a mixed use development including single family housing, multi-family housing and commercial use.

According to the lawsuit, NFWMD states that this “is an action seeking temporary and permanent injunctive relief and monetary penalties arising from Defendants’ past and ongoing (and sometime purposeful) violations of the below-referenced NWFWMD environmental resource permits and Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, in relation to ongoing construction projects currently occurring in Leon County.”

The NFWMD is represented by Pennington, P.A.

The lawsuit – which represents one side of the issue – states that proper permits for some construction activities were not secured and certain issued permits were not being followed.

In addition, the lawsuit states that despite being notified that its actions constitute violations of law, one of the companies “has not ceased, and has purposefully continued its violative activities.”

Last month NFWMD issued one of the developers a warning letter and the Department of Environmental Protection sued Canopy developers for “violating Florida’s water resources laws.”

At the time, Steve Ghazvini, one of the developers behind Canopy, told WCTV that they were working to get to the bottom of the issue.

“We try to be conscientious about our neighbors and neighborhoods and this project is no different than any other project that we’ve done,” he said.

12 Responses to "Canopy Development Faces Another Lawsuit, Allegations Include “Purposeful” Violations"

  1. And now the school superintendent is looking at rezoning. Bet it is more about making the Ghazvinis able to market the properties with “A” schools rather than the less desirable “B” schools. That way he can continue to get campaign donations and their good graces. Of course you notice they only allow Alva Striplin to put up her campaign signs. She is also in their hip pockets. Time for a change!!!

  2. Hope, this lawsuit concerns violations of the WMD’s Environmental permit. The CoT has a separate permit which would be a story all itself.

    With that said, WMD’s permit was issued Jan 5, 2017 and construction of the large Pond#2 started shortly thereafter.

    Interestingly, WMD did not inspect its construction until December, 2017 even after CoT issued its Notice of Violation in October for the Pond being dug deeper than its permit allowed! However, CoT did not learn of this violation until I called them after witnessing massive digging for several days. Thus, CoT was lax in its inspection process.

    Moving forward, WMD did not perform any more inspections until I, again, expressed concerns over several days in July about a possible berm breech! They finally inspected the berm on Pond#2 the day before it breeches (it was recently learned through persistent WMD public records requests that there were actually TWO breeches and considerable more erosion than previously known). That’s when WMD finally started taking real notice, indicating they were unaware of the extent of construction that had already occurred.

    To its credit CoT had responded over several weeks to our same breech concerns with meetings and discussions with the appropriate parties of the Development but to no avail.

    Interestingly, CoT’s October NOV has not been resolved due to considerable foot dragging from the Developer, plus not referred as of a few weeks ago to the appropriate violations review board, although it had been discussed.

    Maybe, we as citizens will see more required inspections in the months ahead due to recent State lawsuits!

    1. Terry, thanks for the important info summary and for reporting all your observations and getting the authorities on this! Sounds like CoT and WMD both were slow to react to reports of extreme permit violations by the developer. Also sounds like CoT is still dragging it’s feet on this, as well as the developer. Perhaps CoT insiders that are possible recipients of large developer “contributions” are trying to minimize or quell negative actions for the developer? Well, at least the WMD is on the case and has filed a lawsuit. Florida doesn’t need any more “dig and dash” developers who leave city and county taxpayers to clean up their “purposeful violations”.
      Not to be picky, but a “breech” is the rear part of a cannon or gun barrel, while a “breach” is a break in a wall or barrier.

  3. Is the city giving preference to Developers who contribute massive contributions to the Insiders? Perhaps this developer should spend his money on engineers to deliver a better quality product. And perhaps the mayor should be concerned about this environmental nightmare. Steve is correct, why wasn’t this caught in the inspection phase in the city growth management Dept?

  4. Glad that folks are finally holding these developers to account. Most of the initial alarm bells were rung by Canopy’s Centerville Rd. neighbors – not the officials responsible for monitoring compliance with environmental & construction permit issues. Removing trees, meadows & natural paths for drainage is only part of the disaster being wrought in this development. I invite you to go out & see what is being built (& torn down) there. This development features irresponsible excavations, sub-par construction, crowded lots with insufficient space for parking. An ill-conceived, land use plan faces private homes into the entryways of apartments & sets a memory care facility in close proximity to commercial set-asides & more apartments.

  5. Everyone needs to step up their game and hold the Canopy Developer’s feet to the fire! I was extremely surprised and happy to see this lawsuit being brought by the NFWMD yesterday. The Canopy development has violated the rules since the inception of this project. I personally do NOT want to see more of this type of development ruin our beautiful canopy roads and mature neighborhoods. All of this standing, stagnant water is dangerous and unhealthy. Thank you to everyone involved for highlighting this issue.

  6. It’s very sad that these types of clearcut, stuffed-together, cookie-cutter housing developments are increasing here. Nothing against the folks who buy a home in one, but to me they look like scraped earth, devoid of all trees, with as many look-alike structures as close together as possible. The NFWMD is no little municipal regulatory office – if they’re angry enough to file a lawsuit, something seriously wrong must be going on. Perhaps the lawsuit’s phrase “sometimes purposeful violations” indicates just how serious the wrong is.

    Just a short lesson observed from Central FL, from which I’m a refugee: The more people and structures you jam onto the land and the more water you suck from the aquifer, the more huge sinkholes open up and start swallowing those cookie-cutter structures.

  7. Grant you, it is blatantly clear the construction company is in the wrong. However, it is the city’s responsibility to check to see if the permits are being followed. In this case, both parties are in the wrong.

  8. These developers and associated businesses have donated tons of money to Alva Striplin candidate for school board (Dist. 1). Why would they donate to her unless they are wanting something in return, like favorable school zoning. This is the same Alva Striplin (School Board Chair) that has stalled back payments of several teachers, in which district staff erred on leave time and wages. This issue started during the Pons Admin and other affected teachers have been paid but since it is election year, she has stalled the process for the remaining teachers. This is politically motivated since these teachers support her opponent. It is time for a change!

  9. Florida Governor wanna be Andrew Gillum began his political career with the water management district. Likely still has contacts there too.
    Canopy Development may yet face a third expensive lawsuit.
    Hey stuff like this can happen when a belligerent business like Canopy Development fails to use connected local “Usual Suspect” approved Attorneys, Architects, and Construction Companies. Why just think how smooth this project could have gone if Nancy Millers family business The Buss Construction Company had been hired along with The Honorable Esquire Sean Pittman’s Law Firm.
    You know I’m correct.

  10. They are far from conscientious. They have repeatedly violated the ordinances with wanton disregard for those of us living nearby. The flooding and subsequent mosquito swarms are just two problems we now live with.

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