DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — The Destin Fishing Fleet Inc. sued the City of Destin for allegations of violating the Bert J. Harris Act Private Property Act, which allows for compensation if government regulations diminish the value of the private property. DFF was seeking $15 million dollars in the case.

In a nearly five-year legal battle, the Court ruled on Jan. 31, 2023, that the City of Destin did not violate the Harris Act.

DFF’s 3.2-acre plot of land at 210 Harbor Blvd contains a marina, an office building and Brotula’s Seafood Hosue and Steamer. DFF claimed the City violated its rights when the City Council passed the Comprehensive Plan Amendment in 2018, limiting the height of buildings in the city to six stories or less.

The lawsuit sparked from a building proposal in 2009 when DFF applied to build a 16-story building to contain mostly hotel rooms. City Council denied the plan.

Comprehensive plan amendments passed in 2010 and 2015 then limited hotel accommodations for all buildings in City limits, making DFF’s proposal out of the question. DFF did not apply again for development following the 2010 and 2015 changes.

DFF claimed the height restriction approved under the 2018 amendments caused the lot to lose property value and filed the lawsuit.

The Court ruling states the City of Destin prevailed on all accounts and that the City did not violate the Harris Act or cause an “inordinate burden or precluded the [Fleet] from attaining ‘any reasonable, investment-backed expectation’ on the property.”

The Court found that Destin is now entitled to its costs and attorneys’ fees and may seek an award of those costs and fees against DFF.

DFF has 30 days to appeal the Court’s decision. DFF is the only group to sue the City under the Bert J. Harris Private Property Act.

The City released Wednesday that the Court ruling is being considered a landmark case.

WKRG News 5 has reached out to the DFF representative for a reaction to the ruling and has not heard back.