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Captiva Civic Association is suing Lee County over violating a settlement agreement both sides reached in 1973 over the number of units allowed at South Seas Resort. 

When the county commissioners voted Sept. 5, 2023, to amend its Land Development Code, it violated a prior agreement, the lawsuit contends. 

The number of units at South Seas had been capped at 912. 

“The relevant amendments … also specifically exempt South Seas Island Resort from the hotel room density limits that would continue to apply to other properties and resorts on Captiva,” the lawsuit states. 

Since Dec. 6, 2023, when commissioners voted to adopt the amended land codes, South Seas announced it would seek to boost density from 912 to 1,347 units, records show. 

This would boost South Seas’ density by 48%. 

“The court enters an order (a) declaring that the settlement agreement bars the county from issuing any building permits that would exceed the 912-unit density limit that included hotel rooms on South Seas and (b) awarding such further and additional relief as this court deems appropriate,” the lawsuit concluded. 

Lee County declined to comment, as the county attorney has yet to be served with the lawsuit, Lee County Communications Director Betsy Clayton said. 

Attorney Michael Whitt of Hahn Loeser & Parks in Fort Myers filed the lawsuit April 2 on behalf of CCA and could not be reached for comment. 

Representatives from South Seas ownership group also could not be reached for comment. 

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