Developer files claim against Oak Harbor

Partners who built a development that includes the new Island Drug store have filed a $499,000 claim for damages against the city of Oak Harbor.

Dry Lake Land Stewardship, LLC, alleges in a Nov. 18 claim that city staff misapplied state and city laws, resulting in a delay of the project and the alleged damages.

The claim documents identify Oak Harbor residents Chris Anderson and Aaron Syring, owner of Island Drug, as members of Dry Lake Land Stewardship.

In a phone interview, Anderson said the main obstacle in the development was that city staff members refused to recognize the company’s purchase of a portion of a lot from Kenneth Manni in 2006.

“We definitely had quite a time with the city,” he said. “The bright side is, we got our project done.”

The 91-page claim for damages states that the company sustained damages from holding costs from the delay, lost opportunity costs, legal costs, additional expenses from winter construction and engineering fees.

Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley defended city staff, saying the document trail clearly shows that the company was the cause of the delay.

In an Oct. 31 letter that city Development Director Steve Powers wrote to Dry Lake Land Stewardship, he puts the blame squarely on the developers and accuses them of attempting “to pressure the City to prematurely issue a ‘Notice of Decision’ and building permits.”

Powers points to “a cloud on title” and errors in the developers’ documents. He also said in the letter that documents “clearly demonstrate that any delays and difficulties associated with your development were not a function of the City code or development process, but rather, the illegal segregation and sale of a portion of the Manni Lot … and the drafting of documents which were riddled with mistakes.”

Island Drug, a longtime Oak Harbor business, opened in the new building this past spring.

Dudley said the claim for damages was sent to the city’s insurance provider.

Anderson said he will wait to see the city’s response before deciding whether to follow up the claim with a lawsuit.


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