Railroad Property

Venice, FL: (Jan-13-08) Owners of about 600 properties that underlie the Legacy Trail, the former Seminole Gulf Railroad line, brought a class action lawsuit against the state, alleging that their properties lost value as a result of the railroad. Sources stated that enactment in 1983 of the federal Rails-to-Trails Act created a way to convert unused railroad corridors into public recreational trails. It enabled Sarasota County to buy the 12.5 mile line that has become Legacy Trail. Under federal law, once a railroad goes out of business, it no longer can use the land under its rails. Property owners claimed that the property never belonged to the railroad, and that it was merely granted as an easement for the express purpose of operating a railroad.

Records show that 12 property owners and the Mission Estates Homeowners' Association, their clients, succeeded the original property owners, who in 1910 granted rights of way to Seaboard. Officials close to the case claimed that the long standing dispute was resolved after the state agreed to pay out an estimated $40 million to resolve the class action lawsuit. [VENICE GONDOLIER: RAILROAD PROPERTY]

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Last updated July 24 2008

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