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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38088
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I live in Florida. Last February I applied for a City permit

Resolved Question:

I live in Florida. Last February I applied for a City permit to open a retail store that specialized in Electric Pedal Assist Bicycles. The permit specifically stated electric pedal assist bicycles and electric pedal assist bicycles for use on a specific bicycle trail located 10 feet away from my store door. A local business man lodged a campaign and formal complaint regarding the use of electric pedal assist bicycles on the trail. My customers were told they could not use the bikes on the trail and I could not do the rental bikes on the trail. This occurred in a small town full of "good old boy" mentality. I had the City Planner, the Mayor and the County Commissioner in my store and they said I had theri blessing but they would not put anything in writing. I had to close my store and lost future income and about $100,000. Can I hold the City liable for my damages?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

My apologies but I do not quite see how the city would be liable in this instance. The city has the right to police its' own businesses and provide licenses or revoke them if necessary. Since there was public outcry, the city it appears chose to go with the protesters. Because the city had discretion in this matter, I do not see them as liable unless you can show that they revoked your license on grounds other than what you have so far stated, for example without due process or based on discriminatory intent. If anything you could possibly have a defamation claim here against the local business man who started this whole process against you, but I do not quite see liability on part of the city, at least nothing outright actionable if brought up in court.

I am sorry.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

When I met the landlord to rent the space the City Economic Development Manager was their and gave the blessing as well as thought the business was an excellent choice for the City and then they turned their back. She said she was running a ad to rent the space which is run by a "Foundation".


 


Is the City allowed to run ads for a private building, participate in the rental of that building and then turn their back on the renter? I see what you are saying and yet the City is connected somehow to the actual rental of this building. The small town mentality was like a bait and switch...

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow-up, Debbie.

The city is not barred from engaging in private enterprise. The city would only be barred if the town charter or the local bylaws would forbid such behavior. If a building is city owned, the city can rent it out if they wish. The governmental bodies tend to avoid private enterprise simply because private individuals tend to run businesses more profitably, but there is no law the forbids the city from being in this industry so lng as their own charter does not forbid it. Plus, and I am sorry to say this, until their agreement is in writing, oral assurances of any kind are not actionable. Their defense could simply be that they are negotiating and are interested but have not yet settled on all terms, which would not yet make it a binding agreement. So in that sense they could run ads, get involved, and then refuse to pursue it further. It does sound dirty, no doubt about it, but their refusal to grant you a license is not quite actionable other than via an appeal through their licensing division and then a potential suit via the courts to reverse their denial if not done for good cause. That, however, is a not a suit for damages--it would only potentially compel the city to issue the license and permit you to run the business, it would not give you the right to sue for damages.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I followed most of what you said except toward the end there (in your reply "refusal to grant you a license" Smiletitle="Smile"/>).


 


The City did issue me a permit. I formed the business at the time of applying for the permit and they issued it saying it was okay to do the entire business all to have them then not support my business AFTER it was up an running...


 


 

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Debbie,

Then perhaps we are somewhat miscommunicating. Sorry :) What exactly do you mean by 'supporting' the business? Did you expect some sort of a city agreement as part of you starting out? Or did they yank the permit?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks :) They did not pull the permit they basically did nothing I could no longer use the trail for my business nor could my customers so no one would buy any of my bikes nor could I rent any out... I could no longer do the business that they issued me a permit to do. Long and the short was that they issued me a permit for something I could not legally do.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Debbie,

The city is not required to make it easy for you to perform your work. If the citizens complained and the city had to stop the use of the trail, then you as an interested party could counter-sue and request that the trail be re-opened. But that wasn't instigated by the city, they did not violate your rights or the rights of your business, and therefore I do not see it as something that would be actionable against them. The city did not take an 'overt act' against you, they simply listened to their constituents to your detriment.

I am sorry.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I just seems to me that the City allowed me to go ahead and do a business that I wasn't allowed to do so why did they give me a permit in the first place?... It wasn't about making my "job easy" it was about me being allowed to do the job in the first place... so I guess a City can hand out permits all day long with no responsibility just hand them out on a whim and let the business owner take the fall?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Debbie,

Just because the city gave you a permit does not mean they cannot regulate other activity. The city can indeed hand out permits and let businesses take the fall. For example if the state outlaws gasoline (silly example but easy to follow), whatever gas station is in the city will go out of business--but it will not be the city's fault to provide that station's lost profits. In 'dry counties' where the city outlaws liquor sales, they did not have to pay those bars or stores for loss in revenue.

I am sorry.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I see... hmmm... seems criminal... Thank you for your assistance I will further ponder your comments... Have a great night! :)

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You are most welcome, Debbie, and good luck to you!

If you found my information to be useful, please do not forget to positively rate my answers to you so that I may obtain credit for my work. Thank you!

Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38088
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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