Request to continue booking weddings denied again
February 6, 2019
KEY LARGO — For the second time since December, a commercial wedding venue operating in a residential neighborhood has had a judge deny its request to continue booking weddings beyond its court-ordered shutdown date later this year.
Thurmond Street Partners, owners of Key Largo Lighthouse Beach Weddings, sought relief during the appeal process from a final order handed down from a special magistrate judge to cease all wedding activity by Sept. 1.
“The use of the property for a wedding event by any person who executed a rental agreement for the property after the date of this order will be deemed a flagrant violation, irreparable and irreversible in nature, subject to a one-time fine in the maximum amount of $15,000 for each such use,” Special Magistrate Judge John Van Laningham’s final order states.
Thurmond Street Partners argued that there was a “substantial likelihood that the reviewing court will overturn the final order on appeal,” in a request to Van Laningham to continue booking weddings, which he denied.
The venue then sought relief from the Monroe County Circuit Court’s Appellate Division, filing a motion to stay the final order, which was denied last week.
Monroe County Circuit Judge Timothy J. Koenig found that the special magistrate did not abuse his authority in preventing the venue from booking new weddings and that the alleged loss of business does not support a finding of irreparable injury.
Van Laninham’s final order directed Thurmond Street Partners to provide Monroe County with a schedule of booked weddings, which it did in court-filed paperwork as “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit B.”
“Exhibit B” lists weddings to take place at 98990 Overseas Highway, with November 2019 as the next booked wedding. “Exhibit A” lists the weddings to take place at the adjoining parcel at 2 Thurmond Street, with the next one in September.
The documents show no record of events in January and no updated listing has been submitted, according to the county attorney’s office.
Nearby homeowners, however, allege that the venue has hosted weddings in January despite not documenting them. A simple social media query shows apparent weddings in January.
A county attorney said if such activity is occurring, the county would likely seek relief.
The 2 Thurmond Street property is currently listed for sale for $2,830,000 while the 98990 Overseas Highway property is listed at $3,178,100.