Judge Rules That Pembroke Pines Within Rights To Block Prison







A Broward Judge has ruled that Pembroke Pines was within its rights to deny utility service as a way to block construction of a proposed federal immigrant detention center.

In a decision signed last week, Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips said that Pembroke Pines “does not have a duty to provide service to the (prison) site.”

Pembroke Pines had asked for a judge to determine whether it could legally deny water and sewer service to deter construction of the private facility by Corrections Corporation of America, owners of the land. The land is in Southwest Ranches, but abuts Pembroke Pines just east of U. S. 27 in western Broward.

The City Commission, dead set against a prison on its borders, voted two years ago to cancel any plans to supply water to the property.

Although not a party to the suit, Southwest Ranches has backed construction of the detention facility as a way to pump more tax dollars into the tiny community’s coffers.

The issue of a prison being built on the land now appears over and CCA presented no evidence in the case that indicated it still had plans to build on the property.   Unless the ruling is overturned by an appeals court, Pembroke Pines essentially has a say through its utilities service on what can be built on the land.

Phillips ruling can be seen in the link here.


6 Responses to “Judge Rules That Pembroke Pines Within Rights To Block Prison”

  1. Ha Ha Ha says:

    That’s assuming that PP would be providing the utilities. I found this part of the ruling especially interesting:

    Keith Poliakoff, Town Attorney for the Town of Southwest Ranches … stated that … it would be cost prohibitive for CCA to hook up to the City of Sunrise utility [The City of Sunrise provides utility services to that area of Southwest Ranches]. He also said that septic tanks are not an option on an industrial site. On cross examination, he was unable to quantify the amount which would be cost prohibitive, nor could he cite to any studies that had been performed.

  2. water supply says:

    I would have to agree that a utility is required to provide service to the property. As far as the total allocation of water supply the City of Pembroke Pines is owed, however, may be impacted. If this area was considered in the water supply element of the City’s comp plan (and therefore in the City’s consumptive use permit) their allocation may get decreased should the property owner choose to construct their own private water treatment plant. This may impact the ability to develop in Pembroke Pines in the future.

    My point being is that getting water from Pines was the easy/cheap way out, but it wasn’t the only option. There would be repercussions to Pines if the developer chose another path, but that didn’t preclude the developer from going in the other route…

  3. Lawyer says:

    Looks like a reversal on appeal to me.

  4. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    It was a strong, well reasoned and clearly worded decision supporting the conclusion that Pembroke Pines owed nothing to this parcel which is not located in our city.

    It should also form the basis for a case study for why cherry picking of parcels should never be allowed when communities choose to incorporate.

    Actually there’s a law against cherry picking, but in this instance the law was tossed to the wind.


  5. Well Said says:

    Well Said Commissioner Castillo

  6. ConcernedCitizen says:

    Thank you Buddy for covering the case outcome. I guess that email wasn’t a smoking gun afterall? I wonder who had told you that? Maybe your source had an agenda to get an article on your site??

    Maybe Commissioner Castillo should get a pat on the back now that this decision has come down. No one really knew for sure what the City’s rights were and the elected officials were constantly being lobbied by the Town Atty and CCA Atty left and right to push for their prison. Their only course of action was to get a judge to decide so they handled it according to the letter of the law.

    I agree with Commissioner Castillo. This decision was definitely well laid out by Judge Phillips. We are all looking forward to her decision on the next case from Southwest Ranches. CCA will probably appeal, but why would you expect them not to? They have BILLIONS of OUR tax dollars at their disposal! They could care less about our community. Just another reason to keep them out of it!

    If you’re interested in the amount of money the Town of Southwest Ranches has spent on these frivolous pursuits (as you were about Pembroke Pines), you should ask for their attorney’s bills. I guarantee you they are paying MUCH MORE per capita than Pembroke Pines. I hear the Town is even going so far as to hire a lobbyist though the lawfirm of Arnstein & Lehr and billing the town back. The amount is over the spending limit of the Town Manager and Town Atty but they never had the council vote on it.

    You’ve had plenty to say against the Pembroke Pines Commissioner’s vote to protect the thousands living in West Broward and thousands of petition signers, but nothing about the Town’s frivolous lawsuits that they had to vote for AFTER they were filed at the courts and had shade sessions.

    ???Where is the outrage on those issues Buddy???

    CCA lies about EVERYTHING they do. They falsified timecards at an Idaho and are now under investigation by the FBI. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/apnewsbreak-fbi-investigates-prison-company-cca
    Does this sound like a good business partner to have build ANYTHING near your community?
    Didn’t think so….