This press release regarding legal action against the City for the approval process of 1112 S. Flagler Dr. just showed up in my inbox.
If you need to catch up on the background on this project see the following:
- Most recent renderings of the Project (that I’ve seen)
- My write-up on the development
- Project Website
Citizens for Thoughtful Growth – West Palm Beach, Inc. (“CTG”) announces it will fight for the Chapel on the Lake. It has hired Robert D. Critton, Jr. of Critton, Luttier & Coleman, LLP and Frederik W. van Vonno of Fox, Wackeen, Dungey, Beard, Bush, Goldman, Kilbride, Waters & McCluskey, LLP who have filed legal challenges to the City’s approval of the condominium project on the site of the Chapel on the Lake through the appellate process, a Petition for Certiorari and in the circuit court, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief through a full review of the facts and process. There are three grounds underlying this legal challenge:
1. The City’s action violates its own Comprehensive Plan as well as the Florida Statute Chapter 163. The City has no authority to grant waivers of the zoning code and the Comprehensive Plan standards, particularly on lots less than 10 acres. Because the Code contains no limits on the degree or number of waivers that can be given, the City essentially has unbridled discretion. This is unconstitutional. Also, the Chapel property is in the transition zone between downtown and the historic communities. This massive structure is simply inappropriate and violates the goals, objectives and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.
2. Promises and representations were made when the property was acquired from the State and permits were obtained to fill the land. The land was never to be sold, never to be developed, and was to remain a sanctuary and a place of worship, open to the entire public in perpetuity. It is surrounded by community service properties. Trianon is a non-conforming use and structure—not the standard for the neighborhood. There are no changed conditions which justify the change in the land use designation and zoning. This is tantamount to illegal spot zoning.
3. The City’s manner of doing business violates due process. This project was changed dramatically, but the plans and the justification statements were not made public until a few days before the hearing. Such “behind the scene deals” have no business in our City. This is not the way we expect or want our leaders to act.
What the City Commissioners approved will have far reaching and permanent consequences. This project and the approach taken by the City of West Palm Beach will have a dramatic impact on the re-development of Flagler Drive, both north and south of downtown. This will change the skyline and the cityscape, and will forever alter Flagler Drive.
If the City continues ignoring zoning laws and the existing Comprehensive Plan in the Flagler Drive area– it can happen anywhere. The zoning laws and Comprehensive Plan were adopted and put in place to objectively prevent that which has and will continue to occur– subjective criteria, good ole boy/girl network, and ask for 200 – 300% of what the developer’s goal is, and the developer will then achieve its original goal. The Developers can “high five” and City can claim it acted responsibly and for the benefit of its citizens by reducing the intensity, size and mass of the project.
CTG needs your help and support. We need contributions to help fund this litigation and carry the fight forward. As to citizens who are directly affected by this specific project, we need your help in different ways. Please contact our president, Nancy Pullum at 561-833-2565 or e-mail CTGWPB@aol.com We will be back in touch. As to all, we need your immediately financial help. Donations can be sent to: CTG – P.O. Box 3281 West Palm Beach, Fl. 33402