Waterview Towers Part 3

The city of West Palm Beach continues to cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees due to the continual lawsuits filed on behalf of homeowners.

This story is an update on the recent lawsuit filed in behalf of the Waterview Towers.

Petitioner: Waterview Tower
Respondent: City of West Palm Beach
Writ of Certiorari: A decision by a court to hear an appeal from a lower court.

On October 9,2015 the 15th Judicial Circuit Court issued an Administrative Order in relation to the Petitioner’s “Petition for Writ of Certiorari” from City Commissioners for the city of West Palm Beach. Their petition sought to review the City’s approval and development orders related to the proposed hotel being built next-door.

The three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled unanimously in favor of the Waterview that the city departed from the essential requirements of the law by denying the petitioner procedural due process by depriving them of a meaningful opportunity to more fully participate in the approval process of the development orders.

The court released a 9 page ruling which served to strengthen Waterview Towers other lawsuits against the city, with another new lawsuit to be added this month.

The court issued an Administrative Order stating “As a result of the amended lease, and subsequent official acts, West Palm Beach Marina, the Developer and Petitioner’s are co-lessees of the entire parcel”

The court also issued a legal conclusion stating:
“We conclude the Petitioners likewise should have been permitted to participate as”parties” to the quasi- judicial zoning proceeding below as a result of their property interest in the parcel,including the vacant sub-parcel. Indeed, contrary to the Respondents argument. Petitioners here are more than mere “adjoining landowners” or “interested participants.” Instead they have an active property interest in the parcel of land which is a result of their status as co-lessees.”

The court also made the legal conclusion “We find this process afforded to the Petitioners was insufficient, and thus procedural due process requires that they be given the opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses in support of the project before the vote of the City Commission.”
“Accordingly, the petition for Writ of Certiorari is Granted and the Development Orders are Quashed .”

Oct.13,2015 I attended the City Commission meeting where two items, number 19 & 20 were discussed,and Waterview Towers has an interest in both items.

#19: Public Hearing and Second Reading of Ordinance number 4594-15: Regarding a request by Sam E. Poole of Berger Singerman, on behalf of Leisure Resorts, LLC, to amend various sections of the Zoning and Land Development Regulations to permit the Commercial Marina use within the City Center Lakefront Zoning district.

#20:Public Hearing and Second Reading of Ordinance 4595-15. A request by Sam E. Poole of Berger Singerman, on behalf of Leisure Resorts, LLC, to amend Table XV-6 “City-wide Parking Requirements” in section 94-486 of the Zoning and Land Development Regulations relating to the parking requirements for Commercial Marina’s.

The magic word in both Ordinance’s is amend. Webster’s dictionary defines amend as “To change some of the words and often the meaning of (a law, document, etc.”

The Director of Development Services Dept; Rick Greene, (not to be confused with City Administrator Jeff Green) never met a developer he didn’t like, and once again proved it by stating “Staff Recommended Motion” “Approve” and just like that the City Commissioner approved both Ordinance’s.

I question why when the Waterview’s Attorney John Eubanks brought to the City Commission facts that may not have been known to them, why they didn’t take the time to allow the Commission attorney, which they placed $10,000.00 in the city budget, for an opinion that may have differed from recently appointed City Attorney Kimberly Rothenburg.
Let’s keep in mind she worked and trained under retired City Attorney Claudia McKenna, who in my opinion was the queen of lawsuits.

Commissioner James did ask Ms. Rothenburg if she was confident in her answer’s, and she responded “yes.” What was she going to say, I’m not sure. The court issued it’s finding on 10/9/15 and the City Commission meeting was held 4 day’s later. Mayor Muoio and City Attorney knew of the courts decision. Did either of them advise the commissioners, if not why?

How would you like to be a resident of Waterview Towers and support a lawsuit in an attempt to receive justice from the city, and realize the taxes you pay the city are supporting the city’s opinion which the court’s continue to find in favor of the Waterview.

In the audience was the attorney for Waterview Towers and Mr. Jerry Waldman, President, of the Board of Directors. Both spoke on the issue to no avail, and the motion passed, but without the help of City Commissioner Paula Ryan.
Commissioner Ryan recused herself from the vote as she stated she missed the presentation and wasn’t familiar with this particular issue.

Commissioner Ryan dismissed the “Staff Recommends” and instead choose to study the matter further to insure she understood what she was voting for or against. What a concept.

Why didn’t the remainder of the commissioners postpone the vote in order to study both items and confer with their attorney? I don’t expect an answer, and neither should you.