By Steve Plunkett
Appeals judges have denied a request from Boca Raton to review a ruling that the City Council must hold another vote -— minus two prejudiced members -— on whether to allow a duplex to be built on the beach.
The three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal on Aug. 18 also denied the city's request to hear oral arguments in the case.
The dispute centers on a Feb. 26, 2019, council decision not to allow construction of 2600 N Ocean LLC's proposed four-story, 14,270-square-foot residence east of A1A between Spanish River Park and Ocean Strand.
In a Sept. 16, 2020, ruling, Circuit Judges Jaimie Goodman, Janis Keyser and G. Joseph Curley said emails to residents from council members Andrea O’Rourke and Monica Mayotte — saying they had “no intention of granting [the application]” and “[would] do all I can to prevent this from happening” — showed they were not impartial.
“This was more than mere political bias or an adverse political philosophy — it was express prejudgment of Petitioner’s application,” the circuit judges said.
Their ruling said the landowner “is entitled to a new hearing without the participation” of Mayotte and O’Rourke, who has since become deputy mayor. That would leave Mayor Scott Singer and council members Yvette Drucker and Andy Thomson to rehear the application.
The city appealed the circuit judges' decision to the 4th DCA on Nov. 18 and 20, 2020.
Each side of the proposed duplex's roof would have a pool, spa, fire pit and outdoor kitchen. The building would have special glass facing the ocean that would transmit only 10 percent of interior light, below the city’s request for 15 percent, and have only 8 percent reflectivity.
Lighting is a concern for nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.