Boca Raton: Environmental board will review second beachfront proposal

By Steve Plunkett

Hot on the heels of its January recommendation not to grant permission to build a duplex on the beach, the city’s Environmental Advisory Board this month will consider an application to build an equally controversial mini-mansion two lots south.

The City Council caused a public outcry in late 2015 when it approved a zoning variance for the proposed four-story home at 2500 N. Ocean Blvd. The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a notice to proceed, certifying that the project would not “weaken, damage or destroy the integrity of the beach and dune system.”

The EAB review is the last step before a final council vote. The environmental board will meet at 5:30 p.m. April 10 in the council chambers at City Hall. Plans call for a single-family structure with 10,432 square feet of habitable space.

The EAB recommended Jan. 10 that a variance to build a four-story duplex east of the Coastal Construction Control Line at 2600 N. Ocean be denied.

“Environmentally the Coastal Control Line is there for a reason, and it was put there for a good reason,” advisory board Chairman Stephen Alley said then.

Robert Sweetapple, the attorney for the applicant at 2600, asked the Palm Beach County Circuit Court on March 28 to grant a “writ of certiorari” and review the EAB and City Council’s decision and proceedings and determine whether any irregularities occurred.

Seeking such a writ is a prelude to filing a Bert Harris Act lawsuit for damages resulting from a government taking of private property. Sweetapple said a recent appraisal indirectly requested by Boca Raton valued 2600 N. Ocean at $7.2 million when developed. 

Separately, Sweetapple asked a judge March 15 to order Boca Raton to turn over social media postings, cellphone texts and emails from and to City Council members and EAB members he said the city has unlawfully withheld. Ú

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