By Jane Smith

Delray Beach won in appellate court the ability to keep its downtown height cap at three stories.
“It’s a big win for the city,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said Feb. 16, the same day the ruling was announced. The appeals court ruled that the city could limit its height to three stories in part of its downtown.
Property owner Billy Himmelrich and his business partner had sued the city in May 2018, claiming they were not informed in writing about the zoning change, as the Bert Harris Act requires. The Harris Act protects individual property rights.
In February 2015, following 18 months of meetings, the City Commission placed a three-story height limit in its downtown.
Residents wanted to preserve the small-town look of East Atlantic Avenue, between Swinton Avenue and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Himmelrich, though, did speak at the zoning hearings before the cap was placed in early 2015.
He could not be reached for comment following the court ruling.
He and his partner own two parking lots and two buildings, just east of the Old School Square grounds.
They sought $6.9 million in damages.
They wanted to build a four-story hotel, but they did not submit formal plans.
They lost at the circuit court level because their plans were not formalized and then appealed that loss to the Fourth District Court of Appeal in May 2019.

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