By Jane Smith
The Atlantic Crossing developers amended their lawsuit against Delray Beach to focus more on the current commission members and their actions, according to the updated complaint filed Nov. 20 in federal court for the Southern District of Florida.
The complaint alleges that the mayor, vice mayor and a new commission member elected in March had all campaigned on promises to oppose the Atlantic Crossing project.
“This new legislative majority (the ‘New Commission’) has pursued a de facto policy to obstruct the Atlantic Crossing project by any means,” according to the amended complaint.
The lawsuit lists the obstruction tactics as: demanding a two-way internal road, asking for two alleys to be returned, refusing to certify Atlantic Crossing’s site plan, requiring an updated traffic study and refusing to give the project plat approval. The developers claim they have suffered in excess of $25 million in construction losses.
“The city is reviewing it and will file a response in the time allowed,” City Attorney Noel Pfeffer said on Nov. 24.
The Florida Coalition for Preservation was more pointed in its response to the amended complaint. In a lengthy response sent Nov. 30 to the city commissioners and city attorney, Robert W. Ganger, Coalition chairman wrote:
“Most of all, we take exception to the rewriting of local history and allegations of improper behavior on the part of city officials, by a team of apparently desperate attorneys who are either misinformed, or purposely engaged in a ‘client cover-up’ action.” Ganger said he hoped his response would reach outside counsel.
The proposed $200 million Atlantic Crossing sits on 9.2 acres at the northeast corner of Federal Highway and East Atlantic Avenue in the city’s downtown. The project, developed by a partnership between Ohio-based Edwards Companies and Ocean Ridge resident Carl DeSantis, will contain 356 luxury condos and apartments plus 80,000 square feet of restaurants and shops and 79,000 square feet of office space.
The developers sued the city in June claiming the city has not issued a site-plan certification that was approved in November 2013 and affirmed by a previous city commission in January 2014.
The lawsuit has a May 2016 trial date in federal court in West Palm Beach with Judge Donald Middlebrook presiding. It also was assigned a federal magistrate who can help arrange settlement or mediation discussions.
A pre-trial conference is set for May 25. Ú
By Jane Smith