By Jane Smith
Attorneys for Delray Beach responded to an Atlantic Crossing lawsuit with a motion to dismiss on Aug. 18.
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.
In the city’s August motion, Delray Beach contends that the developers’ claims “are an untimely and improper collateral attack on a City Commission approved development order” that can be challenged only through a special petition filed within 30 days of the order.
The motion also points out that the lawsuit should be dismissed for failure to state a cause of action because the development order was not attached or made part of the lawsuit.
The city also says it should be dismissed because the developers have not submitted a recorded plat for the project.
The proposed $200 million development sits on 9.2 acres of East Atlantic Avenue in the city’s downtown. The project, developed by a partnership between Ohio-based Edwards Companies and local 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.
“We look forward to the court’s resolution, as we are confident that the city’s motion to dismiss will not be successful,” said Don DeVere, vice president of mixed use for the Edwards Companies.
“The reality is that this $200 million project — with its hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues — has been stonewalled every step of the way. According to the city, we can’t get the approved site plan certified without first getting plat approval. Yet the city has repeatedly refused to put us on the schedule to finalize the plat.”
He also said, “With regard to the city’s desire for an east-west road, the first step is to get our site plan certified. Then, if the city can assure a timely approval process, we remain open to modifying the plan.”
The Delray Beach City Attorney scheduled a closed “shade meeting” with city commissioners on Sept. 3 to discuss settlement options.
In other action on Atlantic Crossing, city commissioners held a special meeting at 4 p.m. Aug. 26 to approve having their city manager send a “request for reconveyance” that would ask for the two alleys given to the project on Feb. 24, 2009 under a previous development order.
The deadline was buried in an Aug. 21 letter to the city’s Planning and Zoning Director about the delay in plat approval sent by Atlantic Crossing’s planner. The letter claimed the project was ready for plat approval since Nov. 20, 2013, when its latest site plan was approved. The Aug. 26 commission meeting lasted under 10 minutes because the city needed to respond by 4:30 p.m. that day to meet the five-day limit for such a request. The motion passed 4-0 with Commissioner Jordana Jarjura absent.
By Jane Smith