10861042661?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Jane Smith

A rejected Federal Highway rezoning for an auto dealership near Gulf Stream’s Place Au Soleil community came back before the Delray Beach City Commission on Oct. 25, after the property owner filed a legal complaint seeking a rehearing.
Commissioners agreed to rehear the case, which is now scheduled to be decided at a final public hearing Nov. 15.
Property owner John Staluppi Jr.’s attorney, Beth-Ann Krimsky, was not allowed to cross-examine people who spoke at the original Aug. 16 hearing, where commissioners voted 3-2 against the rezoning request.
Staluppi challenged the decision in court, saying the public hearing should have been a “quasi-judicial” one that allowed for cross examination. City Attorney Lynn Gelin admitted to commissioners she made a mistake.
Gelin had advised commissioners in August that the rezoning hearing could be “legislative,” which does not allow for such cross examination.
“You did nothing wrong,” Gelin said. “I fall on the sword.”
Commissioners decided not to wait for a judge to rule on the issue, which likely would have resulted in an order for a rehearing anyway.
At the Oct. 25 quasi-judicial hearing, speakers were sworn in by the city clerk. Only two people testified. Neither one lives in Delray Beach.
Trey Nazzaro, Gulf Stream’s assistant town manager and in-house attorney, said the 4.4 acres of parcels to be rezoned were only 220 feet deep between North Federal Highway and the homes in Place Au Soleil. The Gunther dealerships that sit south of the site are double the size, Nazzaro said, and have a 35-foot buffer.
“Only four auto dealerships abut residential properties in Delray Beach,” he said. “Most are separated by a road.”
He was then cross-examined by Krimsky, a partner in the Greenspoon Marder law firm in Fort Lauderdale.
Krimsky asked Nazzaro whether he was aware of any challenge by Gulf Stream to the Delray Beach comprehensive plan passed in February 2020, which designated the parcels as possible places for new car dealerships. He said no.
She also asked if Gulf Stream commissioners had voted on his appearance before Delray Beach on this issue. The commissioners did not take a formal vote, but they knew he would be coming to speak against the rezoning, Nazzaro said.
The second speaker, Gulf Stream resident Shana Ostrovitz, objected to expected noise from the constant use of key fobs, alarms, industrial-grade power tools and garage doors opening and closing. Her backyard abuts the proposed Hyundai dealership.
“The lights from the dealership would be so bright that it will feel like daytime all of the time,” she said.
Krimsky asked Ostrovitz if prior to buying her home in May 2021 she had reviewed Delray Beach’s long-term plan to see what was proposed for those North Federal properties. Ostrovitz said no.
The commission moved the rezoning request on to a second reading and public hearing Nov. 15, where presentations will be allowed from city staff and the property owner. To save time, commissioners decided earlier this year that they did not want such presentations during a request’s first reading.

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