Yesterday, in the legal matter of Yacht Club by Luxom, LLC (Luxcom) vs. Village of Palmetto Bay Council, et al., the Village of Palmetto Bay prevailed when the Third District Court of Appeal upheld the Village Council's action to zone the Luxcom property as E-1.
The Luxcom property refers to the former site of the FPL power plant in Palmetto Bay. The waterfront site is approximately 70 acres in size, located off SW 67th Avenue and SW 152nd Street. FPL decommissioned the site and sold the property to Luxcom. Shortly thereafter, Luxcom filed suit against the Village challenging a zoning law enacted in 2019 which zoned the property to E-1, which allows for the development of one unit per acre.
Palmetto Bay has been in litigation regarding the zoning matter for the past two years. The Village has already prevailed in two lower court decisions which ruled against Luxcom's quest to overturn the Village Council's zoning decision in its capacity as the Zoning Board.
In this latest case, Luxcom sought review of the circuit court appellate division's order alleging that the Council's action was a "departure from the essential requirements of law and a violation of due process based on the Village Council's approval of Ordinance No. 2019-18, which amended the zoning designation" for Luxcom. According to the opinion filed in court yesterday, "Because the circuit court afforded the procedural due process and applied the correct law, we deny the petition."
Village Attorney John Dellagloria clarified that, "the decision in this case, which only challenged the zoning designation itself, is just one of the three cases filed by Luxcom." However, this last victory will serve as the foundation for the court's decision concerning the next and main legal case, which deals with the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act (Bert J. Harris Act). This Florida law provides a specific process for landowners to seek relief when their property is unfairly affected by government action. Essentially, the Bert J. Harris Act provides a civil cause of action for private property owners whose current use or vested right in a specific use of real property is inordinately burdened by the actions of a governmental entity. As Village Attorney Dellagloria explains concerning the impact of this latest legal determination on the pending Bert Harris lawsuit, "in the main case, the Bert Harris lawsuit claiming $21 million in damages, this decision will be the basis for the Village's ultimately prevailing in that action."
At a Special Council Meeting held on September 9, 2020, Luxcom proposed building 177 units along with a marina and other amenities, which is well above the number of units allowed under the E-1 zoning designation of no more than 71. Since then, Luxcom has been contesting the property's zoning classification through litigation.
The appellate court's decision puts the Village closer to a final resolution on the Luxcom matter. Mayor Cunningham expressed her gratitude to the legal team who worked on the case and offered this statement to the residents, "This is another victory in the fight to protect and preserve the quality of life for Palmetto Bay residents. My colleagues on the Council and I will continue to challenge any efforts to diminish that in any kind of way."
We would like to thank and congratulate attorney Claudio Riedi who successfully represented the Village in this matter. Thank you for your time and service to our residents!