The developer of a rejected high-rise in downtown sued the city this week, asking the courts to overturn the denial.
Fort Lauderdale city commissioners Alexan-Tarpon River tower in August. The high-rise attracted controversy from residents around it, for its height and concerns about how traffic would reach the somewhat isolated property.
Edgewood House Condominium Association filed three separate but similar lawsuits this week in Broward circuit court, attempting to have the city’s rejection nullified and to have the Alexan approved.
The denial, by a 3-2 vote, “has no basis in law or fact—it was purely the result of political pressure,”
Voting to reject the project were Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioners Steve Glassman and Ben Sorensen. Voting not to reject it were Commissioners Heather Moraitis and Robert McKinzie.
The trio rejecting the tower had been elected in the spring, after campaigning against perceived overdevelopment.
The tower was one of the first tests of the City Commission after the elections.
Earlier in the year, Trantalis had with the developer, hashed out during an impromptu break in a city meeting.
But developer Jim Berardinelli of Trammell Crow Residential Co. ultimately reversed course and pulled his offer to shorten the tower to 14 stories and reduce the units to 120.
In the lawsuits, the developer argues that the project was approved by city staff in April, and city commissioners failed to identify what development rules or codes the tower would violate.
“Because the project complies with all governing regulations, the Commission cannot refuse to approve the application simply because it dislikes it,” one of the court actions says.
The tower was proposed on the riverfront just west of the U.S. 1 tunnel, on the south side of the New River. Traffic to and from the tower would have to use an access road atop the tunnel.
Currently at the property is the three-story, 30-unit Edgewood Condo.
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