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Breaking news: City votes down beach house but lawyer says he’ll sue

Council voted down a house on the beach Tuesday after hearing both sides. Now the property owner’s lawyer says he’ll appeal to the court and sue the city.

Residents packed council chambers and watched on monitors when the final vote came after 9 p.m.  All five council members voted against allowing a proposed duplex at 2600 N. Ocean Blvd.

The owner wanted city council to approve a variance from the Coastal Construction Control Line that regulates construction seaward. But the council said the proposed four-story building didn’t meet all six criteria. At stake were environmental issues on the ocean including sea turtle nesting, lighting, and dunes.

Afterward, lawyer Robert Sweetapple said his next step is appealing to the court within 30 days. He also plans to sue the city under the Bert Harris property owner’s act.  “They’ve been paying taxes for 70 years,” Sweetapple said. They won’t stop until they win the case or the city buys the property, he added.

Sweetapple tried but failed to recuse three council members who campaigned against beach construction. He poked holes in the city’s experts and provided his own.  Seventeen residents spoke and urged city council to preserve the beach and turn down any construction there.

“Don’t succumb, even if they go to court,” said Tricia Krefetz. She read from the city’s code that promises to protect the beaches and dunes.

Boca Saves Our Beaches founder Jessica Gray presented a PowerPoint against the dwelling. “This unbuildable lot was bought unbuildable,” she said. “Once our beaches are gone, we can never get them back.”

This was the second go-round on the beach house. The city’s Environmental Advisory Board also recommended turning down the building.

By Marci Shatzman


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