Developer's property rights case against Hollywood upheld

, Daily Business Review


Judge William Haury
Judge William Haury

Haury questioned the relevancy of the Tallahassee case because it didn't involve residential development.

GSK attorney Scott Marder of Duane Morris in Baltimore

Abbott cited case law concluding political motivations cannot be considered where the governing body can show it had a rational basis for its action.

"The rational basis is right in the ordinance—to mitigate the potential impacts associated with high-rise development and to ensure the preservation of the unique urban village ambience which characterizes this portion of Hollywood Beach," Abbott said.

Whether or not motivation could be considered became a major point of debate. Haury asked for case law, and Marder cited several cases, which Abbott substantially rebutted.

The argument appeared to come down to how discriminatory was the ordinance. Abbott emphasized it encompassed more than 200 parcels.

Marder focused on the council debate over the ordinance. He noted then-Commissioner and current Mayor Peter Bober, a partner in Bober & Bober in Hollywood, warned council members the flat-height option could exposed the city to a property takings claims in the tens of millions of dollars.

Giulianti lost on her first attempt to pass the ordinance and complained "they" could get whatever they wanted, Marder said.

"The only 'they' there were my clients," Marder said. "It was abundantly clear at these hearings that all of this was intended to stop my client's project."

Discussion of the project and designs contradicted the argument that this was some democratic "ordinance of general application," he said.

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