Village of Bal Harbour sued by mall owner in Live Local Act development dispute
Bal Harbour Shops is suing the village of Bal Harbour over local officials' efforts to derail the Shops' proposal to build a new hotel and residential complex at the luxury mall.
- The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, accuses the village of violating the Live Local Act, a 2023 law that gives developers more rights and the ability to bypass city council votes when building affordable housing.
Why it matters: This is the first time a developer has asked a court to enforce the Live Local Act against a municipality's wishes, according to the mall's attorneys.
Catch up fast: The lawsuit comes a week after the village council voted to consider suspending all new development in an effort to stop the project from moving forward.
- After that vote, Mayor Jeffrey Freimark told residents that the fight was headed to court.
- Matthew Whitman Lazenby, president and CEO of mall owner Whitman Family Development, also threatened litigation against the village.
Context: The development, proposed earlier this month, has faced consistent pushback from residents and local officials who say it will worsen traffic congestion.
- The plan, which seeks to override local zoning rules, calls for 600 "high-end" residential units, 70 hotel rooms and more than 45,000 square feet of additional retail space. It would rise about five times higher than local height restrictions allow.
- Forty percent of the residential units in the development are to be income-restricted "workforce housing," the minimum threshold under the new law.
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