….FOR EVERY LEGAL ACTION THERE IS A LEGAL REACTION…..
By Al Zucaro
The little people, we the citizens….
Citizens et al v City of Boca Raton, Palm Beach Circuit Court Case # 2013CA006241….
A must read for all those that have been following the ongoing saga concerning our City Council’s actions regarding the ARCHSTONE DEVELOPMENT project and the continuing resistance by the little people, we the citizens…..
This newest chapter begins with a Council action taken on March 11, 2013 where, on a 4 to 1 vote, approving a development order for ARCHSTONE II over the objection of citizens, over the declaration of the previous circuit court ruling and with the Council’s distain and disgust for having to explain themselves to the little people, we the citizens….
So the little people, we the citizens, took up the gauntlet once again and, represented by three individuals, this writer included, filed an action against the City of Boca Raton challenging the ARCHSTONE II development order as not being consistent with the City’s duly-adopted Comprehensive Plan.
So the little people, we the citizens, argue as “aggrieved or adversely affected” persons that will suffer adverse effects to a protected interest promised by the City’s comprehensive plan.
The action brought under Florida Statute, Chapter 163, Community Planning Act, which requires local government to adopt a comp plan with mandatory elements and demanding that actions by local government be consistent with the adopted plan.
Boca Raton is no exception to this section of Florida statute.
So, the little people, we the citizens, demand that the city of Boca Raton honor the dictates of its very own adopted comprehensive plan.
The Community Planning Act places the burden for enforcement on the little people, we the citizens. The “citizen enforcement” section provides that “any aggrieved or adversely affected party” may bring a civil action for injunctive or other relief to prevent the local government from taking an action on a development order which “materially” alters the use or density or intensity of a property that is not consistent with the plan.
So, the little people, we the citizens, have a basis in law to bring this action and to ask a court to conduct a ‘de novo’ hearing, a fact finding hearing, to impartially establish whether this case “materially” alter Boca Raton’s comprehensive plan. An impartial hearing is necessary in light of the egregious treatment that the little people, we the citizens, endured at the March 11th public meeting, a session that was anything but impartial.
The balance of the legal and factual arguments forming the basis of this lawsuit can be found on the Clerk of the Court’s website and it is highly recommended that you take the time to review the arguments contained within….
Now as I stated at the outset, for every legal action there is a legal reaction.
After being served with the complaint, the City is obligated to answer within a 20 day period of time. They, however, may take alternative actions to delay such an answer. These actions can take the form of motion(s) to dismiss for a myriad of reasons. All of which will have to be heard and ruled upon by the court before proceeding forward with discovery and an eventual trial on the merits.
So the little people, we the citizens, in our complaint, point out 9 sections of Boca Raton’s adopted comprehensive plan that, arguably, are not complied with by the ARCHSTONE II development order. Only after an impartial judicial determination will either side know who is correct, and that is exactly what is being asked for by the little people, we the citizens.
So stay tuned. The legal process will take time. The courts will make the appropriate rulings and the case will find the appropriate result. The lesson to be learned here is it that when there is a non-responsive elected body, the little people, we the citizens, have a legal right and a moral duty to fight.
All government is a necessary evil. Allowing this evil to overtake the little people, we the citizens, can only result in the loss of more and more of our personal freedoms and a breakdown of the ‘social pact’ to live within a civil society that is responsive to the little people, we the citizens, and not to itself.
“We the people…” perhaps is the most important phrase that has ever been contemplated by humankind and placed into practice as the prime directive for how we, as a society chose to live our lives…..It is incomprehensible that this prime objective should be set aside for any reason, or in this case, for no articulated reason at all…..