The Edgewater City Council last month approved a rezoning and right-of-way use agreement for a restaurant, marina and bait shop in a residential area on South Riverside Drive.
Three residents who live adjacent to the proposed development have now filed a lawsuit against both the city and the developer, claiming the development approvals are not consistent with the Edgewater Comprehensive Plan as required by law. The developer is ASKI Development LLC of Orlando.
Many area residents and environmental groups strongly opposed the proposed development. They argued it would negatively impact the Indian River, bring too much traffic to Riverside Drive and too much noise to what is now a quiet residential neighborhood.
One of the most controversial aspects of the proposed development is the use of East Boston Road for the development’s stormwater retention ponds, loading zone, dumpster location and several parking spaces.
Comprehensive Plans are required for all local governments in Florida. Each city and county must develop an individual plan, which then must be reviewed and approved by the state.
Comprehensive Plans are long-range planning tools for each local government. They include goals and policies for transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, housing and other elements essential to how a city functions. Once a Comprehensive Plan is adopted by the local government, all actions taken by that governing body must be consistent with the plan.
The plaintiffs, Maryann Malecki-Thorhallsson, Larry Jack Cameron and Elizabeth M. Labiak, filed the suit under a section of the Florida Statutes that allows certain adversely affected parties to challenge decisions made by local governments. The lawsuit specifically mentions several policies of the city’s Comprehensive Plan that are not consistent with the approvals granted by the city for the marina.
One policy in the city’s plan requires new construction have its lowest floor elevation one foot above the established 100-year flood elevation without the use of fill. The lawsuit alleges the developer’s property and the Boston Road right-of-way all lie within the 100-year flood plain and the developer brought fill onto his property without permits.
Another policy of the city’s plan provides that marina development shall be consistent with the Manatee Protection Plan for Volusia County. The lawsuit states that nothing was mentioned as part of the developer’s application nor the city council’s approvals with regard to the Manatee Protection Plan.
Several other Comprehensive Plan policies are also mentioned in the lawsuit regarding parking, shoreline protection, stormwater and traffic impacts.
The plaintiffs are specifically asking the court to declare the rezoning ordinance and the right-of-way use agreement are inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan and to deny the development of the property under those approvals. They also are seeking an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
The case will be heard by a judge in Volusia County Circuit Court. Once the city and developer are formally served, they have 20 days to respond to the complaint. No court date has been set.