Pre-construction sales have begun for a planned community of multimillion-dollar residences in Hillsboro Beach, even though a legal dispute remains underway over the 10-story oceanfront part of the community.
Rosewood Residences Hillsboro Beach is planned to be a collection of 92 ultra-luxury, waterfront condominium homes and villas in Hillsboro Beach, with buildings on both sides of State Road A1A. A sales center also is currently being built in Hillsboro Beach in preparation.
Jorge Mendez, spokesman for The Related Group, the developer, confirmed Monday that “sales are underway on both towers” on both sides of A1A.
A group of Hillsboro Beach residents had challenged the development in court, suing the town itself, saying the developer’s claims that it needed to rise higher than the rules allowed to see over the sand dunes wasn’t a good enough reason to be permitted to build.
In response, Broward circuit court judges this spring overruled the city of Hillsboro Beach’s approval of the 10-story oceanfront project at 1174 to 1185 Hillsboro Mile, where the town’s zoning code generally caps buildings at three stories. The three-member panel of judges wrote in an April 21 decision that “the essential requirements of law were not followed.”
A spokeswoman for The Related Group said in April that “we wish to emphasize that the court’s opinion is not final.”
Of the 92 homes, 22 of them will be built in a three-story building on the west side of State Road A1A. The disputed section is the 70 homes that have been planned on the oceanfront side in a 10-story project.
Hillsboro Beach Town Manager Mac Serda said the developer has a permit to construct the sales center, “which is the construction-related activity occurring presently.”
He said the town’s attorney “continues to review the decision from the lawsuit, and our current code, to determine their effect on the site plan. I hope to have the attorney’s input later this week.”
The town of Hillsboro Beach appealed for a rehearing of the case and last month the court rejected that appeal. The Town Commission agreed Monday to meet privately in a “shade” meeting this Wednesday afternoon to talk about the legal case.
Legal experts say it takes some decision-making on whether to sell planned homes that are in still in legal dispute.
John Fumero, a Boca Raton-based lawyer not involved in the Hillsboro Beach case, said the permitting process can take years and so “developers, like any business person, sometimes make a judgment call” whether to continue sales and have to return deposits later if court appeals fail.
“In most cases, the developer is going to be cautious and not actually build the buildings. In this case, it’s merely a sales center, not actually constructing the buildings themselves,” he said. A developer would not typically “spend tens of millions of dollars” to begin construction only to have to reverse course.
Charles Doherty, one of the three Hillsboro Beach residents who sought legal relief, said he’s watching what happens on the construction site with interest.
“To us, the fight isn’t over until they abandon a 150-foot-tall building on the east side of A1A in a 35-foot zoning area,” Doherty said.
Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @LisaHuriash