The Real Deal Miami

Delray Beach raises building height limit to 4 stories from 3 to settle a lawsuit

The spot zoning applies to 4 parcels whose owners sued the city, alleging violations of Bert Harris Act, a state law that protects the rights of private land owners
September 08, 2018 01:35PM

William Himmelrich and David Hosokawa sued Delray over a planned hotel depicted in this rendering.

Delray Beach raised the building height limit for four parcels along Atlantic Avenue from three stories to four to settle a lawsuit filed by the owners.

The land owners, William “Billy” Himmelrich and David Hosokawa, sought at least $6.9 million in damages from the city for alleged violation of the Bert Harris Act, a state law that protects the rights of private land owners.

Delray Beach city commissioners narrowly approved the four-parcel upzoning designation in a 3-2 vote. Commissioner Bill Bathurst, who voted against the measure, told the Palm Beach Post that the  one-story increase in the building height limit for the four parcels will encourage other land owners to seek similar treatment.

Located just east of the city’s Old School Square cultural center, the upzoned property includes two parking lots and two restaurants, Cabana El Ray and Tramonti.

Himmelrich and Hosokawa had planned to build a four-story hotel before the city imposed a three-story limit on building height along East Atlantic Avenue between Swinton Avenue and the Intracoastal Waterway, an district that encompasses their four parcels.

City attorney Max Lohman said city commissioners effectively carved those four parcels out of the three-story district.

Himmelrich told the Palm Beach Post that he and Hosokawa plan to move forward with a four-story development on their Atlantic Avenue property, possibly as a non-hotel project. [Palm Beach Post]Mike Seemuth