Developer Brian Tuttle is suing the city of Boca Raton, alleging that a review by city staff was inconsistent with state law and led the city council to deny his entity’s application to build more than 100 homes on a shuttered golf course.
Two companies tied to the developer filed suit last week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit’s roots date back to January, when the city council shot down a zoning amendment that would have allowed the developer to build a residential community on the former Hidden Valley Golf Course. The project called for 101 homes on about 55 acres of vacant land at 7601 East Country Club Boulevard.
Tuttle is now seeking at least $18 million in damages, which he says is the appraised value of the land had it been re-zoned to allow for his proposed development.
According to Tuttle’s suit, his application fully conformed to city regulations and the council members’ denial was influenced by a “bad review” from city staff. “City staff did not follow state law when reviewing our application,” Tuttle said.
The city of Boca Raton did not immediately respond to comment.
The city staff’s review outlined concerns about traffic along Northwest Second Avenue, and the impact the project would have on infrastructure used to buffer potential flooding.
In the complaint, Tuttle said he proposed a $250,000 contribution to fund traffic improvements that would have addressed traffic concerns, but the city said the donation was inadequate. Tuttle alleges that the city’s opposition to the donation is “inconsistent” with Florida law.
In addition, Tuttle alleges that the location is not in a floodplain and that the city needs to update its Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps.
Tuttle said that instead of 101 homes, he now intends to build 27 single-family homes and a 65,000-square-foot YMCA facility, which do not require rezoning. The total project cost would be about $50 million. He added that the project could potentially triple the amount of the traffic in the area.
“This is a fight,” Tuttle said, “and I intend to fight this ’till the end.”