Lawsuit over Lake Worth’s building heights dismissed

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LAKE WORTH — A lawsuit filed by a former city commissioner against the city over building heights and the $60 million Gulfstream Hotel renovation project was unanimously dismissed this afternoon, according to City Attorney Glen Torcivia.

“That the three judge panel ruled unanimously without a hearing illustrated the strength of the city’s position,” Torcivia told The Palm Beach Post. “It’s the best ruling you can get.”

In a statement, Mayor Pam Triolo said, “This community has longed for the reopening of our beautiful, historic hotel and this decision now clears the way. The Gulfstream Hotel will revitalize the community and serve as a catalyst in our downtown to bring in much-needed tourism for our businesses and great lodging for the friends and relatives of our residents.”

Former City Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden, along with two residents, sued the city earlier this year, claiming city commissioners were in violation of the city charter that states building heights can’t exceed 45 feet.

The Gulfstream is 85 feet, while the planned annex hotel is 65 feet.

In a referendum three years ago, 55 percent of Lake Worth residents requested that the maximum height should not exceed 45 feet in the area a block away from the Intracoastal Wateray. The city argued the vote became moot after the state Legislature took the power to vote on building heights away from residents.

The lawsuit stalled the project, helmed by developer Hudson Holdings. The city has given the developer all the approvals it needs to restore the historic hotel.

“Now we can move forward with financing and a construction loan,” said Steven Michaels, Hudson Holdings’ co-owner. “This is great news.”

Golden did not return a call seeking comment.

Check back for more on this developing story at mypalmbeachpost.com.