The Third District Court of Appeal gave the city of Miami two key victories Wednesday in siding with circuit court judges who tossed lawsuits challenging the SkyRise Miami tower and a major redevelopment project on the Coconut Grove waterfront.
Judges Frank Shepherd, Richard Suarez and Thomas Logue said the plaintiffs in the two cases, former Monty’s Raw Bar owner Stephen Kneapler, and Miami Commission candidate Grace Solares, lacked the standing to sue. Both argued that alleged violations of the city charter gave them standing, but the court sided with the city’s attorneys, who said allowing Kneapler and Solares to sue would essentially allow anyone to take government to court over any decision they didn’t like.
Attorneys for the two plaintiffs said Wednesday that they were disappointed and were examining the judges’ opinions in order to weigh their options going forward. For city officials, the hope now is that Grove Bay Investment Group, the developer behind a redevelopment of the seven-acre parcel north of Miami City Hall, will take control of the site and begin construction after almost 20 months of delays.
J.C. Planas, a private attorney representing the city on the Grove Bay and SkyRise lawsuits, said he also believes the ruling applies to a legal challenge of the SkyRise referendum by auto magnate Norman Braman and Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado. Planas said he’s filing for re-hearing on the city’s request to dismiss the suit for lack of standing.