Miami Beach

Judge tosses Flagstone lawsuit; plaintiffs appeal

A Miami-Dade judge has thrown out a lawsuit seeking to invalidate a city of Miami deal to allow a developer to build a mega-yacht marina, hotel and retail complex on publicly owned Watson Island.

In a ruling issued this week, Judge Monica Gordo sided with developer Flagstone Island Gardens and the city of Miami against a group of Venetian Island residents who said the project would jam the causeway that runs past their neighborhood with traffic. The seven plaintiffs also said Flagstone’s complex — first approved by referendum in 2001 — has been substantially changed from what voters supported long ago and was kept alive by city officials who withheld crucial information from the public.

Gordo, however, said the plaintiffs couldn’t prove any special injury, and therefore had no standing to sue the city and Flagstone. She said allowing the residents to move forward would open the door to a challenge of “every single act of the city.”

In a statement, Roger Craver, a plaintiff, said,“This is far from over. We have appealed this decision, because if it stands, it would be the final nail in the coffin burying the public’s right to participate in government decision-making.”