JACKSONVILLE — A case against the city of Boca Raton, Chabad of East Boca Raton and TJCV Land Trust has been dismissed, following a complaint concerning the construction of a controversial religious center.
The complaint filed by Gerald Gagliardi and Kathleen MacDougall alleged Chabad sought the purchase of several parcels of land in 2007 and intended to develop a religious site on the land
Chabad was in violation of zoning code, however, as the parcels were reserved for only single family residential use.
Gagliardi and MacDougall said that there were a series of conversations between Chabad and the city of Boca Raton concerning the development of another religious site, but the city stopped considering any plan of a religious site's development after 2008.
In 2008, the suit says, the city offered a proposal to allow places of worship to be added to the list of places of public assembly in the zoning code, which would allow Chabad to use Seaside Village property.
Following four public hearings, the ordinance was unanimously adopted. In 2015, Chabad's property building plans were completed for the Seaside Village property and Chabad came before the Boca Raton City Council to receive approval for a mixed use "two-story religious space including a meeting area, religious museum area, parking structure, social hall, children’s playroom, kitchen, and a bookstore,” the suit said
The council approved the building and the requisite variances that the plan contained.
In February 2016, the appellants filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging this approval was a violation of local codes. The appellants stated it would "substantially increase traffic in their neighborhood, undermine accessibility for emergency vehicles, cause flooding and alter their property values."
Chabad withdrew its appeal, and the Florida court has invalidated the planned construction. The suit has been dismissed as the case is now moot.