Group denied on appeals, takes restaurant debate to Tallahassee

Dissatisfied with a second ruling by a judge in the 4th Circuit Court, members of a Riverside neighborhood group opposed to having a restaurant put in at the location of a former dry cleaner near their homes is appealing to a higher court in Tallahassee.

Almost a year after City Council enacted a bill that will permit two local developers to build The Roost, a restaurant and bar proposed for 2224-2242 Oak Street, Judge Kevin Blazs of the 4th Circuit Court ruled against Positive Riverside Optimized Urban Develop-ment (PROUD) for the second time.

On Dec. 22, 2016 Blazs first dismissed PROUD’s initial appeal against City Council’s approval of the bill. Blazs had initially denied PROUD’s appeal on the basis that the Rules of the City Council were not consistent with the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. The jurisdictional motion filed by The Roost’s attorney, Paul Harden, stated the 30-day countdown to file the appeal began on May 24, 2016 when the bill was enacted, not on the June 20 postmark when the notice of City Council’s approval was mailed to all residents within 350 feet of the site.

Believing the rendition date – that is, the date which starts the clock ticking to file an appeal – to be June 20, 2016, PROUD’s attorney, Barry Bobek, filed the original appeal July 25, 2016, which was 60 days after City Council enacted the ordinance on May 24, 2016. However, appeals must be filed within 30 days.

After the Dec. 22, 2016 denial of the appeal, PROUD filed a motion re-garding the rendition date of the May 24, 2016 City Council decision to approve the PUD.

On May 3, Blazs dismissed an appeal by PROUD against his December 2016 motion.

Blazs’ recent dismissal means PROUD is taking the matter before the Florida First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, but the delay doesn’t faze the developers, who began the project nearly two years ago.

“We are committed to that location and are excited to open in that neighborhood,” said Roost co-developer Ted Stein. “We’ve had so many people behind us, we want to fulfill their trust in us. They’ve been behind us for so long.”

The Roost is planned for 150 seats, outdoor seating and late night hours. Although parking will be provided onsite, nearby neighbors are afraid it won’t be adequate for the customers. They are also concerned about noise and lights until the restaurant closes at 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on the weekend.

Stein stated that no matter how long the process takes, he and partner J.C. Demetree will open a restaurant at that location. In the meantime, they are developing a similar restaurant in Miramar called The Local.

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