Court upholds Miami Beach height limit on Belle Isle Key apartment proposal

Proposed Belle Isle apartment complex

A three-judge Miami-Dade Circuit Court panel has upheld the city of Miami Beach’s decision to limit the height of a proposed Belle Isle apartment complex, rejecting a lawsuit filed by the owner of the Belle Isle Key Apartments.

In a decision released last week, the panel said Miami Beach had the right to tell the developer, EuroAmerican Group, Inc., that it could not exceed four stories one of the two buildings it proposed at 31 Venetian Way.

EuroAmerican wanted to replace the current complex — 120 units in four, three-story buildings — with a complex that would include 181 apartments in two five-story buildings,  including a 315-space parking garage topped by two tennis courts. Eliminating one floor from the smaller of the two buildings would have trimmed eight units from the project.

The city commission in November 2010 upheld an earlier recomendation from the Miami Beach Design Review board, based on advice from city staff.

The developer’s lawyer, Neisen Kasden, first challenged that decision to the city commission. The city attorney’s office and the city planning staff recommended the commission reject EuroAmerican’s appeal.

They commission did, and the developer sued, saying the design board didn’t have the authority to condition approval of a design based on reducing its height.

In their decision, the judges — Marcia Caballero, Orlando Prescott and Rosa Figarola — said the Design Review Board staff recommendations were consistent with how the design board and the city commission voted.

“Since both the Design Review Board and the City Commission relied upon those recommendations to make their decisions, those decisions are supported by competent substantial evidence,” the judges concluded.

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