Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Palm Beach couple sues town over rejection of modern house | www.palmbeachdailynews.com

Very interesting story from William Kelly at the Shiny Sheet, click title for link. The Palm Beach Architectural Commission rejected the construction of a house because it was "too dissimilar" to adjacent houses. The ordinance also reads that new structures cannot be too similar to those in the immediate area. This can be a hard needle to thread. Unfortunately, it is regulations such as these that give appointed boards the authority to be "taste police." The results should be interesting as this lawsuit makes it through the courts. Personally, I like this modern style of architecture and there is a place for it in Palm Beach. In fact, there are many examples throughout the town, just not in this particular area. Read an excerpt here:
Attorney Paul Rampell and his wife Rita filed suit Wednesday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court asking a judge to overturn the council’s reversal of the Architectural Commission’s approval of plans for the new, single-family home at 237 Ridgeview Drive.
In the lawsuit, the Rampells contend that the council improperly considered new evidence at its hearing, rather than limiting its review to the evidence presented at the commission hearing, as required by town law. The commission’s 4-3 vote of approval occurred Aug. 27.
The Rampells also filed suit in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, asking a judge to declare unconstitutional sections of town law pertaining to its architectural code. They argue in the suit that the town is vague and overly broad, and therefore deprived them of their right to due process and equal protection under the law.
On Oct. 15, the council voted 3-2 in favor of a town board chairman’s appeal of the Architectural Commission approval. William Cooley, an El Pueblo Way resident and chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, argued that the Rampell house was excessively dissimiliar from the other homes in the neighborhood.