They fought a plan for 92 luxury homes and villas. Now, these Hillsboro Beach residents claim victory.
A group of Hillsboro Beach residents are declaring a “huge victory” in their fight against a plan to build a collection of 92 ultra-luxury, waterfront condominium homes and villas. They argued that one of the buildings shouldn’t have gotten the OK to rise to 10 stories in their upscale community, and a panel of judges recently sided with them.
Broward circuit court judges overruled the city’s approval of the oceanfront project at 1174 to 1185 Hillsboro Mile, where the town’s zoning code generally caps buildings at three stories. There are also other areas in town zoned for 10 stories.
Rosewood Residences Hillsboro Beach was planned to sell for $4 million for units in the coastal villas and $5 million for units in the oceanfront building. “They were building like they were Sunny Isles Beach or Miami Beach,” said Cape Coral-based attorney Ralf Brooks, who declared the “huge victory.” He represented three residents who challenged the development in court.
But Thursday, Town Manager Mac Serda didn’t signal the end of Rosewood Residences Hillsboro Beach: He said it is still under review. He said the town approved an amendment to the code of ordinances earlier in the year that allows a project to proceed when a supermajority of the commission approved it.
“The Town Attorney is reviewing to see if the code provision may be applicable allowing the Related project to go forward” with no changes to the design or site plan, Serda said.
Brooks said he was unaware of that Thursday, but said residents will continue to monitor it.
“We’re still fighting this,” he said. “If the city is going to do something different we will be there politically to fight it.”
A spokeswoman for Rosewood Residences Hillsboro Beach did not comment Thursday about the judges’ ruling. Attempts to reach the lawyers representing the developers were unsuccessful late Thursday.
In 2021, it was pitched as a 15-story, 170-foot project. The commission pushed back, and it was lowered to 10 stories on the east side of the highway, and three stories on the west.
“Both buildings have been designed to be reminiscent of a regal yacht,” according to the developers’ previous comment.
Three residents filed suit in 2022, saying the developer’s claims that it needed to rise higher than the rules allowed to see over the sand dunes wasn’t a good enough reason to be permitted to build.
Brooks wrote that if the town wanted “such high-rise development, the answer is to amend the zoning code to increase the height limit so that an entire district can take advantage of” it.
The three-member panel of judges wrote in an April 21 decision that “the essential requirements of law were not followed in the granting of the subject variance.”
The panel of judges wrote that the developers never indicated that without the variance no reasonable use could be made of the property. “In fact, an appraisal prepared by a real estate advisory and valuation service for Hillsboro shows that a low-rise structure conforming to the requirements of Hillsboro’s code is entirely possible and profitable,” the judges wrote.
Charles Doherty, who lives three properties over, was one of the three residents who sought relief. He said they have no objection to development, but they wanted it to comply with the current zoning code. A “Save Hillsboro Beach” group made up of about 100 residents contributed to the legal fees to fight the development, he said.
“We enjoy Hillsboro Beach because of the status quo,” Doherty said. “It’s the zoning code that makes Hillsboro Beach what it is.”
Resident Richard Crusco, another one of the petitioners who lives right next door, added: “I understand beachfront is considered the diamond, but when they purchased this property … they knew the zoning at the time.”
He said the developer should keep the project at three stories, like its neighbors.
“It maintains the ambiance of the town with keeping the zoning laws just as they are,” Crusco said. “When you take a building such as this and stick it in the middle of two properties that are 35-foot zone and you put a 145-foot building in between them, that’s not [keeping] with the legacy of what this town was all about.”
Breaking News Alerts
As it happens
Get updates on developing stories as they happen with our free breaking news email alerts.
The latest plans for Rosewood Residences Hillsboro Beach called for six oceanfront and seven coastal penthouses to be built, each with private rooftop pools.
The strip of State Road A1A that makes up Hillsboro Beach is known by some locals as “Millionaire’s Mile.”
Weeks ago, developers announced sales would be imminent and the completion date scheduled for 2026.
“Millionaire’s Mile has a strong value proposition for buyers that allows for a certain level of escapism, bridging the foundations of a luxury resort with the comfort and familiarity of home,” said Brad Berry, vice president of global residential development at Rosewood Hotel Group, in a prepared statement that announced the start of sales, before the news of the court ruling. “It is a unique parcel that allows for an undeniably elevated style of living, thereby a perfect fit for our growing brand footprint.”
The president of The Related Group, the developer, said they were “pioneering the country’s most desirable residential markets.”
“Hillsboro Mile has long been a haven for the country’s elite. However, with our new development, we are upping the ante in a major way,” said Jon Paul Perez, president of Related, in the statement earlier this month.