Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gagliardi v. TJCV Land Trust

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

May 7, 2018

GERALD GAGLIARDI, KATHLEEN MACDOUGALL, Plaintiffs - Appellants,
v.
TJCV LAND TRUST, Defendant, CITY OF BOCA RATON FLORIDA, a Florida Municipal Corporation, Defendant-Appellee, CHABAD OF EAST BOCA, INC., Defendant - Intervenors - Appellees.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 9:16-cv-80195-KAM

          Before MARCUS, FAY, and HULL, Circuit Judges.

          MARCUS, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         At issue today is whether the appellants' lawsuit -- basically claiming that the City of Boca Raton violated the Establishment Clause when it approved the construction of a religious center near their homes -- presents a live case or controversy. Because a state court has since barred the construction of this center after the lawsuit was commenced, we hold that the case has become moot and is no longer justiciable. Accordingly, we affirm its dismissal.

         I.

         A.

         The appellants, Gerald Gagliardi and Kathleen MacDougall, are two residents and taxpayers of Seaside Village, a barrier island community in Boca Raton, Florida. They sued the City of Boca Raton ("the City") for adjusting its zoning rules and approving site development plans for the Chabad of East Boca ("the Chabad"), a religious organization. The story began in 2007, when the Chabad sought to acquire parcels of land in an area of the City zoned for single-family residential use, with the intention of developing a religious site. The City introduced a proposed ordinance that, among other things, would have permitted "places of worship" in areas originally zoned for single family residential use. Some local residents opposed the Chabad's project, which led to a series of extremely contentious meetings and hearings on the proposed ordinance. The proposal never passed, and the City stopped considering the plan in January 2008.

         Thereafter, the appellants claim, there were a series of ongoing and secret discussions about the development of another religious site, between the City, the Chabad, and a local developer who owned a different parcel of property at 770 Palmetto Park Road in the Seaside Village area. According to the appellants, the City directed its staff to ensure that the development of the new site would be permitted. In May 2008, the City offered a second proposed ordinance --Ordinance 5040 -- that would, among other things, add "places of worship" to the definition of "Places of Public Assembly" in the zoning code, thereby clearing the way for the Chabad's use of the Seaside Village property. The property at 770 Palmetto Park Road was zoned B-1, an area permitting uses including places of public assembly.

         The relevant portion of the ordinance reads this way:

Section 28-2, Code of Ordinances, is amended as follows:
"Places of public assembly" shall mean any area, building or structure where people assemble for a common purpose, such as social, cultural, recreational and/or religious purposes, whether owned and/or maintained by a for-profit or not-for-profit entity, and includes, but is not limited to, public assembly buildings such as auditoriums, theaters, halls, private clubs and fraternal lodges, assembly halls, exhibition halls, convention centers, and places of worship, or other areas, buildings or structures that are used for religious purposes or assembly by persons.
"Places of worship" shall mean any area, building or structure where people assemble for religious purposes.

         After four public hearings, the ordinance was adopted unanimously by the City Council. The appellants also claim that the real purpose of the City's actions -- proposing and pushing through Ordinance 5040 in order to allow the development of the religious site -- was hidden from the public.

         Seven years later, in 2015, the Chabad's then completed building plans for the Seaside Village property came before the City Council for approval. The proposal called 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." Approval required two zoning variances: a technical change that allowed for the site's planned parking, and approval for the proposed height of the building, forty feet and eight inches, which exceeded the maximum height permissible without special authorization. The City's planning staff ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.