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'Stop the fines!' Jupiter residents ask Town Council to stop fining Harbourside Place

Posted: 11:47 PM, Jun 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-19 05:16:04-04
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JUPITER, Fla. – “Stop the fines! Stop the fines!” Those were the chants from Jupiter residents that echoed on the sidewalk outside Town Council Chambers in Jupiter Tuesday night.

Inside, during public comments, residents also asking for one thing: stop fining Harbourside.

“I’ve live here for 73 years in Palm Beach County,” Mike Simons told council. “The people that work here, they are trying to support their families. This needs to stop.”

Residents, some wearing matching blue T-shirts with the word "Stand Up For Jupiter" written across the front, say hundreds of thousands of dollars in code enforcement fines imposed on Harbourside Place are crippling business and growth within the Arts and Entertainment District.

As a result of noise violations, Harbourside officials stopped hosting live music events.

“I’m here wearing my decibel meter,” Vincent Flora told Contact 5. “I just want people to know how low 70 dB really is.”

The amphitheater inside Harbourside, which town officials required developers to build in order to get the project off the ground, now sits empty.

“I used to take my family just about every weekend to Harbourside, when it first opened. We had a great time,” William Bruckner told council members. “Now, it is almost like entering the movie Footloose.”

Earlier this year, another $800,000 in code violations for unscheduled events have forced Harbourside officials to suspend events like a weekend farmer’s market and kid’s movie nights.

“Despite our best marketing efforts, our profits have declined,” said Scott Johnson, a representative for BurgerFi International.

Council members told the public they couldn’t comment because of ongoing litigation between Harbourside and the town.

However, Town Attorney Thomas Baird, spoke to Contact 5 about the situation after public comments were over. “I feel that the town has always been clear. The town didn’t sue Harbourside. Harbourside sued the town,” Baird said during a break in the meeting.

“Harbourside is the one that has not been in compliance with the agreement that they made when they agreed to build Harbourside. Once they agree to do what they promised they would do, then all of this will be taken care of.”

Town Attorney Thomas Baird previously told Contact 5 via telephone, according to Harbourside’s development approval, Harbourside Place is required to have an approved event schedule. If an event is not approved ahead of time, Harbourside officials can seek a one-off, special event permit.
Baird said Harbourside Place held events that were not on the annual schedule and did not have a special event permit, hence the recent code violations.

Public records to confirm both the conditions of the development approval and event schedule submissions from Harbourside were not immediately available for review. Contact 5 has submitted requests for both and are waiting on a response from the Town Clerk and public records custodian, Sally Boylan.