Two Boca Raton residents are trying for a third time to sue the city over a pending synagogue project in one of the city’s busiest areas.
Boca Raton is asking for the court to dismiss the lawsuit a third time after Gerald Gagliardi and Kathleen MacDougall challenged the legality of the project.
The two residents accuse Boca officials of bending land-use rules for a religious facility that they say would be a burden to neighbors.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra threw out the lawsuit in March after dismissing it last summer, but Gagliardi and MacDougall filed an appeal in June. Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment Monday.
“It is past time to drop the legal shenanigans and let Boca Raton welcome the Chabad into the community,” Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer representing the Chabad of Boca Raton, said in a news release Monday.
City officials approved site plans in the summer of 2015 for the Chabad of East Boca’s $10 million, 18,000-square-foot synagogue and museum that was supposed to go into less than an acre at 770 E. Palmetto Park Road, a piece of undeveloped land east of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The beachside project, dubbed the Boca Beach Chabad and My Israel Center, gained approval by the city after the Chabad’s founder Rabbi Ruvi New
debuted the project in early 2015.
In response, Gagliardi and MacDougall, who live less than a mile from the site, sued the city in February 2016 claiming the city had given the Chabad special treatment. They also said the project would cause traffic and parking headaches for nearby residents.
More than a hundred people showed up to the initial Planning and Zoning Board meetings last year, some expressing similar concerns.
Due to a separate lawsuit by a neighboring real estate firm, a judge shot down the Chabad’s design for the synagogue and its museum. As of now, it is unclear when the project will move forward.