A Nassau County judge reversed a 2003 Long Beach Zoning Board decision revoking the building permit from a developer seeking $50 million in damages from the city.
Nassau Supreme Court Justice Jack Libert's Sept. 21 ruling reinstated the building permit for Manhattan developer Sinclair Haberman to build the three remaining Seapointe Towers planned on the vacant property along the boardwalk between Lincoln and Monroe boulevards.
Long Beach was found liable in the case in 2015 when the city defaulted by failing to properly respond to a lawsuit over plans to build four 20-story condo buildings.
The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division denied two appeals by the city last year, setting up a damages trial next year for a judge to determine how much the city will owe in lost profits and penalties.
Libert’s decision does not award any damages in the case, but reinstates the revoked building permit within 30 days. The city was also required to install underground water utilities following a $200,000 payment by the Habermans, but the work was not completed. The order extends the Haberman building permit, which was filed in 1992, until that work is completed.
City officials and attorneys were still reviewing what effect the ruling would have on the city’s damages case next year.
“We disagree with Justice Libert’s decision,” said Robert Spolzino, a Yonkers attorney representing Long Beach in the case.
An attorney for the developer, Garden City-based Steve Schlesinger, could not be reached for comment.
The dispute follows more than 30 years of litigation since the city first granted approval to build three towers in the property in 1985.
The first building was completed in 1988 and a building permit for the second tower was filed in 1987, but not granted until 2003.
The Long Beach Board of Zoning Appeals revoked the building permit in 2003 following complaints from neighboring residents and a 1989 variance that required 1.5 parking spaces for each condo.
Haberman was required to provide 189 parking spaces for the existing building on Shore Road, but has not done so, according to court records.
"Haberman has not built any additional buildings, nor could it, as a result of the ZBA's revocation of the building permit," the court's ruling states.
Former Long Beach Corporation Counsel Corey Klein signed a settlement in 2014, which would have dismissed the lawsuit and allowed developers to resume building on the property.
The City Council rescinded the settlement six months later, saying it was completed without council members' knowledge.
"There is no statement that Haberman made a decision not to go forward with the project," Libert wrote. "To the contrary, Haberman has spent 14 years trying to get the permit reinstated."