Sheridan House Family Ministries Plan Goes Ahead Despite Residents’ Opposition

( [email protected] ) Jan 12, 2004 11:08 AM EST

Arguments regarding the two lawsuits filed against a project proposed by a nonprofit Christian organization in Florida were heard at the court Friday, January 9.

A group of residents filed two suits in August 2003 to stop Sheridan House Family Ministries project which was planned to build a campus for troubled youth in western Davie.

A Broward judge heard arguments Friday in the first of two lawsuits seeking to overturn d

The Miami Herald reported that in the case heard Friday by a Broward judge, the residents’ lawyer, James Brady, argued that the Davie Town Council failed to follow proper procedure in approving a special permit and zoning change for the project. Brady emphasized the council’s failure to legally provide adequate opportunity for public participation. The residents argue that the council violated the town’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan in granting the approvals.

On the other hand, Davie Town Council’s lawyer Michael Burke spoke of the presentation of several hearings done by the council such as public testimony and cross-examination done to let the public know about the project.

''That went on, in this case, for many, many hours,'' Burk said, “the hearing ended in the early morning hours of the following day.''

Sheridan House also made similar arguments in written briefs, noting that Brady and several of the plaintiffs attended and participated in the July 8 hearing. Sheridan House is expected to make its case orally before Broward Circuit Judge Robert B. Carney at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The issue divided the neighborhood into two groups: those wanting to press on with the suits against those who feel they had been dragged into legal action against their will.

Despite the lawsuits, Sheridan House has already started construction after winning site plan approval for the first phase of its project last month. With the budget of about $3.1 million, Sheridan House will build boys' and girls' homes, housing for single mothers, and day-care and counseling centers on its 57-acre Flamingo Road property.