Surfside commission approves development plan for site of deadly condo collapse

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Surfside commissioners voted overnight to approve the development plan for the site of the Champlain Towers South collapse.

They made the approval despite objections from several family members of the 98 people who died in the 2021 collapse. Family members opposed a plan to place a loading dock on 88th street, where a memorial will be constructed for the victims.

As part of the approved plan, the developer must attempt to move the loading dock off 88th Street to the southwest corner near 87th Terrace. But if the developer is unable to obtain the proper permits, the developer can continue with its current plan.

During the meeting, tempers boiled over.

Surfside resident Oliver Sanchez was accused of making hand gestures at Mayor Shlomo Danzinger from the audience.

Police officers escorted Sanchez and another man from the room.

Family members of those who died in the collapse were opposed to the development plan, saying the loading dock on 88th Street would impact, and possibly delay, the construction of a memorial dedicated to the victims.

“We’re simply asking for the developer to present his plans to FDOT with the loading docks and trash trucks located on Collins Avenue, like many buildings already on Collins Avenue,” said Martin Langesfeld, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the collapse.

Representatives from developer DAMAC presented a revised plan, strictly limiting use of the loading dock and moving trash collection to the basement.

Here is how the commission voted:

Yes: Mayor Shlomo Donziger, Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rose, Commissioner Fred Landsman.

No: Commissioner Nelly Velasquez, Commissioner Marianne Meischeid.

About the Authors:

Cody Weddle joined Local 10 News as a full-time reporter in South Florida in August of 2022. Before that, Cody worked regularly with Local 10 since January of 2017 as a foreign correspondent in Venezuela and Colombia.

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.