Riverside Market in Fort Lauderdale needs your support. Owner Julian Siegel has asked for fans of the restaurant to attend Tuesday's hearing, during which he will speak in front of the City Commission regarding the city-owned plot of land he currently
uses as a parking lot for his restaurant at 608 SW 12th Ave.
the land was awarded to the winning bidder, taxi czar Jesse Gaddis.
Tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the first floor commission chamber of City Hall at 100 N. Andrews Ave., the commission will hear Siegel and anyone else who wants to
comment on the item, then decide whether it will reconsider its
decision to sell the land to Gaddis.
Siegel says he's organizing supporters to Riverside Market at 5 p.m. prior to the commission hearing. For those who will attend the meeting on their own, Siegel asks they arrive early.
That Siegel is speaking after the sale of city-owned land is unusual. It
is allowed as a result of a technicality: When the city placed the ad
in newspapers for the date for sale of the land, the date was was
Siegel says he had been expecting to hear from the city regarding the
impending sale but had not been notified by the city of the correct
date last week.
When he followed up with city officials to express dismay over the sale
of the land to Gaddis, he promptly received a letter and an email
indicating that the issue had been added to Tuesday's agenda, during
which he would have three minutes to make a case. Once Siegel and anyone
else comments on the item, the commission will decide whether to
reconsider the sale.
Siegel says it is not clear to him whether the sale will be determined
by the highest bidder or the "best" use of the land. "We're turning
around the neighborhood with this market," says Siegel.
It is also unclear whether Riverside Market can remain open without access to
the adjacent lot, considering the lot is necessary for restaurant inspection after a decadeslong hiatus. Currently, Broward County has deemed the property
commercial while the city
lists it as residential. Because of the conflict, the city has
not moved forward on inspecting the building. The inspection is
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necessary to award Riverside Market a license to sell beer and wine. If Riverside has no parking lot, the restaurant can't secure a license.
Gaddis has not returned repeated calls to Clean Plate Charlie.