JUPITER, Fla. — Harbourside Place in Jupiter announced Wednesday it's canceling all future events for the time being after town officials accused it of hosting free events, like a farmer's market, without having proper permits.
Representatives from Harbourside and the Town of Jupiter appeared before a magistrate judge Wednesday to determine if the entertainment complex will be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Twenty-one code violations, dating back as far as 2018, were recently delivered to Harbourside’s Vice President, Nicholas Mastroianni.
At Wednesday's hearing, one of those violations was dropped, and the others were not ruled on.
Town officials said at least 35 more violations are in the pipeline, which could increase the fines to more than $800,000.
Out of good faith, Harbourside Place said it's canceling all future events until further notice, including a waterfront farmer's market this Sunday.
Another hearing on the matter will be held May 29.
“It hurts really. It doesn’t help us. We’re trying to thrive, trying to have our small businesses thrive,” Mastroianni told Contact 5 Investigator Merris Badcock on Tuesday.
The town’s attorney, Thomas Baird, spoke to Contact 5 over the phone, as he was unavailable for an on-camera interview due to a scheduling conflict with a court hearing.
Baird said, according to Harbourside’s development approval, Harbourside Place is required to have an approved event schedule. If an event is not approved ahead of time, Harbourside officials are allowed to seek a one-off, special event permit.
Baird said Harbourside Place held events that were not on the annual schedule and did not have a special event permit, hence the recent code violations. Mastroianni said that is not true.
"Everything we had to do, we submitted on time, in fashion," said Mastroianni. "We paid the fees that they require."
Public records to confirm both the conditions of the development approval and event schedule submissions from Harbourside were not immediately available for review.
According to Mastroianni, Harbourside businesses bring in 40 percent more profit during free events like their once-monthly kids movie night or weekend farmer’s market.
However, Mastroianni confirmed if Harbourside is forced to pay more than $300,000 in fines, they will no longer host free events.
"The farmer’s market is to allow vendors and people to have a living and to come enjoy it, but we’re not going to pay fines like that," Mastroianni said.