The Coastal Star

Gulf Stream: Neighbors protest car dealership’s plans to expand

By Steve Plunkett

    A proposed redevelopment plan by Gunther Volvo that includes a three-story parking garage at the back of the property has neighboring Place au Soleil up in arms.
    “We are very concerned about the pending Gunther Volvo development in Delray Beach on Federal Highway,” Chet Snavely, president of the Place au Soleil homeowners association, told Gulf Stream commissioners. “Good municipal planning is at stake here. We need a good relationship between the city of Delray and the town of Gulf Stream.”
    Quinn Miklos, whose home on Avenue Au Soleil is directly behind the car dealership, is heading up investigative efforts for the homeowners group. He listed the neighborhood’s concerns in a Jan. 9 letter to Delray Beach officials, warning that the proposal will have “dire consequences” for his community.
    Among those concerns:
    • A 21-foot-tall garage access ramp at the rear of Gunther Volvo that will abut the single-family residences, creating “an intensive ‘vertical travel’ vehicular use at the doorstep of our community.”
    • An extreme “intensity of use” with a 182,473-square-foot garage, 10,145-square-foot showroom, 9,398 square feet of automobile service area and 11,492 square feet for parts, car wash and service writers. “Unless I am mistaken, there is no existing commercial three-story building on the Federal [Highway] corridor that directly abuts a residential neighborhood — for good reason,” Miklos wrote.
    The architects took no notice that the garage will be visible in Place au Soleil. “Aesthetically the parking structure is brutally unappealing,” Miklos said.
    • Increased light pollution. Place au Soleil neighbors have already bought blackout curtains but cannot enjoy their yards at night because of the light spilling from the Volvo dealership, Miklos said. “There is a [7-foot]-high fence between our property with [20-foot]-high landscaping on our side and still the light pollutes our home,” he wrote.
    Snavely brought copies of Miklos’ letter to the Jan. 13 Town Commission meeting and met with Gunther representatives the following week. After that meeting, which he called “polite,” he said his group decided it is “totally against” the proposal.
“It’s a quality of life issue,” Snavely said.
    In other business:
    • Former Vice Mayor Robert Ganger, who resigned in July after suffering a stroke, spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting. “It’s been a long trip for me — nine months and a couple of weeks — and it’s supposed to get better in nine to 12 months, so this is kind of a little bit early,” he said. “All of you have been so kind and so thoughtful and I’m so, so, so very, very, very thankful. We’ve got a great town here, and an awful lot of awful nice people, and I really appreciate it.”
    • The construction company putting utility lines underground in the north part of town will bring in a third crew to meet its June 15 deadline. Consulting engineer Danny Brannon relayed a request from the contractor to allow work to be done on Saturdays, but commissioners refused, citing the noise caused by drilling and pumping.

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