The Coastal Star

Gulf Stream: Place Au Soleil gears up for next battle with Gunther Volvo over parking garage

Gunther Volvo plans to build a 31,050-square-foot showroom-service area and three-level parking garage

on Federal Highway. Place Au Soleil homeowners fear the project will fill their neighborhood with noise and light.

Rendering courtesy City of Delray Beach

By Steve Plunkett

    Decision day is May 10 in Place Au Soleil’s fight to shield the neighborhood from a three-story garage Gunther Volvo wants to build right behind their single-family homes.
    Delray Beach’s Site Plan Review and Appearance Board postponed considering Gunther’s proposal at its April 26 meeting because it lacked a quorum. The car dealership backs up to Gulf Stream but sits inside Delray Beach.
    Earlier in the month, the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency praised Gunther’s proposal, but encouraged its lawyer to work more to address Place Au Soleil’s concerns about noise and light.
    At the April 17 meeting of the Gulf Stream Town Commission, the president of the neighborhood’s homeowner association, Chet Snavely, said he and Mayor Scott Morgan met with Gunther representatives and Delray Beach officials to craft a solution, but without success.
    “The noise situation and the light situation were pretty much dismissed in Volvo’s response letter to our meeting,” Snavely said. “Volvo was not interested in spending any money for any redesign.”
    Morgan recruited the rest of the Town Commission to join the battle by having commissioners sign a letter opposing the plan that they had previously authorized Morgan to sign by himself. The letter was to go to Delray Beach planning officials and Mayor Cary Glickstein.
    “I just feel it should be signed by everyone,” Morgan said.
    Snavely said a barrier of aluminum louvers behind the 519-car garage would block the light and muffle the sound. So far, Gunther has agreed only to raise the concrete wall at the back of the parcel from 6 feet high to 8 feet.
    Fort Lauderdale-based Gunther bought the Volvo and neighboring Volkswagen dealerships in 2012 for $13.5 million from AutoNation. The land, which lies on a plat named Borton Motors after an earlier dealership, is designated for “auto sales” in Delray Beach’s land-use plan and zoned “automotive commercial.”
    In other business, commissioners met in closed sessions with their attorneys to decide what to do with one public records lawsuit brought by resident Martin O’Boyle and seven cases brought by resident Chris O’Hare. Outside counsel Robert Sweetapple said at the end of the month there had been no movement in any of the suits.
    O’Boyle urged the commissioners before the closed sessions to accept what he called his “sacrificial lamb” to end the litigation, without providing many details. “If you want to resolve all [the cases] as I do, we together have an opportunity to be fair with one another and accomplish just that goal,” O’Boyle said.

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