By Steve Plunkett
Town commissioners promised their Place Au Soleil constituents they would throw their weight behind an effort to block Gunther Volvo from building a three-story garage next to them in neighboring Delray Beach.
“We are extremely concerned about the effect on our community of a vertical, heavy-commercial, vehicular traffic garage,” Chet Snavely, president of the neighborhood’s homeowner association, told commissioners at their Feb. 10 meeting. “It’s clearly an inappropriate proposal.”
Snavely said the homeowners will be happiest if Gunther relocated the garage to the west side of Federal Highway, where it would back up to railroad tracks instead of abutting a residential area.
But the dealership could also reposition the structure elsewhere on its property and perhaps make it two stories instead of three, he said.
Another major concern of Place Au Soleil is a proposed water retention pond with a bottom at 10 feet of elevation surrounded by a 5-foot berm, Snavely said. The floors in the closest house to the dealership are 12 feet above sea level.
“One of the three cardinal rules of plumbing, I believe, is that water flows downhill. And 15 feet to 12 feet is downhill,” Snavely said.
The homeowners group met with Volvo representatives Jan. 23 to get information about the project before deciding to strongly oppose it. Also attending were Mayor Scott Morgan, Town Manager William Thrasher and the town’s staff attorney, Trey Nazzaro.
“Very tall parking garage, lighting on top — no way that could be screened. That was most obvious,” Morgan said at the commission meeting. “The Volvo people said they could screen it some way. They talked about putting plants up the side of the parking garage to look more aesthetically pleasing, but it was pretty obvious it would have a terrible impact.”
Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize Morgan to send a “strong” letter of opposition to Delray Beach planning officials, who are reviewing the plans, and to confer with Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein and others in hopes of a regional solution.