The Coastal Star

Briny Breezes/County Pocket: Townhome developer tries to ease worries about drainage, construction damage

Michael LaCoursiere, civil engineer for the Gulf Stream Views development, answers questions from residents of the County Pocket and Briny Breezes. Pocket residents say the townhomes will be on land that historically takes runoff from their neighborhood. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star

By Dan Moffett

Representatives of the Gulf Stream Views townhouse project say they are committed to being good neighbors to Briny Breezes and County Pocket residents as construction at the site is about to begin in earnest.

“If we damage anything, we will fix it,” Glenn La Mattina, senior vice president of developer NR Living, said during a question-and-answer session with some 100 residents in Briny’s ocean clubhouse on Nov. 13. “We’re willing to work with you.”

Questions from the County Pocket side of the room focused mostly on potential drainage issues. From the Briny side, the questions were mostly about traffic and possible road damage issues.

Michael LaCoursiere, the project’s civil engineer from West Palm Beach, said the plans passed “rigorous review” by Palm Beach County, particularly concerning stormwater drainage.

“We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to do,” LaCoursiere said. “The site is going to hold its water. Less water is going to run off the site after construction than before it.”

He said developers are installing an underground system of storage chambers to catch water, and the site will be bowl-shaped to prevent runoff from moving to the north or south.

Pocket residents Liz Loper and Susan Knowles told LaCoursiere that although the site may hold its own water, it could cause flooding to the neighborhood on the south side. For decades the vacant lot has functioned as a drain field for the pocket’s runoff, they said.

Loper worries that after the development is built, the water will have nowhere to go, especially during storm surges and king tides. Historically, she said, runoff flows north from the pocket to the development site.

“I’ve been here for 18 years and it’s not perception, it’s reality,” Loper said. “It flows down the street into that field, and now with the walls going up, that’s not going to happen. And that’s what our concern is.”

No parking on road

Briny Mayor Roger Bennett said the town recently received word from Palm Beach County officials that it is the sole owner of Briny Breezes Boulevard, a public thoroughfare that will be an important access road to the development.

“The nice thing about having ownership of Briny Breezes Boulevard is that we can put up ‘no parking’ signs on the south side,” Bennett said. “And that’s one of the first things we’ll do.”

He said the town has received assurances from the developers that they will repair any construction damage to the road. “They gave a guarantee to the Town Council,” Bennett said.

Bradley Miller, the project’s land planner, said the impact on traffic flow will be negligible. He said the development should add about 98 vehicle trips per day to the neighboring streets, well within statutory limits. The gated entrance will be on Old Ocean Boulevard. Each unit will have a two-car garage and the site will have 10 spaces for guest parking.

Miller said pedestrian access to the beach will continue to be open north and south of the complex, though Gulf Stream Views residents will have private access through a gated entrance on Old Ocean.

The six-building, 14-unit project is scheduled for completion in December 2019 and will deliver a community of “high-end, luxury” two-story homes, La Mattina said. Pre-construction prices range from $1.8 million to $2.7 million. The 3,400-square foot units will have three bedrooms and 41/2 baths.

NR Living, based in Secaucus, N.J., paid $5.4 million for the site in June and took out a $17 million construction loan shortly after.
Briny’s corporate board and the Florida Coalition for Preservation organized the question-and-answer session.

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