By Tim O’Meilia
Someday, the main street of Briny Breezes could be dotted with winding vias leading to a small grocery, a bakery, a coffee bar, a hairdresser and other small shops.
On a second level may be administrative offices, a small theater and perhaps a library with courtyards between.
On the third, perhaps small offices and on the north end, a 20-room inn or some apartments. And more courtyards.
Beneath it all, 158 underground parking spaces and 34 street level spaces on the south end. In all, buildings of varying heights but none taller than 43 feet. Move the gas station a block north.
It’s all just one man’s vision, a seed of what the State Road A1A corridor through Briny Breezes could look like.
But that man is well-known architect Digby Bridges, whose firm had a strong hand in remodeling Worth Avenue and Royal Poinciana Way in Palm Beach.
“This is an absolute gem of a property,” Bridges said of the 3.8 acres of land on the west side of A1A. He’s well familiar with it. He lives nearby in Ocean Ridge. “I’m surprised a lot more developers haven’t been begging for this.”
Bridges doodled his ideas in his spare time, he said, and brought them to the September meeting of the Briny Breezes Planning Board to give them an idea of what could be done under the town’s new comprehensive plan.
Board members were careful to say Bridges’ ideas were only that — ideas. Even when the final version of the comprehensive plan is completed and approved, probably early next year, any move to change Briny would have to come from the corporation of homeowners who own the 43-acre town and mobile home park.
State and regional planning agencies have asked the town to be more precise in its density and height dimensions for the town.
The new plan would allow traditional one- and two-story single family homes, a commercial corridor of small businesses and low-rise multistory condos and rental units on the west side of State Road A1A.
Bridges’ vision focused on that westside corridor.
The planning board decided to ask the corporation if it would like to hear Bridges’ presentation of what Via Briny could look like.
“You’ve planted a seed with us,” Planning and Zoning Board Chairman Jerry Lower told Bridges.
(Editor’s Note: Lower is publisher of The Coastal Star.)
By Tim O’Meilia