7960543871?profile=originalJestena Boughton, with her dog, Lucy,

in front of the Colony Hotel on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.

Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Tim Pallesen

    The size for future buildings on Atlantic Avenue is suddenly up for debate after a plea to city commissioners by the owner of the Colony Hotel.
    “The success of Atlantic Avenue is that it has air and sunlight,” Jestena Boughton said in arguing against four-floor buildings that would create shadows.
    The question whether four-floor buildings should be allowed on Atlantic Avenue wasn’t in last year’s debate over new downtown development regulations. Prior to a Dec. 9 final hearing, commissioners had focused instead on whether to allow buildings higher than four floors off Atlantic Avenue elsewhere in the central business district.
    But the new regulations were tabled Dec. 9 after the plea for buildings less than four floors on Delray’s main street got support from Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioner Shelly Petrolia.
    “We’re going to lose the iconic nature of Atlantic Avenue,” Petrolia warned. “Can’t we say this is a sacred area for us?”
    She and Glickstein support a maximum height of two or three floors. “It would be most meaningful if we could accomplish that,” the mayor said.
    Boughton, a third-generation owner of a historic three-story hotel, fears approvals for more four-floor hotels like the Seagate Hotel and Fairfield Inn on the avenue.
    “The Seagate is a beautiful building with cute little balconies — but it is big,” Boughton told commissioners.
    “When you think of what’s important to Delray, No. 1 is the beach and No. 2 is Atlantic Avenue,” she said. “We don’t want a lot of big boxes on Atlantic Avenue.”
    Commissioners will review the development regulations again on Jan. 19. Several other issues about Delray’s future downtown also remain unresolved.
    The five commissioners appeared to agree in November that buildings in the central business district should be no higher than four floors.
    But Commissioners Al Jacquet and Adam Frankel on Dec. 9 both favored giving incentives such as greater height and density if developers give more public open space, green building practices and workforce housing. “I like the flexibility,” Frankel said.
    Glickstein and Petrolia have opposed incentives. “To live in a small-scale coastal community is a privilege,” the mayor said. “Delray alone is the incentive.”
    But the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency is now urging commissioners to allow office developers a fifth floor to encourage more downtown offices. Glickstein said Dec. 9 that he will consider that request.
    A planner for the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council will meet with commissioners before the Jan. 20 meeting to try to reach a consensus on the various issues.

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