Delray Beach: Center zoning gets first approval, despite reservations

By Margie Plunkett

    Delray Beach commissioners gave first approval of a rezoning that would allow a shopping center on the southeast corner of Linton Boulevard and South Federal Highway, despite an outcry from the waterfront neighborhood behind it.
    The approval, however, was intended to move the proposal to a second public hearing, commissioners said, even though the panel noted reservations about the site plan of the Delray Place development planned for the property.
The second public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11.
    “I think the property needs to be rezoned,” Vice Mayor Tom Carney said at the Nov. 6 first reading and public hearing. “At the same time, I don’t think we can ignore the effects of whatever we put there on the abutting neighborhood.”
    The corner is currently zoned for offices, but the developer is planning a shopping center and row of restaurants that would back up to the waterfront homes of the Tropic Isles neighborhood.   
    There seemed to be widespread agreement that the area needs to be revitalized, but some neighbors and lawmakers see the plan for the site as too dense for the property and the neighborhood.
    The back of the shopping center and restaurants are near the yards of residences — and the property owners have said that the noise from patrons dining, as well as the truckers delivering merchandise, would destroy their “peaceful enjoyment” of their homes.
    The Delray Beach staff did not recommend the project — although it does favor the zoning change.
    “We don’t think that relief is appropriate for all these things, that the intensity is too much and [the developer] should try to comply with the requirements,” said Delray Beach planner Ron Hoggard.
    “I, like my neighbors, would like to see business thrive in this area, but this is too intense,” said resident Steve Camp.
    Ron Collins, representing a Tropic Isles residents group, said, “I’m here to ask one thing to you: As this application proceeds through your process that you protect the quality of life.”
    Asking that commissioners defer on the project, Collins said, “The proposed plan shows [the developers are] completely insensitive to the impacts it has on residents, and too many major issues remain unresolved.”
    Speakers at the public hearing also worried about the traffic pattern — because delivery trucks would make U-turns to get into the development, and would have to cross traffic as they exit. 

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