Despite intense lobbying from preservationists, the Delray Beach City Commission voted 3-2 to approve a developer’s request that would allow for denser and taller development in a section of the Old School Square Historic Arts District.
    The July 1 vote allows developer Hudson Holdings to build up to 38 units per acre and rise up to 48 feet on a six-parcel section near the intersection of SE 1st Street and SE 1st Avenue. Before the change, zoning in the historic district allowed 18 units per acre and a height of 35 feet.
    Hudson Holdings owns or has agreements to buy more than 20 properties in the district, including the landmark Sundy House, and plans to move or tear down some of the houses to make room for two hotels, “residential inn” units, retail space, a 175-car garage and a park.
    Much of the lobbying was directed at Commissioner Jordana Jarjura, who voted against the project when she served on the Planning and Zoning board, but switched to approve it when the request was first voted upon in early June.
    Jarjura was unswayed. She was joined by Commissioners Al Jacquet and Adam Frankel. Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioner Shelly Petrolia voted against it, mirroring the vote taken two weeks ago.
    Preservationists argued that the intense zoning change would upset the nature and balance of the southern portion of the district, made up mostly of one-story bungalows, and result in the destruction of historic houses. Hudson Holding countered that many of the houses were blighted and abandoned and their plans would revitalize the neighborhood while preserving some of the historic buildings. Sundy House, home of the city’s first mayor, would remain in place and the historic 1902 Cathcart House, where a pioneer family lived for 50 years, would be rehabilitated and moved closer to Atlantic Avenue.               
    — Staff report

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