By Jane Smith
At the Nov. 18 City Commission meeting where the proposed land development regulations were discussed, Commissioner Adam Frankel called Diane Colonna back into the chambers to present the Community Redevelopment Agency’s views.
She told commissioners:
“The version of the code presented to the CRA in September, which was the same version presented to commission at the workshop in October, changed the measure of height from feet to stories, with the ability, if certain criterion were met, to go to five stories. That is what the board supported.
“Delray has always been on the cutting edge of development trends,” Colonna said. “We’ve had a lot of momentum from that. The CRA basically supports continuing in that direction.
“Everybody understands that six stories leads to buildings that were squashed, floor-to-ceiling heights were shorter than would be desired. So they (the CRA board) did support that change.
“Again anecdotally and with the general trend nationally with millennials and our efforts with the Office of Economic Development and efforts to attract entrepreneurs, people who want to live and work among like-minded folks — we’ve not had the opportunity to build that kind of office space. We are concerned that eliminating the fifth floor was going to make that even harder.”
Mayor Cary Glickstein responded a week later:
“Diane’s comments were accurate, but it is important to note positions serving one board’s mission may diverge from policies of another.
“The CRA correctly looks for ways to increase their tax increment financing within its boundary to continue funding CRA initiatives — a critically important tool.
“The commission’s role, however, is establishing citywide policy. Allowing taller buildings and higher densities may increase land values that increase CRA revenue, but such growth management ‘tools’ should be coupled with current citywide growth management policy beyond the dated 12-year-old master plan we have.
“Some differences (between boards) should be expected, particularly when most taxpayers reside outside the downtown that lies within the CRA district, with many of those residents looking to the commission to address their concerns about the quantity and quality of recently approved development and the imbalance created by a preponderance of residential rental projects.
By Jane Smith