The Coastal Star

Delray Beach: Residents’ input sought for beach-area planning

By Margie Plunkett
A residents group and Delray Beach government are collecting community thoughts early in November on a master plan for the beach area, to guide its design in the future.
The Nov. 7 charrette is for all city residents. “We hope to get something on paper that is a vision of what the whole community would like to see, not just the beach-area people,” said Andy Katz, a member of the board of trustees of the Beach Property Owners Association. “The beach is a very public place and everyone in the city should have input into it.” The BPOA, Delray Beach and the Community Redevelopment Agency are sponsoring the session. And Cambridge architect Perry Neubauer will lead the sessions; he helped with similar sessions for the municipal tennis center, Old School Square and the library.
The Beach Area Master Plan is intended to enhance the look of the beach area, establish “a sense of community through design, reflect the character of the beach neighborhood and complement the natural environment, according to the organizers. Other areas of the city have their own plans in place, including Pineapple Grove, but the beach plan will uniquely reflect the area.
The charrette — an information-gathering session from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the first Saturday in November — will cover subject areas including maintenance, landscaping, replacement and upgrades, future improvements and new features. Areas of focus will include the Ocean Boulevard/A1A sidewalk, lighting, public amenities and parks as well as other streetscape elements.
Design is characterized by elements such as trashcans, park benches, the gazebo and even the shower, Katz explained. Whether routine replacement of trashcans is necessary or the entire beach area must be rebuilt after a hurricane, the master plan guides the style. “When trash cans need to be replaced, we’ll know what we want to see go there,” Katz said.
The plan is a guide to follow when key beachfront decisions must be rendered, according to the organizers. A plan will be written from the ideas gathered at the charrette and presented to commissioners. The plan doesn’t require immediate spending, but can accomplish many items through the normal course of expenditures on maintenance or landscaping, but other areas could benefit from grants and county and state funds.
“It just seems strange for what we consider the crown jewel that brings people here not to have a master plan,” Katz said.

If You Go:
WHAT: Beach area master plan charrette, or information-gathering session
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7
WHERE: Delray Beach Marriott Residence Inn
1111 E. Atlantic Ave., at Seabreeze Avenue
WHO: All city residents are invited to attend.

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