By Tim Pallesen
Delray Beach commissioners narrowly gave Atlantic Plaza II developers the OK to build 40 units per acre on Tuesday night.
The developer’s density reduction was necessary to win a 3-2 commission vote. Mayor Woodie McDuffie joined commissioners Adam Frankel and Angeleta Gray to approve the density.
But the reduction from an original request for 51 units per acre wasn’t enough to satisfy most neighbors who live near the $200 million project on East Atlantic Avenue .
“It looks like we will be filing a lawsuit,” said Ralf Brookes, an attorney for the neighbors.
The Tuesday night vote came after a second marathon public hearing where neighbors objected to the traffic that Atlantic Plaza II would generate.
Developers plan to build 79,000 square feet of office space and 80,000 square feet of restaurants and retail in addition to 356 apartments on the north side of Atlantic Avenue east of Federal Highway .
McDuffie said he supported the project because the Class A office space will attract young professionals to high-paying jobs in the downtown. “We need to give vibrant young people a place to live and work,” he said.
The developers had cut their density request from 51 to 43 units per acre after the first public hearing on Nov. 13. Gray and Frankel persuaded developer Jeff Edwards to cut further to 40 units during Tuesday’s hearing.
Vice Mayor Tom Carney and Commissioner Al Jacquet voted against the final proposed density, saying it should be cut more.
During the hearing, commissioners and the developer negotiated with neighbors who live immediately north and south of the project site to win their support. The developer will pay to close NE 7th Avenue and install traffic calming to the south.
Barr Terrace resident John Papaloizos, who hired Brookes and organized residents to sue the city, said after the vote that some opponents were satisfied by the traffic concessions.
But Papaloizos said support for a lawsuit remains strong. “I think we will end up in court,” he said.