Gulf Stream still hopes to influence Walmart

By Steve Plunkett

The town of Gulf Stream is “regretful’’ it wasn’t able to stop a Walmart from being built across the street in Boynton Beach the way homeowners in Delray Beach apparently were, its town manager says.

“We’re still trying to apply pressure,’’ Town Manager William Thrasher said after the retail giant pulled rezoning and site plan applications in late September for the former Ralph Buick site on South Federal Highway in Delray Beach.

Gulf Stream Mayor William Koch Jr. plans to send a letter outlining the town’s concerns: that the Boynton Beach store not be open around the clock and not allow motor homes to park there overnight, that more landscaping be installed to buffer the site from its Gulf Stream neighbors and that the store put more emphasis on in-house security.

“If these could be enhanced upon or attained, it would be a great benefit, in my opinion, not only to our residents but to that entire section of Federal Highway,’’ Thrasher said.

Bob Ganger, president of the Gulf Stream Civic Association, monitors the Boynton Beach project because of its nearness to Place Au Soleil in the mainland part of town.

“Wal-Mart is known for having a pretty high crime propensity,’’ he told town commissioners at their September meeting.

Delray Beach neighborhoods close to the proposed store in their town — on Federal Highway just south of Linton Boulevard — claimed a ‘’huge victory’’ in a joint e-mail from the Tropic Isle Civic Association and Tropic Bay Condominiums.

“This was never a ‘done deal’ and was a very tough fight from the outset. Each and every effort on the part of local residents was critical in achieving the end result,’’ said Kelli Freeman and Ray Kempf, the leaders of the two groups.

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