Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Delray Beach: Petition to Limit Overbuilding

from the
Florida Coalition for Preservation

The City of Delray Beach is potentially facing a "Development Bubble"
that may affect EVERYONE who lives, works, plays, shops or dines in downtown Delray.

Last summer, the Florida Coalition for Preservation called for measures to restrict special incentives the City can grant to a developer which allows more residential unit density and taller buildings than permitted by current rules.  We also asked for a complete review of the Downtown Master Plan, and with it, the regulations and design guidelines that guide growth management planning. We expressed grave concern that unfettered growth could overwhelm the city's infrastructure, and forever change the charming small towncharacter that differentiates Delray from nearby communities.

We succeeded! The City recently announced an 18 month study to review all plans and regulations in the core business district.  The Planning & Zoning Department has now proposed a temporary pause on granting special incentives during the study period, or at least until new rules emphasizing quality growth are reviewed and adopted.  

You Should Support A Temporary "Time Out" On Major Downtown Projects

Residents, neighbors and visitors to the Delray Beach downtown are facing over 1.5 million square feet of new construction, including close to 1000 residential rental units, a few luxury condos, new restaurants, offices and retail stores, and even an 8 screen movie complex.  Will the already congested Atlantic Avenue be able to handle this additional amount of cars?  To that end, the Coalition's next initiative is to commission a traffic study.

More projects are likely to follow in upcoming years. This is the time to pause and reconsiderthe long term implications on how projects are approved;
whether they contribute quality architecture and needed benefits; and what impact they have on residents, neighbors and visitors who enjoy the unique lifestyle that Delray offers.

This is sent out by the Florida Coalition for Preservation. Delray Beach currently allows 48 foot tall buildings by right, but you can go up to 60 feet if you get a conditional use approval in their Central Business District. You can also go up to 40 units to an acre of residential units if you get a similar conditional use. This applies to any use, not just hotels like the Lake Worth land development regulations which allow 65 feet east of Federal. They are now calling a temporary halt to issuance of conditional uses based upon all the approved projects on the books. 1.5 million square feet is a lot of NEW development. Have you been on Atlantic Avenue recently?

By the way, Delray Beach was touted by the supporters of the height referendum in Lake Worth as a "lo-rise" city and an example of a system that allows compatible development - before calls for additional controls on height were made. It would be nice if they actually knew what they were talking about.