We took a hard look at the Johns Glades West proposal and we’re opposed. The Palm Beach County Commission approved this on April 26th. It might be too late to do anything about it, but we suggest you contact Commissioner Mary Lou Berger.
You can call her at 561-355-2205, or e-mail her at MBerger@pbcgov.org.
Developers plan to build a very dense project on the south side of Glades Road. The front on Glades would be a fairly large commercial plaza including a grocery store, a theater, restaurants and more.
The back part of the project is more disturbing and completely out of character for West Boca. It would include seven five-story buildings with over 450 apartments.
County zoning staff wrongly concluded this fits in with the existing development around it.
“Staff Analysis: The proposed amendment is consistent with the character and development pattern of the surrounding communities, which can be characterized as a built development pattern with higher density and higher intensity.”
This is ridiculous. Yes it’s true that the nearby commercial plazas are similar to the commercial part of the proposal. But neither Westwinds nor Shadowood have housing at all, much less 5-story towers packed with 10 apartments per floor.
Nothing around it would be nearly this dense. Look at this image:
The residential neighborhoods to the north, east, and southwest are far less dense with much more greenery. Same with the Jewish Federation campus to the south. Residents of Palma Vista, to the southwest, have legitimately complained about the R2 building (lower left) which will tower over the homes in the northeast end of their neighborhood.
The developer is seeking 12 residential units per acre for the whole 38 acres of the site, but that the county is ignoring the fact that half of those acres would be used for commercial space. So they’re really getting 24 residential units per acre.
There’s no space for trees, grass, etc., allotting less than two acres for a lake. All those hard surfaces with no green space means big stormwater runoff problems.
The apartment complex will consist of over 450 tiny apartments (we estimate an average size of 800 square feet) with minimal amenities. There isn’t even a pool in the plan.
If you’re looking for help from our local “West Boca Community Council”, you might be surprised:
Reading through the details of the submission (see pdf below) we see numerous agencies referencing their ability to handle the project at 300 residential units, with some saying that density would be a problem and others indicating issues. But the proposal is 450+ units, not just 300.
For one thing, with 300 units it still fails the long range traffic test:
In other words it will create long term traffic problems on Glades Road, Lyons Road, and US-441.
According to the school district it will overcrowd Eagles Landing Middle School, and add a significant burden to both Olympic Heights and Sandpiper Shores. We all know how great the traffic is at Sandpiper Shores already.
Did you realize what the county was allowing to happen? Do you feel that Mary Lou Berger, your representative, communicated sufficiently with you about this?
Before writing this article we reached out to Ms. Berger and Ms. Scarborough. They did not respond.
There’s a plan in the works to convert the Thomas Produce facility at Clint Moore and 441 into townhomes and also commercial space. We heard from friends in The Oaks that they were invited to a meeting to hear more about it. Below is an image from the application, showing the location and indicating to some extent the proposed change.
You can also see the location on Google Maps:
The Petition Summary document (pdf) indicates a potential for: “Commercial (407,286 sf max.) and Residential (299 dwelling units). That document and the “justification statement” are at the bottom of this article.
400,000 square feet of commercial space on 37 acres along with 300 townhouses would be huge and dense. The Reserve shopping center on the south side of Clint Moore has 140,000 square feet on 18 acres. Delray Marketplace has 260,000 square feet of commercial space on 32 acres. The documents indicate that Urban Design Kilday Studios is working on this project. They also worked on Delray Marketplace.
Based on past experience with zoning (this author has done some zoning work as an attorney and as clerk for a judge, and also voted on zoning issues as a town board member, all in upstate New York), we suspect that the numbers (299 residential units and 400,000 square feet of commercial space) are a bargaining position and the developers know it will ultimately be reduced to a smaller number.
In the justification statement, the developer argues that the plant is no longer economically sensible as farming nearby has declined dramatically. Most of their farmland is a long distance away and this leads to what they claim is heavy truck traffic on the roads. We’re generally skeptical of developer claims but this one does make sense to us.
Readers can check on the status of the application on the County Zoning active amendments page. As of now no hearing date has been set.
Petition Summary document:
For a related story from May see the Palm Beach Post.