The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved a sign variance Tuesday for an Aldi grocery store to be located on the east side of State Road 7 in the Royal Palm Beach Commons shopping center.
Aldi, which also plans to open its regional distribution facility in Royal Palm Beach, plans to take over the current Toys ’R’ Us store and turn it into a new grocery store, said Aldi Director of Real Estate Development Adam Kastl, who is overseeing the company’s expansion into South Florida.
Toys ’R’ Us plans to vacate the location shortly in favor of a new combined Toys ’R’ Us/Babies ’R’ Us location less than mile away.
Planning & Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien said the applicant was asking for a variance to the village code that limits wall-mounted signs to 10 square feet.
“The applicant is requesting a 75-square-foot wall mounted cabinet sign that exceeds the maximum allowable square footage by 65 square feet,” O’Brien said, pointing out that the applicant had indicated that the future Aldi store would have 100 feet of frontage, which would comfortably accommodate the larger sign.
In its justification statement, the applicant stated that approval would allow for Aldi Food Market to display its registered trademark and logo.
“It is a typical sign that Aldi is trying to achieve,” O’Brien said. “If the sign variance is approved by this council, then the architecture will be approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission.”
O’Brien added that staff has reviewed the application and felt it has met the criterion for granting variances, since there are other properties in the village that have received approval for similar wall signs to allow for the display of the tenant’s registered trademark and logo that exceed the code restriction, including the Toyota, Mazda and Nissan dealerships on Southern Blvd.
O’Brien said the sign will be 500 to 700 feet from State Road 7.
Mayor Matty Mattioli said he had reviewed the application with the village manager and saw no problem with it.
Councilwoman Martha Webster said she liked the look of the sign with the trademark and colors. “I particularly like the look that we have gone to in some of the newer centers, and this particular center could really use some updating,” she said. “I’m glad that you’re stepping up with this, and I hope that it sets the tone for the rest of the center as it comes along.”
Webster motioned to approve the variance, which carried 5-0.
In other business, the council approved an application by Western Academy Charter School to increase its number of students from 360 to 485.
The school is located in the Royal Commerce Park and Royal Plaza Shopping Center at the northeast corner of Royal Palm Beach and Southern boulevards.
O’Brien pointed out that the student cap had been imposed by the council when it approved the initial application in 2003.
In 2008, the council approved the school’s expansion into Royal Plaza, but there was no increase in the number of students allowed, although the expansion increased the square footage from 12,679 to 21,633. He said village staff had determined that the application satisfies all traffic requirements.
Western Academy Principal Linda Terranova said the academy does not plan to increase the number of students immediately.
“We’re looking at anywhere from 380 to 390 going into the next school year, but as a high-performing charter school, the state allows us to increase our enrollment by 15 percent a year,” she said. “We can also roll up our grades. Right now, our grades are K through eight. We could go into a ninth-grade situation.”
She added that the school has also received approval for pre-K.
Western Academy received an “A” for the sixth consecutive year when the FCATs came out last week, and also received the state’s Five-Star award for high-performing schools with regard to community service and working with the community. “We’re the only charter school in Palm Beach County to ever receive that, and this is our third year getting that,” Terranova said.