RPB Council Agrees To Swap Bank For Retail On SR 7

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved a site plan modification last week for the Royal Office Park and Toys ‘R’ Us planned commercial development on State Road 7. The change replaces a 2,925-square-foot bank parcel with a 6,336-square-foot retail office building.

The 12.65-acre development is on the east side of State Road 7 about eight-tenths of a mile south of Southern Blvd.

Planning & Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien said the proposed bank is being abandoned in favor of the retail building, which is expected to house two tenants.

In reviewing the petition, village staff found that the project meets requirements for a general commercial zoning district and for planned commercial developments as well as large-scale commercial and industrial projects 20,000 square feet and larger.

The proposed modification meets the requirements of village code and conforms to traffic patterns for the overall site.

The applicant also sought architectural approval for a style O’Brien said meets village code and generally reflects the style of the existing Toys ‘R’ Us building. The applicant also sought approval to delete a proposed arbor, which was found to be in conflict with underground utilities, O’Brien added.

The Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the modification by a vote of 5-0 at its April 24 meeting. Staff also recommended approval of the application.

The existing commercial space for Royal Office Park is 29,438 square feet. Toys ‘R’ Us is 58,341 square feet, with an additional 16,030 square feet of office space planned to the north, as well as the 6,336-square-foot retail outparcel proposed to replace the bank.

“It’s kind of nice,” said agent Don Hearing with the architectural firm Cotleur & Hearing on behalf of property owner Pebb Enterprises. “Now you’re not going to see the drive-through, and it will provide a little bit more architecture on the street. It fits very well into the overall circulation of the traffic for the site. This has been designed to tie in nicely with the Toys ‘R’ Us building, with some large tower elements and projecting planes, the use of overhangs and recesses.”

Hearing added that great thought has also been put into the site’s signage.

“Signage has been contemplated as part of our overall design so that there is ample room to have signage where it is not constrained on the elevation,” he said. “It really becomes a part of the overall composition.”

The entrances have projecting horizontal planes, which is in keeping with the Toys ‘R’ Us design and will also incorporate stack stone that will tie in with the design.

“We anticipate having two tenants within this building,” Hearing said. “The building will actually block some of the parking that is there. It will fit very nicely from a composition standpoint into the overall scheme out there on State Road 7.”

The plan continues to have cross-connectivity and cross parking across the site. “We have more than ample parking,” Hearing said. “The requirement is 505 for the site. We actually have 515 when we look at the easement we have across the site onto the Isla Verde property.”

Hearing added that the project has been very successful so far. As part of the development approval, the project has donated $5,000 toward a bus shelter, $38,413 toward wetland mitigation and $13,902 toward median landscaping.

Hearing added that the developer plans to move immediately into permitting and hopes to have it completed by the end of the year.

Councilman Richard Valuntas made a motion to approve the application, which carried 5-0.

The council also approved a variance request for reduced parking on the site, which had been previously granted variances.

O’Brien said the required number of parking spaces had been reduced from 505 to 392, but the variance before the council was actually for an additional five spaces for Toys ‘R’ Us, which was requesting four spaces for cart corrals and a handicapped parking space.

The applicant is providing an additional 41 parking spaces outside the village boundary in Wellington behind the Toys ‘R’ Us, and is providing connectivity to Isla Verde to the south, also owned by the applicant, which has a surplus of parking spaces.

“The applicant has prepared a perpetual parking and access easement over these spaces to assure they will be available for the patrons of the shopping center,” O’Brien said, adding that the applicant has conducted a shared parking study. “The study indicates that 393 spaces are sufficient for this shopping center. Between the parking spaces provided on-site, on the site directly behind the Toys ‘R’ Us, there are 433 parking spaces dedicated to the shopping center.”

The applicant has agreed to require employees to park in the lot behind the Toys ‘R’ Us, O’Brien said. In addition, the applicant has proposed cross-access with Isla Verde, which has a surplus of 82 parking spaces. The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval in a 5-0 vote last month.

“Based on the study and the amount of parking provided on-site and off-site, staff is recommending approval of this variance,” O’Brien said.

Hearing said the Toys ‘R’ Us opened during the height of the Christmas shopping season and had no issues with parking. “Even on Christmas Eve, there was more than ample parking on the site,” Hearing said.

Councilman Fred Pinto pointed out that the overall parking variance had been approved previously. “All they’re asking for is an additional five spaces to accommodate a cart storage capability,” Pinto said.

Pinto made a motion to approve the variance, which carried 5-0.

In other business, Councilman David Swift recommended the appointment of Felicia Matula as an alternate to the Planning & Zoning Commission. Matula, who ran for mayor against Matty Mattioli in 2012, is currently a member of the Recreation Advisory Board.

“My only comment is you’ll be lucky to have her,” Councilman Richard Valuntas said. “She is being stolen from my board, so I think if this goes through, then we should also advertise that we’re going to have a vacancy on the Recreation Advisory Board.”

Swift’s nomination carried 5-0.