RPB Grants Changes To Aldi Conditions

By Briana D’Andrea

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council heard an update on the Aldi construction project last week.

At the Thursday, Nov. 6 meeting, Planning & Zoning Administrator Bradford O’Brien gave a presentation on the project, located on the west side of State Road 7, approximately 1,500 feet south of Okeechobee Blvd.

The grocery chain is in the process of building a regional distribution plant on the 75-acre site. In front of the distribution plant, Aldi is building a grocery store as part of the company’s major expansion into South Florida.

Aldi was requesting a change to the timing of the removal of existing vegetation from the canal bank adjacent to the site’s western property line. Initially, the intent was not to remove the existing landscaping until new landscaping was put in.

Village staff and Aldi officials concluded that the area has too narrow of a corridor for any work to actually take place.

“It is not physically possible to install the landscaping between the wall and the canal and to remove the trees — 50 feet in most cases,” O’Brien said. “We were going to leave the trees until the wall was constructed. There wasn’t any contemplation left for removal of trees. They’re asking for a seven-day relief from the time the trees come down to the time landscaping goes up on the side of the wall.”

The landscaping will be installed on the left side of the wall. The intent of the previous condition was to buffer construction activity from nearby residential areas.

“The reality is, they can’t install new landscaping while old is there,” Councilman Fred Pinto said. “So, we have to hold them to their seven days. It should be OK.”

A motion to change the condition was approved 5-0.

In order for the Aldi project to move forward, the applicant also requested a temporary variance in regard to noise levels.

The council gave the OK to exceed normal maximum sound levels so that the existing vegetation on the property can be removed and replaced with new landscaping.

The code states that noise levels should not exceed 60 decibels within approximately 120 feet, from the hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The variance requested 10 business days to complete the project, which would take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

According to O’Brien, the noise levels are expected to be 94 decibels at 40 feet from the equipment, 83 decibels at 100 feet and 70 decibels at 200 feet.

“No reasonable alternative is available to the applicant. Our staff has evaluated it and feel it meets requests,” O’Brien said. “They need 10 working days to complete construction and removal. The properties due west are going to have the most impact, and it will decrease as you move north.”

He also noted that there wouldn’t be a lapse in between the removal of the old landscaping and the installation of the new landscaping.

The motion to approve the variance passed 5-0.

In other business:

• The council approved the rezoning of two tracts of land, totaling about 10.56 acres, from Single Family to General Commercial.

The site, located on the southeast corner of State Road 7 and Pioneer Road, will be home to a number of new retail shops. The Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Commission considered the project on Oct. 28. It was given the green light, as long as a variance to add a 20-foot buffer was changed to be a 25-foot buffer, after a number of neighboring residents from the Westwood community complained about the variance change.

“We need to make zoning consistent with the future land use change,” Pinto said.

The rezoning was approved 5-0.

• The council unanimously approved the addition of “patio homes” to the RS-3 single family residential zoning district.

The change comes after the Crestwood redevelopment site at the village’s north end was approved with the addition of patio homes as one possible use.

O’Brien described patio homes as, “a single-family detached dwelling unit, which can be planned to accommodate cluster development with sheltered private outdoor living areas for each home.”

The motion carried 5-0.