Jeff Hmara: TCRPC Frowns On Delray Linton Groves Project

The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council recently recommended abandonment of the Delray Linton Groves project, formerly known as Iota Carol.

The project, located near The Acreage, recently got initial county approval for 1,030 residential units and approximately 100,000 square feet of commercial space on the 1,288-acre parcel.

Royal Palm Beach Councilman Jeff Hmara, the village’s liaison to the TCRPC, reported on the recommendation of denial at the Dec. 15 meeting of the Royal Palm Beach Village Council.

The Palm Beach County Commission approved a comp plan amendment requested by Delray Linton Groves for transmittal to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Oct. 27.

The approval is one of several large developments given the OK by the county commission in recent years. The commissioners approved transmittal of the Delray Linton Groves project by a 4-2 vote, with commissioners Paulette Burdick and Melissa McKinlay dissenting, and Commissioner Hal Valeche absent.

The plan changes the land’s designation from one unit per 10 acres to “western communities residential,” a newly created designation that would allow the developer up to one unit per 1.25 acres. That’s similar to The Acreage, but would increase the current 129 allowed units to 1,030 units.

The site, 2 miles west of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road and north of 60th Street North, is almost completely surrounded by GL Homes’ 4,872-acre Indian Trail Groves project, which was approved in September for a similar density, allowing the development of up to 3,897 homes and 350,000 square feet of commercial use.

“The amendment being addressed was the county’s decision to approve [an] increase in property density out there,” Hmara said. “Staff actually took a very firm stand on that from the point of view of the capacity of the road system here. We know we’ve had this discussion over the past years of the capacity of Westlake and GL Homes and others. This time around, though, it seemed that their recommendation was a lot stronger than it has been in the past.”

According to the TCRPC report, Delray Linton Groves is inconsistent with several of its goals related to transportation, energy, economic development, housing and redevelopment. Of particular concern, the proposal has significant adverse impacts on the regional roadway network, including Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, Northlake Blvd., Orange Blvd., 60th Street North, Persimmon Blvd. and Okeechobee Blvd.

TCRPC was also concerned that the attempt to balance land uses and obtain other public benefits, including the provision of recreational amenities, potential regional drainage solutions, and retaining some agriculture, will occur at a disproportionate and unmitigated expense to the road network.

The report added that the project has the potential to adversely impact the quality of life in the area in future years, and the county should abandon the Delray Linton Groves amendment, because it will exacerbate existing traffic problems and add to the backlog of needed road improvements.

“It seems that this recommendation was a lot stronger than in the past,” Hmara said. “It was stated at the meeting that there is an estimated need for $400 million of road improvements that are unfunded and unplanned. Some of the developers say those needs are overstated.”

The planning council also recommended approval of seven comp plan amendments from municipalities, including the Town of Loxahatchee Groves and the villages of Royal Palm Beach and Wellington.

The Loxahatchee Groves amendment is proposed in response to a request from an applicant to convert two parcels to commercial use, totaling 15.62 acres on the east side of B Road, about a quarter-mile north of Southern Blvd. The existing land use of the property is rural residential 5, which allows one unit per 5 acres. Adjacent land uses are the approved 90.32-acre Grove Town Center Multiple Land Use Planned Unit Development to the east and south; a wholesale nursery to the north; and the Palm Beach State College campus on the west side of B Road.

The Royal Palm Beach amendments include text changes to reflect changes in state requirements since the last time the comprehensive plan was updated. The amendments revise policies to indicate that the village shall utilize the dispute resolution process established by the TCRPC when level-of-service issues cannot be resolved by the village and a service provider, and bring intergovernmental disputes on planning and growth management issues to closure in a timely manner.

The Wellington amendment was initiated by the petitioner of the proposed 64.38-acre Village Lake Center mixed use project, which currently has a residential home use.

The Village Lake Center project, located on State Road 7, includes several uses, including restaurants, daycare, retail, hotel, multifamily housing and an assisted-living facility.


ABOVE: Vice Mayor Jeff Hmara.