The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved a request Thursday, Aug. 17 to allow three special exception uses and grant architectural approval for the Cypress Key commercial project at the northwest corner of Southern Blvd. and Cypress Head Avenue.
The 9.82-acre commercial portion is part of the 35.23-acre Cypress Key mixed-use development. In the application, the developer wanted to make changes to the previous approvals for the site plan.
“This was the approved plan back in 2014,” said Ken Tuma of Urban Design Kilday Studios, agent for the applicant. “A couple key items here: This plan had 60,400 square feet of commercial space and 60,400 square feet of office space. The new plan has 24,000 square feet of commercial space or retail space, and 100,500 square feet of office and institutional space, so the end change is actually a reduction in traffic, a very minimal reduction, but a reduction of traffic in the peak hour.”
In Tuma’s presentation, he said the retail or restaurant component, depending on the final tenant, will be 7,800 square feet. At 17,200 square feet is a building with a drive-through component that requires a special exception. There will be a courtyard in the center of the area, and there is open space and connectivity to meet the village’s requirements for “walkability,” he said.
In the same area is a daycare facility with a 210-student capacity and a 104-bed senior housing facility, both requiring special exceptions.
“We meet the parking requirements, as identified in your code. We meet the FAR [floor to area ratio] requirements. There are 485 trees being placed on this site,” Tuma said. “The pedestrian gatherings are throughout the entire site. We are requesting a special exception for a drive-through, a special exception for the childcare facility and a special exception for the senior housing facility.”
Tuma said the most important space will most likely turn out to be the courtyard in the middle of the site plan.
“It’s going to have a neat little chess board there. There’s actually going to be a protective fence, and the ability to walk to the communities just north of the townhomes, so this all becomes connected, and this becomes a very energized space. So, our other spaces, gathering spaces, surround the project,” he explained.
Councilwoman Selena Smith asked about the roofing materials for the buildings in the commercial area.
“I might be thinking of the old-fashioned metal roofs, but when it rains, do they make more noise than the non-metal roofs?” Smith asked.
Tuma said there can be subjectivity when it comes to roofing materials and the noise levels that are created when it rains.
“But the answer is yes, stainless steel typically is a little bit louder on the interior, but by the way the matting is done underneath, that noise is usually dealt with,” he said.
Mayor Fred Pinto wanted to know about the status for the senior housing facility. He asked if it was definite for the space and if a timeframe for development is set.
Tuma said that project is already moving forward.
“They’re actually in for review. In regard to specific time… they’re close to final platting,” Tuma said. “So, it’s moving forward very quickly. We’ve received our first round of comments from the village on the project.”
Pinto stressed the importance that facility has for the senior population in the village.
“I’m not trying to hold you to this, because I know you have a lot of seniors who are anxious about this,” Pinto said asking about the timeline. “Within in a year, a year of this time, somewhere around there?”
Tuma suggested that timeframe could be doable.
Vice Mayor Richard Valuntas asked about future changes to the plan, and staff confirmed that the applicant would have to return to the council if more changes are made to the application.
Councilman Jeff Hmara made a motion to approve the request for the three special exception uses and the architectural plan for the 9.82-acre commercial area, seconded by Councilwoman Jan Rodusky, and it passed 5-0.
The council also approved a request to eliminate part of a required 3-foot perimeter berm around the 35.23-acre parcel.
Councilwoman Selena Smith wanted to know what would replace the berm.
“What they’re going to be providing, which isn’t required by our code, along this, you have trees that are going to be located in that area, and then on the other side of the dry retention area, which isn’t required in our code, you’re going to have… magnolias,” Planning & Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien said.
The area of the berm slated for removal is along the west property line of the senior housing facility and contains the dry retention area noted by O’Brien.
Hmara made a motion to approve the landscape waiver, seconded by Smith, which also passed 5-0.
In other business:
• The council approved the staff recommendation to award Anatom Construction Co. the project to renovate and expand the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center.
• The council appointed Ray Nazareth, a retired real estate and business broker, as an alternate member on the Planning & Zoning Commission for the term ending March 2019.
Rodusky reviewed three applicants for the open seat and recommended Nazareth for the role. “I considered experience, skills, commitment and village diversity,” she said.
Rodusky made a motion to appoint Nazareth, seconded by Valuntas, which passed 5-0.