Wellington Council Approves Changes At Village Green Center

The Wellington Village Council approved the first reading of a comprehensive plan amendment for the Village Green Center at the northwest corner of Stribling Way and State Road 7 on Monday, Dec. 11.

The shopping center is already mostly built, anchored by a Trader Joe’s grocery store.

Previously approved by Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board, the major changes to the shopping center will be the addition of medical offices as an allowed commercial use and the addition of a fast-food restaurant with a drive-through, confirmed to be a Starbucks location, in place of a retail bank with a drive-through as originally planned.

The space will also see overall updates in landscaping, hedges and berms near the area of the future Starbucks, also altering some of the parking provided in the space surrounding Starbucks. Along with the changes, there will be a slight reduction of the overall square footage of the shopping center.

The update and addition of a medical office to the center is due to demands for medical office space in the surrounding area, according to the staff report. There won’t be any changes from a development standpoint to the proposed medical buildings.

The Starbucks location will occupy more than 2,300 square feet of a more than 4,600-square-foot building, sharing the space with another retail component.

Mayor Anne Gerwig wanted to know about the increase in traffic by changing the site to have a medical versus a general office space use, as well as the increase with the addition of Starbucks instead of a bank.

“There is a small increase in traffic when you go from general office to medical office, as well as when you go from the bank to the fast-food restaurant, and all of that was addressed in the traffic study,” Traffic Engineer Adam Kerr of Kimley-Horn & Associates said. “That was reviewed and approved by the village consultant as well as the county traffic engineer.”

Kerr also confirmed there would be no parking issues, either, responding to another question from Gerwig.

“Parking requirements for medical and for general office are the same in our code,” Planning, Zoning & Building Director Bob Basehart said.

Donaldson Hearing, the agent for the applicant, said the different commercial components, being medical and restaurant retail, work in synergy with one another. He is confident in the amount of parking provided for the different components.

“Typically, your office traffic, certainly the employees there, are coming early in the morning, 8 to 9 o’clock,” he said. “They’re leaving at 5, 5:30, 6 o’clock. You’d have clients or patients who may come in and out, but actually it works very well with the dynamic of the retail that’s there.”

During public comment, Wellington resident Bobby Munden said he was not happy with the proposed changes, particularly the addition of a fourth fast-food component to the plaza.

“When you take up those spaces, it diminishes the whole complex,” Munden said.

However, the council unanimously supported the changes to the comprehensive plan and the addition of the Starbucks instead of a bank.

Vice Mayor John McGovern noted that the trend has been away from large, stand-alone bank buildings.

“I have a significant concern about what the future in that industry is,” McGovern said. “And, I think that if you combine them with putting it on that location, that would be a much more significant albatross than having the Starbucks.”

Councilwoman Tanya Siskind made a motion to approve the preliminary reading of the changes, seconded by Councilman Michael Napoleone, passing unanimously.

The final reading of the comprehensive plan amendment to Village Green Center is scheduled for a future council meeting in January 2018.