By M. Dennis Taylor
CarMax received approval for two waivers, an exemption and an amendment at the Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday. A car wash and a senior housing facility also received approval.
Staff recommended approval of the measures, determining that the applications meet the village’s standards. All passed unanimously and will next go before the Royal Palm Beach Village Council.
Kimley-Horn & Associates filed the original application in December, on behalf of CenterPoint Integrated Solutions, which builds CarMax facilities. The parcel is located along Southern Blvd. between Al Packer Ford West and the Village Shoppes plaza, at the corner of Southern Blvd. and 105th Avenue North.
Sitting as the Local Planning Agency, the board approved a text amendment providing a new definition of vehicle auction sales, adding new regulations allowing CarMax to hold limited auctions of vehicles on their property.
Attorney Christina Bilenki presented the application saying that when a trade-in doesn’t meet the quality standards, match the clientele or has been on the CarMax lot for a long time, it is standard practice to sell the vehicle in an auction.
Development Review Coordinator Kevin Erwin said that auctions are popular and can create traffic disruptions, so the definition permitting only sales of vehicles was necessary.
Sitting as the Planning & Zoning Commission, the board approved a landscape waiver that eliminated a mandated berm. This will allow passersby to more readily see the cars on the lot.
The board also approved accepting tall royal palm trees as shade trees on a one-to-one ratio, so the property will have a similar look to its neighbor, Al Packer Ford West.
“Without the waiver, the requirements would virtually obstruct view of the inventory,” Bilenki said.
She said that the auto retailer is projecting that it will invest $13 million into the project on land that has been vacant for more than 30 years, since the village annexed it. CarMax is not developing the entire site at this time. The plans also include construction of a future cross-access connection to the Village Shoppes.
The facility, which will retail used autos and do some maintenance, will employ 35 full-time and part-time employees.
“CarMax is the nation’s largest retailer of pre-owned vehicles,” Bilenki explained, adding that it is on Forbes’ list of the top 100 businesses.
The firm’s business model is to offer transparent prices posted on the vehicle and a five-day money back guarantee. Last year, the company sold 721,000 used cars and donated more than $40 million to charity nationwide.
“I’m excited about you being national and coming in and taking the space,” Commissioner Ray Nazareth said.
He asked about how the community would be affected.
J.M. Dixon of CarMax’s real estate team said that due to the project, the property is now on the tax rolls, and Erwin said that the village’s share of the countywide sales surtax would also benefit with additional revenue.
Also approved Tuesday was the Hunt Midwest senior housing facility that received a variance to allow for a 30 percent minimum window façade, instead of the village code minimum of 40 percent. The reasoning was that while it is a commercial building, people will actually live there. The variance allows for an effective floor plan for the rooms, with minimal travel distance for those living in the facility, to be located on a 6.38-acre property on Okeechobee Blvd.
Clean Wave, the new owners of an existing car wash located on State Road 7 near Belvedere Road, received approval for modifications and renovations to the facility. There are also items on site that have been added by previous owners over the years, and the firm is seeking a clean, fresh start for their business that will bring the entire facility into compliance with the village.
Also at the meeting, the commissioners named June Perrin as chair and David Leland as vice chair. Ray Nazareth was named as a full-time member. The board will next meet Tuesday, May 22.