Hunt Midwest Senior Facility, CarMax Move Forward In RPB

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council gave green lights last week for both Hunt Midwest’s senior living facility on Okeechobee Blvd. and a CarMax location on Southern Blvd. to move forward with building plans.

Hunt Midwest’s site plan was approved by the Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Commission last November. It calls for a 114-bed senior housing facility to be built at 10651 Okeechobee Blvd., across the street from Royal Palm Beach High School.

At the May 17 meeting, Hunt Midwest sought a variance to allow the senior facility to be constructed with differently sized windows than normally required by the village’s building code.

The Hunt Midwest building plan includes windows that take up 30 percent of the building’s façade, while the village normally requires windows to be 40 percent of a commercial building’s façade.

“The main difference is between the windows becoming smaller, or shorter, [instead of] the windows that went all the way to the ground,” Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien said.

Donaldson Hearing of the land planning firm Cotleur & Hearing, representing Hunt Midwest, explained that the reason for the variance is due to a conflict between Florida’s energy code and the village’s building and zoning codes.

“The Florida energy code basically limits the amount of glazing on a structure up to 30 percent,” he said.

Hearing added that the village’s code is really dealing with commercial sites. While Hunt Midwest is zoned commercial, it is more of a residential structure.

“In this particular case, it’s not possible to go up to a 40 percent glaze,” Hearing said.

Plans have already been submitted to building officials for permits, Hearing added. “Things are moving forward quickly,” he said. “These are 100 percent plans that are ready to move forward. This is just simply a matter of dealing with the building code.”

The council approved the first reading of Hunt Midwest’s variance request 5-0.

The proposed CarMax used car dealership is planned to be built on a vacant 13.47-acre site on Southern Blvd. between the Village Shoppes plaza and Al Packer Ford West. CarMax representatives sought special exceptions from the council in order to move forward with building plans.

On behalf of CarMax, Centerpoint Integrated Solutions requested landscape waivers from the building code and requested a site plan with special exception uses and architectural approval.

The landscape waivers requested that the village eliminate a required three-foot-high berm along the south property line and to allow some royal palm trees to count as a one-to-one ratio for the required shade trees, in order to enhance visibility of the building and its inventory parked outside on the dealer lot.

Both landscape waivers and the site plan were approved 5-0 by the council members.

Also at the meeting, the council finalized its previous approval to amend the village’s code to include specific regulations in relation to vehicle auction sales — another requirement of the CarMax project.

In accordance with the council’s requests made at the previous meeting, the amendment will specify that vehicle auctions are to be limited by specific rules — such as auctions being no more than 25 percent of total hours of operation, permitting no more than two vehicle auctions within a seven-day period and that nighttime auctions be strictly held inside of a building.

With the approvals in place, council members said they look forward to the CarMax project becoming reality. “You guys can really get moving on this now,” Mayor Fred Pinto said. “Good luck.”

The meeting kicked off with the council awarding $1,000 scholarships to 10 hardworking high school graduates who reside in Royal Palm Beach.

Each year, the Royal Palm Beach Education Advisory Board chooses 10 graduating seniors with remarkable academic records to give the scholarships to.

“This is one of our favorite days of the year,” Pinto said.

This year’s winners were: Ethan Caballero, Lindsay Eisenstark, Matthew Emerick, Madeline Gaugler, Alaa Hamed, Miranda Hill, Tasha Joseph, Amaya Maragh, Dillon McGovern and Zachary Vera.