Property owner Sperin LLC recently submitted a series of four concurrent proposals to the Village of Wellington which, if approved, would allow the company to build up to 62 luxury residences on a 5.55-acre parcel of land near the intersection of South Shore Blvd. and Greenview Shores Blvd.
The land, controlled by equestrian businessman Neil Hirsch, is currently zoned as a commercial recreation (CR) property and is commonly known as the Players Club, although it was most recently the home of Suri West restaurant.
Located at 13410 South Shore Blvd., the property has long been associated with the equestrian industry. However, it is located adjacent to, but not part of, Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Area.
Hirsch has owned the land through Sperin LLC since 2001, when he purchased the main parcel for $1.9 million. An adjacent parcel, included in the 5.5 acres, was purchased a year later, both from Palm Beach Polo Inc., according to Palm Beach County property records.
The proposal involves four different amendment applications that were officially submitted and filed with the Village of Wellington on Jan. 8. The applications are being kept together while working their way through the review process. The first of several public meetings on them could be held as early as March.
The first proposal, project 19-002, involves a change in village zoning rules. Currently, zoning rules do not allow for buildings to exceed 35 feet in height, except along the State Road 7 corridor. Since the proposal includes a four-story building, the zoning text changes requested seeks additional flexibility in building height.
According to the proposal, “As residential build-out has nearly been reached, and the demand for residential housing continues to increase, physical restrictions to residential development such as building height limitations must be relaxed to allow for increased residential density to meet this demand.”
Plans for the new development include a main four-story building with an underground garage housing 54 resident units, and a second three-story building, also with underground parking, accommodating another eight units, for a total of 62 multi-family residences and 145 parking spaces.
The next three proposals — projects 19-003, 19-004 and 19-005 — are specific only to the site itself. These applications are all concurrent, and they include amendments to the village’s comprehensive plan for the area, as well as the master plan and site plan for the property.
Because land development regulations require a justification of need for an amendment, the application provides an assessment of the space.
“The property is located outside the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD) and holds a commercial recreation (CR) future land use designation,” the application notes. “Other properties with a CR designation located outside of the EOZD tend to be large parcels utilized for golf courses, polo fields, and their supporting infrastructure and businesses. Unlike these parcels, the subject property is smaller and irregularly shaped, making it less suitable for these types of uses. Additionally, a saturation of commercial recreation uses exists in this area, to the point that any additional uses are less likely to be profitable than ever before. However, vacant residential use properties, particularly those which allow medium densities, are exceedingly sparse in the village.”
Essentially, the proposal argues that the current zoning of commercial recreation is not an efficient use of the land, and it would be better to address housing issues instead.
There is little point in changing the site’s future land use designation unless there is an increase in allowed residential density. Project 19-004 requests the designation for the property to be changed from commercial recreation to Residential F, or multi-family, allowing for up to 12 residences per acre. This would change the capacity for the existing land to accommodate up to 66 units, even though the request is for only 62 in total.
The site plan review in project 19-005 is intended to clean up the organization of several parcels into one plot of land for development. It also outlines information on parking and expected impacts on traffic in the area. A clear purpose of the project and intended demographic is also outlined in this project.
“The purpose of this development is to create a residential community for residents who wish to enjoy the benefits of the village’s outdoor amenities and activities without the hassle and significant cost of owning and maintaining an upscale, single-family property or estate,” the application explains. “This project is intended to be marketed to residents who would otherwise seek housing options in other parts of Palm Beach County during Wellington’s equestrian season.”
Since the project is designed for equestrian-loving residents, the location near equestrian facilities is important to the proposal.
These requests are in the earliest stages of review, with many hurdles yet to come throughout the approval process.
According to the village’s Planning, Zoning & Building Department, standard procedure for any proposal requires review by several village departments before being sent to the Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board for review. If the proposal proceeds on its current track, and passes the departmental review stage, the applications could be on the agenda for the board’s March 13 meeting.
If approved by the Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board, the proposal then proceeds to the Wellington Village Council for discussion and review. While there will be opportunities for the public to weigh-in on the issue, no formal public hearings are scheduled at this point.
All four applications are available as public records, and the documents, ranging from 12 pages to more than 100 pages, are available for viewing through the village web site at www.wellingtonfl.gov. Click on “Planning Zoning & Building” on the left side of the home page, then click on “Planning & Zoning Projects” under quick links.