Players Club And St. Rita Projects Head For Zoning Board Review

A conceptual rendering of the entrance to the proposed Players Club Residences project.

Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board will review a number of applications at its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 14, including consideration of the Players Club Residences project and a new building at St. Rita Catholic Church.

These discussions are in addition to controversial comprehensive plan amendments to the Wellington Green development that could scale back preserve land near the mall in favor of a new restaurant and additional apartment buildings, as reported previously in the Town-Crier.

The architectural firm Schmidt Nichols, representing Players Club property owner Neil Hirsch, has put forth five applications to modify the property located at 13410 South Shore Blvd. allowing the 5.5-acre parcel to become the future home of 50 luxury residences.

Two of the items are regarding building height: a comprehensive plan text amendment and a zoning text amendment to allow a building height in excess of 35 feet. These amendments, if approved, will allow for greater flexibility in the maximum allowed building height on properties located within residential land use designations. As of now, taller buildings are only allowed along the State Road 7 corridor.

The property owner is also asking for a comprehensive plan amendment to modify the future land use map designation for the property from Commercial Recreation to Residential F. Next, a master plan amendment to the PUD master plan would allow 50 dwelling units and formalize the access points that exist on the site. Finally, a site plan amendment proposes a four-story, 42-unit condo building with underground parking spaces and detached eight-unit townhouses with 14 underground spaces. The condo structure will have a rooftop pool area. The site will be gated and will be aligned with the existing intersection.

Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Building Director Bob Basehart said that the change will be a major shift for the longtime local landmark.

“For decades, it has been a restaurant and nightclub,” he explained. “They want to tear the building down, redevelop the site and put 50 condominiums there.”

The height of the proposed building is an issue, as Wellington only allows a height of 35 feet in the village, unless the building is near SR 7. Then 72 feet is allowed.

“What they are proposing is to change the height limit to 65 feet,” Basehart said. “They want to build a four-story building. They will put all of the parking underneath the building.”

If approved, these upscale, oversized condominiums will range in size from 3,800 to 4,000 square feet per unit, but it will create a smaller footprint on the five acres because the garage will be under the building and the pool on top. One of the reasons given to go higher is to be able to leave most of the site in landscaping and not destroy the habitat that is there now. There will be no parking lot outside of the parking garage.

While Wellington staff does support parts of the proposal, the issue with the height of the main structure remains a sticking point. Staff is not supporting the full height that the property owner is requesting but is working on something that both parties can live with.

The Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board will hear the petition on Aug. 14, and the project will likely head to the Wellington Village Council sometime in September.

St. Rita Catholic Church, located on the northwest corner of Big Blue Trace and Paddock Drive, will be petitioning the board to approve a site plan to demolish the existing parish center, construct a new 11,500-square-foot parish center with an outdoor play area, while reconfiguring the parking area.

The application will ask for a 2,200-square-foot daycare facility that will allow 60 youngsters ages 3 to 5 to occupy the space.

“Right now, they have a daycare center and want to expand it, so under our code, it’s a conditional use. That means it has to be approved by the Planning, Zoning & Building Department and the Wellington Village Council,” Basehart said. “With that, they also have a site plan amendment, which is administratively approved but will be shown as justification for their conditional use application.”

Currently, St. Rita has an inefficient parking lot. At mass on Sunday, cars are parked on the grass or on the street. But with the changes, parking will be improved, Basehart said.

“They will tear down the existing parish hall and build a new building off to the north side of the existing building,” he explained. “It will be a little smaller than the building now, but the revised site plan will greatly improve the efficiency of their parking.”

Colomé & Associates is seeking the approvals for the church. After the Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board, the project is also likely headed to the council in September.

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