RPB Zoners OK Variance Requests, Despite Some Concerns

The Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Commission meeting moved along smoothly on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

While all agenda items passed during the meeting, Commission Chair David Leland voiced some concerns over recent trends.

“This board is being put on the spot all too often for forgiveness rather than doing it the correct way,” said Leland after reviewing a variance request for an existing pergola. “I, myself, had a shed in the setback for 26 years, and when the hurricane blew the fence down at my home, I had to move it.”

Of the four items on the agenda, two of them were variance requests for existing structures. The first was a pergola built on a concrete slab that was already in place when the current owners purchased the home on Oleander Drive three years ago. That request passed by a vote of 4-1.

“I would probably feel differently had the slab not been there when you bought the house,” said Leland, to which the owner responded he would not have chosen to build in that spot had the concrete not already been in place.

The other variance request was for a reduced setback of 11.6 feet where the village code requires a 20-foot setback, and an encroachment of 1.6 feet beyond the seven-foot requirement for a lake maintenance easement. This item, regarding a home on Royal Court, also did not receive staff support.

“We are in a box whenever we make these recommendations. These are very strict guidelines. We don’t have the latitude that this board may take. I wanted to make that clear up front,” explained Planning & Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien, who presented an aerial view of the property. “We received a letter from a neighbor who did not have an issue with the location of the pergola. It may affect a few fish, maybe a turtle. Some things to consider.”

The variance was approved 5-0.

The commissioners also unanimously approved, with the support of village staff, the architectural plans for an exterior remodeling to the existing Arby’s restaurant located at 9970 Belvedere Road. The slight lift to the roof line and new paint colors follow along with many rebranding requests seen in fast food restaurants recently.

“As long as you are not painting something fluorescent orange, we are good for it,” Leland said.

Residents will also see updating signage for the Dunkin’ Donuts location at 171 S. State Road 7, Suite 500. The three wall signs bearing the registered trademark in the standard company colors did receive staff support.

“The sign criteria in our code requires signs to be white. The commission has approved others for registered trademarks,” O’Brien said. “Our code states that the incorporation of identifying characteristics of certain signage, such as trademarks or logos, will be given strong consideration in light of the importance such elements play within the current marketplace toward properly identifying goods and services offered on site. Therefore, staff is recommending approval.”

The request also passed unanimously.

The next meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission will take place on a different evening than usual, with the upcoming session scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.