The Palm Beach County Commission recently granted a unique approval which will allow a new real estate office building on the west side of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road at Orange Blvd.
Chad Hanna of Reach Estate LLC runs one of the few real estate brokerages with a physical office in the Acreage/Loxahatchee area primarily serving residents locally. His office is currently in the Acreage Publix Plaza, where it opened three years ago.
“The goal of our business is to be sensitive to the emotions that The Acreage people are feeling when they want to sell their home or when someone wants to buy a house and move into The Acreage,” he said.
Two years ago, Hanna began the in-depth process of changing the zoning on a nearby residential property to commercial low impact (CLO). It was an unusual request, but it was on one of the few residential properties where such a change could make sense, given its location on a major roadway and its proximity to the existing commercial center.
“The Palm Beach County Planning Commission approved the initiation of a land use change that would allow a real estate office and/or CLO-type business on the southwest corner of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road and Orange Blvd. designed to resemble a home,” Hanna said.
All through the process, Hanna assured everyone that his goal was to help protect the unique Acreage lifestyle.
“There is a certain sacredness to the country lifestyle. Loxahatchee and The Acreage offer plenty of land, being able to farm, great schools, abundant nature,” he said. “These are all aspects of The Acreage area that brought me and my family to the community.”
He said that his goal at Reach Estate is to maintain the uniqueness of The Acreage while bracing for the inevitable growth of the area. This is why he worked hard to get local organizations, such as the Acreage Landowners’ Association and the Indian Trail Improvement District behind his project.
“During the course of 2020, the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission and the Palm Beach County Commission hearings were held, offering the plan supported by the ALA and ITID local boards, following extensive outreach at community meetings,” Hanna said.
He was particularly proud of comments made the first time the Palm Beach County Commission looked at the proposal over the summer.
“In August 2020, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay made a motion to approve transmittal stating, ‘The rarity of the county commission, the Acreage Landowners’ Association and the Indian Trail Improvement District all agreeing on a land use change is unbelievable.’ Then, on Oct. 22, the Palm Beach County Commission approved the zoning change application by a motion of 6-0,” Hanna recalled.
The support provided for the zoning change required a limit to the commercial footprint and other constraints, adding a buffer from commercial to residential with low impact, consistent with the character of the area.
In order to allow transitional uses on Seminole Pratt Whitney Road adjacent to the commercial node at the intersection of Orange Blvd., the county is allowing exceptions to location criteria for low-intensity office uses that have a residential design and appearance. The surrounding eight parcels are not affected by a change to the rezoning or the future use. Those property owners would have to pursue their own land use change if they wish.
Hanna was pleased with the outcome.
“As evolution occurs within our community in many ways, ensuring dialogue with our community by those building businesses or initiating changes is an absolute necessity,” he said. “Not everyone knows the projects in the wind that are coming, but to know there are those with voices amidst the decisionmakers standing for some kind of inclusiveness for local priorities of greenspace and low impact can make a community that feels their rural lifestyle is fading have the opportunity to understand that there are ways to ensure some of that appeal is able to remain in the overall picture.”
To learn more about Reach Estate, visit www.reachestateteam.com.