RPB Zoners Refuse Auto Repair Shop Request After Neighbors Complain

The Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 26 voted to recommend denial of a special exception request from an auto repair shop to locate on Business Parkway after representatives from nearby businesses complained that some of the shop’s customers have been racing modified cars on the road.

Planning & Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien said applicant ProTek is seeking a special exception use to allow a 2,721-square-foot automobile service facility at 300 Business Parkway, Suite A-2, located in the village’s industrial general zoning district.

O’Brien said the application conforms with the compatibility standards of the village code.

“Staff has determined that the proposed exception comports with the village’s standards. Therefore, it is requesting approval to be sent to the Royal Palm Beach Village Council regarding this application,” he said. “There are many uses of this type within the business park.”

During public comment, Margaret Rice with a water-softening business at 240 Business Parkway objected to the application due to heavy traffic on the roadway, as well as the location of a funeral home nearby and the shop’s nature of business, which she said is car modification, including the use of nitrous oxide fuel.

“It’s a wonderful area for business, but with the noise and the fastness of cars, I think it’s very dangerous,” Rice said.

Gary Hedrick, owner of the Doll Factory, said his shop is next door and sold the property to the current owner, who said he intended to put a pharmaceutical supply facility there.

“Instead, he put in a race car shop,” Hedrick said. “There are cars, many of them with no license plates, that fly through the Westland Center PLA, which I formed… The renter here ignores all rules of the association and all rules of Royal Palm Beach. He has been operating for more than six months without an occupational license.”

PLA President Kevin Gillum, who owns Buckeye Plumbing at 310 Business Parkway, said his main concern is cars speeding up and down the road, as well as the noise.

“It’s just a matter of time before someone is hit,” Gillum said. “It’s extremely dangerous.”

Commissioner Adam Miller asked how the business owner has been operating for six months without a business license. “How can he be operating prior to approval?” he asked.

O’Brien said that is a code enforcement issue, and he had not been aware of any issues. Staff also pointed out that the applicant was there for a special exception approval, and that the failure to get a business license, as well as PLA compliance, were separate issues.

ProTek proprietor Amar Patel said his business is a performance shop, but it is engaged in true automotive repair.

“Nitrous was mentioned,” Patel said. “If we do one car per year that gets trailered in because it is a true, off-the-street performance car, yes that is true, but I feel that nitrous is being thrown around as a fear. We’re not here to modify cars and drive them up and down the street.”

Commissioner Ray Nazareth made a motion to recommend denial of the application, which carried 5-0.