County Commission Approves Coconut Palm Plaza Application

The Palm Beach County Commission on Monday, Nov. 22 approved the adoption of an amendment for Coconut Palm Plaza at 12422 Northlake Blvd., which includes a gas station with a convenience store and more than 44,000 square feet of other retail uses.

Attorney Bonnie Miskal, representing the 11.25-acre Coconut Palm Plaza, located at the southeast corner of Northlake and Coconut boulevards, said she had been before the board a few months ago when they were asking for transmittal of land use amendment maps to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for its approval on the changes from public ownership to retail use.

“It was transmitted, there was no objection, and we’re back before you this morning,” Miskal said. “The request is to go from the future residential land use of one per 20 acres to a proposed future land use designation of commercial low [density]. Also, we have a zoning map amendment from public ownership to multiple use planned development with 44,005 square feet of retail, plus a 5,000-square-foot convenience store with fuel sales.”

The applications received 7-0 approval of transmittal by the county commission several months ago, as well as 14-0 recommendation of approval by the Palm Beach County Planning Commission, and 7-1 recommendation of approval by the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission, she said.

The site is abutted by residential uses to the south in The Acreage, Avenir under construction to the north in Palm Beach Gardens, a conservation area to the east and a currently undeveloped site to the west that has been approved for 106,000 square feet of commercial use, including a grocery store, a gas station and other retail uses.

“This was originally part of a larger site,” Miskal said. “The conservation site to the east, which is dedicated in perpetuity, was part of this site years ago.”

The site itself was once designated for a 21,473-square-foot post office with ingress and egress off of Coconut and Northlake boulevards, but the property was declared surplus by the federal government and sold in 2013.

The current proposal includes a 1.45-acre upland preserve to be added to the conservation area to the east, an increased buffer to the south from 15 feet to 35 feet separating the residential area, a 30-foot right of way dedication to the west on Coconut Blvd. and a 50-foot rural parkway easement to the north on Northlake Blvd.

“We have modified since we were last before you our driveways on Coconut, we have a right in and right out on Coconut, and we have closed the access on Hamlin Blvd. altogether,” she said.

There is also a right in on Northlake Blvd., as well as full access to the far east, as had been approved before.

Reiterating the changes in uses at the Coconut and Northlake intersection, Miskal said it has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. She recalled a series of workshops held recently where the intersection was identified by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council as a location where higher intensity commercial centers could be located.

“They talked about the deficiency in retail services out in The Acreage area,” Miskal said, noting that Coconut Palm Plaza is at an intersection designated for high intensity uses. “We are not recommending high intensity commercial, but a commercial low.”

Palm Beach County Planner Bryce Van Horn pointed out that all three of the other corners of the intersection had been approved for commercial uses, and that staff had recommended approval of the applications, and that it was compatible with other uses, with conditions that required additional buffering to the south.

After questioning staff and the developers’ expert on monitoring and inspections of gas stations, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay made a motion to approve the amendment, which carried 7-0.