The Palm Beach County Zoning Commission recommended approval Thursday, Nov. 4 of applications that would allow the Northlake Coconut Property at the southeast corner of Northlake and Coconut boulevards to build a retail gas station with a convenience store and other commercial uses.
Attorney Bonnie Miskal said the applicant has asked for a handful of requests that would convert the site to commercial use. It was previously slated for a future post office with a public ownership zoning category.
The site is surrounded by agricultural residential homes to the south, a multiple use planned development to the west, a planned community development in Palm Beach Gardens to the north and a natural area to the east.
Miskal said the applicant is requesting a change from public ownership to a multiple use planned development, which is consistent with the developments to the north and west.
The application asks for 44,005 square feet of retail use and a 5,000-square-foot convenience store with gas sales for 20 fueling stations, as well as a 6-foot opaque wall and reduced landscape buffer vegetation requirements.
“There’s some history on this site,” Miskal said. “It’s an undeveloped piece of land. It was acquired by the federal government just after the turn of the century.”
The intent was for a 21,473-square-foot post office with ingress and egress on Northlake and Coconut boulevards.
“A requirement as far as mitigation was to dedicate a significant piece of property that was part of this parcel to the east of it, so essentially, we have conservation easement to the east. We have Northlake Blvd. on the north, Coconut Blvd. on the west and Hamlin Blvd. on the south,” Miskal said.
Previous applications included access to Hamlin Blvd., which has now been deleted as a condition of approval.
“Essentially, on this plan, we have a total of 49,000 square feet of retail,” she said. “We are also proposing to add to the conservation easement and upland preserve of 1.45 acres. We are expanding the very large intersection even farther with a 30-foot dedication on Coconut. We are proposing a 35-foot buffer on Hamlin, even though we don’t have access on that street, and double what the minimum requirements are under the code.”
Sensitivity to the single-family homes to the south of the site was the consideration for the request, she said, adding that there is sidewalk access through the 35-foot buffer on Hamlin Blvd. There is also a transitional area of 9 to 22 feet along the northern 30-foot easement on Northlake Blvd.
New ingress/egress was created after the transmittal hearing where there were complaints about the Hamlin Blvd. ingress/egress.
“We have a right-out on the southwestern corner of the site,” she said. “We have a right-in on the northwestern corner of the site. We have an ingress on Northlake, and we have full access on the northeast corner of the site.”
Miskal said the development of Avenir on the north side of Northlake Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens, and a multiple-use development to the west of the site with 106,566 square feet of commercial uses have made the Northlake Coconut Property proposal appropriate for the intersection.
“This part of our county has changed dramatically since 2013, hence is the reason we believe the conditions out there are not what they were a decade ago,” she said. “That intersection has dramatically changed.”
Staff recommended approval with conditions of an additional buffer width along Coconut and Hamlin boulevards, a reduction in the number of pumps at the gas station, limited construction hours and the elimination of access to Hamlin Blvd.
Zoning Commissioner Sheri Scarborough made a motion to recommend approval of the developer’s requests, which carried unanimously.