RPB Zoners Discuss Potential De-Annexation, New Turf Rules

The Royal Palm Beach Planning & Zoning Commission met Tuesday, Feb. 27 and discussed a number of items, including requests by several businesses working on fresh façades and new signage. Meeting as the Local Planning Agency, the board took up a unique request for de-annexation and new rules for artificial turf installation.

The vast majority of the South Florida Fairgrounds property is in unincorporated Palm Beach County. However, a 3.72-acre parcel typically used for overflow parking is actually in Royal Palm Beach’s municipal boundaries.

The vacant strip of land is located on the north side of Weisman Way, just west of Sansburys Way. The South Florida Fair & Palm Beach County Expositions Inc., working with Urban Design Studios, has requested removing the land from the boundaries of the Village of Royal Palm Beach.

“The purpose for the de-annexation request is to allow the fairgrounds to consolidate this parcel, which they own, with the other parcels of the fairgrounds, in order to master plan all their properties collectively within unincorporated Palm Beach County,” Senior Planner Josue Leger said. “If approved by the council, the parcel of the subject property will revert back into unincorporated Palm Beach County. Staff requests a recommendation of approval be submitted to the village.”

Urban Design Studios’ Lentzy Jean-Louis explained that the site is rather isolated, with only 37 feet of the northwest corner being contiguous to Royal Palm Beach. This is only two percent of the external site boundary overall.

The commissioners supported the request unanimously.

The board also looked at an amendment to the village’s code of ordinances to address the issue of artificial turf being installed in back yards and similar areas around the community, despite being against the rules.

“The use of artificial turf is becoming more prominent,” Village Attorney Amity Barnard said. “The current village code prohibits artificial turf in its entirety, so the reality is, it was starting to go in places despite the prohibition — particularly in rear yards. So, the thought from staff was to get something codified that addresses it so that in the event that it is installed, it’s installed to specifications that the village wants in terms of material and longevity.”

The table in the ordinance is very detailed and carefully explains the proposed requirements. While the commissioners supported the ordinance, it will still require approval by the Royal Palm Beach Village Council before going into effect.

Also at the meeting, the Primrose School continued with plans to modify and upgrade its property at 300 and 400 Royal Commerce Road. The request included changing the designation for part of the site from its previous use as a middle school to a college use.

Andrea Keiser, who presented to the board in October 2023 about the site’s preschool, was on hand to explain how the long-term plans will allow for an early learning training program using the preschool as a clinical site for hands-on training.

“The purpose of the site plan modification is just simply to update the plan sheets. We’re not actually making any modifications to the site at this time,” Kaiser said.

The property’s previous site plan, in place before the current occupants, included preschool up to eighth grade. “Now we’re asking for a preschool and a college,” Keiser said. “We are asking for 356 full-time students, and that is broken down into 206 preschool students and 150 college students.”

She noted that the college class sizes are limited to 30 students, so there will not be all 150 students on campus at the same time. Classes are scheduled in the morning from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., or the evening from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The request was approved unanimously.

In other business:

  • Joseph and Kristina Dye were denied their request for a variance approval to install a swimming pool at their home in the BellaSera community. The request was to allow a 5.75-foot rear pool setback where the village code requires eight feet.

Village staff did not recommend approval of the variance, even though it was pointed out that Royal Palm Beach holds to stricter rules when compared to the county.

“I agree with staff. We are setting a precedent if we approve it,” Commissioner David Leland said.

The request was denied 4 -1, with Commissioner Kamar Williams dissenting. The applicant can still take the request to the council for consideration.

  • Applications for updating signage in the Village Shoppes and Lakeside Landings were approved unanimously, as were upgraded façades for the Village Shoppes. The Nissan dealership at 9405 Southern Blvd. also received unanimous approval for an updated façade. In the Cypress Key Town Centre, the property 11925 and 11931 Southern Blvd. received approval to modify the façade, change the signage plan, add a flagpole, screening wall and fencing, and remove a menu pricing sign.