Zoning plan would change town’s quality of life

By Elinor Belfer:

Bobbie Lindsay-Buck, in her Nov. 3 letter to the Palm Beach Daily News, asks “are you willing to trade a little more density and height [mostly on the Sunset side of the block] … to offer appropriate redevelopment?” Should the response be yes or should it be no? By placing “Sunset Avenue” in parenthesis, she and the town render Sunset Avenue subservient to Royal Poinciana Way.

Much debate has focused on the changes in density and height being proposed for the five-acre PUD-5 block. But there has been little, or no, serious discussion or concern regarding some other code changes that would affect quality of life and life-safety issues for town residents.

For example, curb cuts will be eliminated for any new development on Royal Poinciana, and all egress and ingress will take place on Sunset Avenue. This will complicate and intensify the traffic pattern. What about service and delivery vehicles? Where are they going to park? These are consequential changes. Where is the data and analysis to support this reckless change? Where is the data and analysis that assures Sunset Avenue property owners and others who travel along this important street will not be negatively impacted, that they won’t find themselves snarled and trapped when attempting to turn onto County Road or travel down Sunset Avenue? The value of Sunset Avenue properties will be placed in jeopardy, all this to maximize the value of the Royal Poinciana parcels.

Despite rosy predictions about beneficent alterations to the code, we must be realistic and vigilant and ask what could go wrong and would severely affect the town’s quality of life and safety due to these code changes.

As a footnote, Ms. Lindsay is identified as having been a member of the Royal Poinciana Way Committee, as well being a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission (which approved the PUD-5 plan).

What was not mentioned is that she also sits on the Civic Association’s executive committee. Three other association directors also sat on the advisory committee. The Civic Association has been playing a very active role behind the scenes to gain passage of this plan. In the absence of crucial studies or transparency about who is going to build what, I wonder why the association is supporting these changes.

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