Posted: 3:58 pm Monday, September 16th, 2013
By Eliot Kleinberg
West Palm Beach’s city commission should OK a proposed 25-story condominium tower at the Chapel-by-the-Lake site along Flagler Drive., city senior planner John Roach said at Monday night’s meeting.
Commissioners last week set a tentative cutoff time of 11 p.m. and said that, if necessary, they’d return in the morning to finish up.
The commission’s vote Monday would be only on first reading. A second and final vote would be at next meeting, Sept. 30.
On Monday, developers took up more than an hour and a half explaining their proposal.
First Baptist Church, which owns the 3.2-acre amphitheater site at 1112 S. Flagler Drive, has a deal in place to sell the site to the developer for $23 million for what was a proposed 29-story, 384-foot condo complex.
On July 16, the city’s planning board voted 6-0 to recommend against changing the site’s land use designation from “community service” to “multifamily,” following a five-plus-hour emotional debate over business rights and financial benefits versus a perceived loss of community aesthetics and lifestyle.
The developer then submitted a new proposal that dropped the building four floors and 57 feet, to a 25-story, 327-foot tower.
Planner Kieran Kilday also revealed that consultants for the project had improperly affixed the city’s seal on brochures the developer distributed to explain the project. “It was wrong and I apologize for it,” he told commissioners Monday.
Commissioners had juggled their agenda and moved their 5 p.m. meeting to 4 p.m. to dispose of as many items as they could before they started what they knew would be a marathon discussion.
But by 4:45 p.m., all chairs were filled at the chambers, capacity 172, and people were lining the walls. The air conditioning already was straining, but failing, to keep the packed room cool. Other people already had grabbed seats in an adjoining meeting room — capacity 191 — to watch on closed-circuit television.
Commissioners have set a tentative cutoff time of 11 p.m. and said that, if necessary, they’ll return in the morning to finish up.