Posted: 1:58 pm Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
By Eliot Kleinberg
WEST PALM BEACH —Developers of the controversial condominiums proposed for the waterfront Chapel-by-the-Lake site have requested the momentous final vote, set for Jan. 6, be delayed to Jan. 21.
“This additional time will allow for the submittal, distribution and evaluation of changes to the architectural site plans and elevations that need to be submitted to the City for review in response to concerns expressed by several of the City Commissioners and the public outreach meeting,” chief planner Kerry Kilday said Tuesday in a letter to city planning and zoning director Rick Greene.
The commission would have to formally vote Jan. 6 to table the discussion, but it historically grants such requests. And Mayor Jeri Muoio said in her Dec. 11 weekly gathering with reporters that she expected the delay request and would be inclined to grant it.
“We want them to bring their best project forward,” the mayor said at the time. “They have taken some major steps, and hopefully will be satisfactory.”
Commissioners were scheduled to vote Jan. 6 on what’s, for now, twin towers of 24 and 25 stories, totaling 96 luxury units, each at $5 million plus, on the 3.2-acre open-air chapel site on Flagler Drive that First Baptist Church has a deal to sell to developer Al Adelson for $23 million.
The plans would require major waivers of city zoning rules.
Developers have said the towers will be a financial boon and a beautiful addition to the waterfront. Residents have said they will ruin that same waterfront.
After a lengthy meeting on Oct. 28, developers asked for a delay to Jan. 6. A later poll of commissioners by the Palm Beach Post indicated the plans would have been voted down.
Developers said at the October meeting they’d hold a “town hall” meeting for the affected neighborhoods, which they did on Dec. 4. They said afterward they will make design changes.
Muoio said Dec. 11 that she expected developers to have a different, likely smaller, design when they came back to city commission. She said she met with the developers after the “town hall” and “they were implementing several of the suggestions made.”
She added, “it’s probably going to be a more attractive project. Whether it is attractive enough will be determined by the commission.”
Muoio said she’s not sure at what point changes will be so great that they’ll force the developers to go back to square one and subject themselves to new votes by both the planning board and the commission.