The Preservation Foundation

Talking Points Memo on Royal Poinciana Way Zoning Overlay District
Posted Date 02/12/2012

Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach Talking Points Memo:

Testa’s Application for Royal Poinciana Way Zoning Overlay District

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1. Before the Town Council at 9:30am on Wednesday, February 14th will be a proposal by Testa’s for a mixed-use overlay district in the Royal Poinciana Way area. It would create a 10% increase in lot coverage, a 200% increase in height and floorage, and a 400% increase in density.  Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission have called those numbers arbitrary and seemingly picked out of a hat.

2. This is growth, not redevelopment.  Redevelopment is natural and evolutionary.  Growth is a choice to change the reason why we do things in our town.  Redevelopment reflects that what we do may change but why we do it must remain firm and stable.  Redevelopment reflects a consistency of purpose. Growth reflects the seeking out of a new purpose.

3. Redevelopment works when it comes from the shared interest between an applicant and our community, as opposed to focusing on the special interest of one group.  What are the problems the overlay district seeks to fix?  Are they community problems? Is this a community solution? Will a specific advantage to a particular landowner be created?

4. Is there a public consensus? Since this issue began in October there have been 12 letters to the editor in the Palm Beach Daily News on it. 10 have been against it and only 2 for it.  As the Palm Beach Daily News has reported “The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach and the Neighborhood Alliance of Palm Beach oppose the overlay. . . The Palm Beach Civic Association has said the overlay as proposed would allow too much density. 

5. Town Council President David Rosow has said, “we should look at an applicant’s request and determine whether it is in the best interest of our community.” The best interest of our community is stated in our comprehensive plan which clearly directs the town “to minimize the change or transition of existing low-density areas or structures to more intensive use patterns, and thereby lower the pattern of density” and “to prevent critical and dangerous overuse.”  Further, it states that it is “to be a major objective of the town to inhibit further commercialization.” Are goals of the overlay district consistent with these goals of the comprehensive plan?

6. On April 14, 2010 when a similar overlay district was last proposed Councilman Bill Diamond opposed it on the grounds that “there will be greater bulk within the district.”

7. Just a few months ago on October 12th, 2011 town condominium residents came before the Town Council asking that recently combined condos be allowed to be split back creating higher density. The Town Council pushed the idea aside.

8. At that October 12th meeting Town Council President Rosow said that it would create a doubling in density of which no one would be in favor.

9. At that October 12th meeting Councilman Bob Wildrick stated “as far as disrupting the whole town operation to satisfy a few people I would be opposed to that; I would be opposed to the controversy that it would create; I would be opposed to the cost it would create; I would be opposed to any possible tax ramifications that could occur; I would be opposed to changing the comprehensive plan.”

10. That request by condominium residents would have created an increase in density of 59 units.  The mixed-use overlay district would be 122 units.

11. The Town must be consistent and fair in its administration and in its respect for our ideals.