August Council Approves Briger Tract NOPC

Briger Tract

At the August Council Meeting last evening, modifications for the Briger tract development plan were proposed, providing new detail for the design of two intersections on Donald Ross Road, and a Notice of Proposed Change (NOPC) was approved. As this development is a “Development of Regional Impact” (DRI), affecting other jurisdictions including the county, FDOT and the town of Jupiter, the change was approved to be sent to sent to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council and others.

There are two entrances planned for Briger from the north, both opposite Abacoa – one at Max Planck and the other at Heights Boulevard, affecting the traffic flow east and westbound from Abacoa. These intersections bracket Parkside Drive, the major intersection east of Abacoa Golf Club which currently has a traffic light, and both will require lights in the future, making a “gauntlet” of 5 traffic lights in just over a mile from Military Trail to I-95. These lights will be constructed after traffic conditions require them (as specified in the NOPC) and since the build-out will take many years to complete, may not be soon.

The town of Jupiter has registered some objections to the plan, regarding imprecise language used and the absence of a requirement for the developer to obtain the right of way for widening the intersection at Heights. Jupiter Town Manager Andrew Lukasik and Councilman Jim Kuretski attended the meeting and registered their concerns.

The development, intended as an expansion of the Scripps biotech cluster, plans 2.6M sqft. of industrial/research, 1.2M sqft. of office space, a 300 room hotel, 500K sqft. of retail and 2700 residential units. It was approved by the City Council on April 1, 2010.

Other Items

At the start of the meeting, Kim Delany, Strategic Development Coordinator for the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) gave an update on plans for rail expansion in south Florida, including Tri-rail. She noted that many grade crossings will have to be enlarged to accomodate the nortward Tri-Rail extension, several of these in the Gardens, which may have a budget impact in coming years.

Finance Director Alan Owens reported that the Fitch rating agency has upgraded the Gardens debt to AA+ with outlook to positive from stable, citing progress on pension reform among other things.

A report from Carehere – the city’s clinic operator for employees and retirees showed trends of declining costs and improving measures of employee health.

In other actions, approval was given for:

  • The PGA Plaza expansion on second reading
  • Ordinance 11, 2013 – A complex “clean-up” to the Land Development (chapter 78) section of the Code of Ordinances
  • An exception for larger signage on the upper facade of the Mellon Bank building in Gardens Plaza
  • “The Learning Center”, a 10,000 square foot day care center in near PGA National in the LA Fitness Plaza

Also, rezoning was approved for Gardenia Isles, a proposed development next to Trinity United Methodist Church on the north side of Military Trail. The Kolter group plans to build a 21 home development, surrounded by an 8 foot tall vinyl coated fence. The development is adjacent to the Ballen Isles entrance, the plan is supported by that community’s HOA.

These items were approved unanimously 4-0 (Councilman Russo was absent).

City Council Meeting – This Thursday – August 15th at 7pm

The August Palm Beach Gardens City Council meeting is on Thursday, August 15, at 7pm in City Hall.  Here is a link to the short form of the agenda.

The agenda includes:

  • A legislative update by Andrew Watt – legislative aide to Representative Pat Rooney
  • Kim Delaney of Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council with an update on Tri-Rail
  • A presentation on employee healthcare
  • New FEMA map
  • 2nd reading on PGA Plaza modifications
  • Revision to Planning and Zoning/Development Code of Ordinances
  • Several items related to Scripps/Briger Tract – turn-lane, development, intersections
  • Signage waiver for Gardens Plaza tenant
  • Amendment for LA Fitness Plaza for addition of a stand-alone day care facility
  • Gardenia Isles/Trinity United Methodist – rezoning
  • Approving employee insurance benefits – with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Guardian, and Lincoln National for Fiscal Year 2013/14.
  • Approving the 2013/2014 Master Fees Schedule

The long form agenda can be found here and it has the detailed descriptions of the items.

We get the government we deserve – and it’s up to us to watch what they do.  Hope to see you there.