Current Board Topics of Discussion
The Board of Directors of the El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association is currently focused on fact finding and discussing the following issues. We try to limit our area of focus to El Cid and the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to us. For more information or to get involved, please visit the Contact Us page.
The Carefree Commercial Development Project in the El Cid Historic Neighborhood
The El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association has immediate concerns related to the Carefree’s latest Planned Development Application, which was submitted on August 9, 2022. Our analysis leads us to believe that this new application is largely unaltered from the one presented and withdrawn two years ago.
The Carefree site on South Dixie stretches across the blocks of Flamingo, Barcelona and Cordova Roads. Here is a summary of what the developer is proposing:
- Rezoning to a Commercial Planned Development (CPD). This will require a waiver as Commercial Planned Developments (CPD) are to
be a minimum of five (5) acres in size. This area is 1.8671 acres.
- Six movie theaters with 600 seats in total
- 15,607 square feet of restaurant and retail shopping on the first floor
- 59 rental apartments
- A two-story underground garage, which will require invasive pile drilling, which could affect the foundations, walls and interior floors of
the historic homes in the area. The project is anticipated to take three (3) years to complete and may require pipes for pumped water
to be installed down each of the directly affected roads causing resident loss of car access to their homes for up to a year. After
completion, 24-hour pumping will be needed to remove the water intrusion from the aquifer over which it is sited.
- The proposed five (5) story building in our historic district will tower over the one- and two-story adjacent homes affecting light into this area.
- The garage parking has been reduced from 405 spaces to 378 spaces despite no reduction in the number of expected customers
- Nine (9) waivers that request reductions in setbacks, impermeable surface area, landscape area, and open space area while increasing
intensity and mass on the site.
It should be noted that the Carefree Application contains no meaningful mitigation protections for the intrusion into our historic neighborhood. Also note, if this massive project is approved on less than half the space that is required, with nine (9) waivers it will set a precedent for future large development projects on South Dixie.
For more details on this development, click here for the Carefree Justification Statement
Belvedere Development between Olive and Dixie
Projects on both the north and south sides of Belvedere between Olive and Dixie will be undergoing restoration or redevelopment. The Biba Hotel, on the south side, is currently undergoing restoration.
The retail plaza on the north side has been sold to a subsidiary of the Frisbie Group, a real estate investment and operating firm based in Palm Beach.
Click here for the Frisbee development presentation
Over the next couple months restoration work will continue with the creation of the seagrass habitat surrounding the islands. So far 7 acres of the 29 acres of seagrass habitat have been created and this past summer County biologists observed three different species of seagrass in the shallow areas around the islands with up to 31% seagrass coverage. The construction of the islands have been completed by creating 3.5 acres of mangrove habitat, 0.75 acres of tidal flats, and 1.6 acres of bird habitat.
In partnership with the City of West Palm Beach, the construction of two new mangrove planters along the seawall at Monceaux Park is also complete. ERM and the City of West Palm Beach will coordinate and schedule saltmarsh cordgrass and mangrove planting events in the coming months.
One of the most visible successes of the project is the wildlife attracted to the islands. This past summer the coastal bird nesting story at Tarpon Cove continued with 42 black skimmers creating approximately 12 nest and 310 least terns within an estimated 32 nests in early August. One inspection in early August FWC Biologists confirmed 36 black skimmer chicks and 79 least tern chicks. An inspection in late August counted over 100 black skimmers. This is the third year of nesting black skimmers and the second year for least terns. In addition to the black skimmers and least terns, a pair of American oystercatchers successfully nested on the islands for the fourth year and raised their chick to fledge. Other birds observed are great blue herons, black-necked stilts, Wilson plovers, white ibis, roseate spoonbills, osprey and a wide variety of gulls. FWC fisheries researchers conducting quarterly monitoring over the past year captured a total of 780 animals comprising of 20 different taxa. FWC molluscan (oyster) researchers monitoring both natural sites and restoration sites throughout the LWL, has documented the Tarpon Cove site has the highest mean density of oysters at 309 oysters/m2 of all the monitoring sites. Learn more about the Department’s restoration work within Lake Worth Lagoon at www.pbclakeworthlagoon.com
The Belvedere Gateway project is nearly complete following a replanting of the median between Dixie and Olive. We look forward to the installation of a new El Cid monument in the next several months.
An initiative between The City of West Palm Beach and the El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association for the beautification and conservation of our neighborhood resulted in three phases of tree planting over the last several years. Nearly 70 hurricane palms were installed in the swales of the El Cid member-resident properties who previously requested and were approved for these trees. The Association is pleased to announce that this program will continue on an individual basis. El Cid residents, who are members of the El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association, may request a tree for the swale in front of their property by sending an email to [email protected]. Requests for trees other than palms may be considered under limited circumstances. All participating properties must have an irrigation system and member/residents must commit to proper care of the tree after installation.
This initiative was made possible through the tireless efforts and generosity of an El Cid resident. We are very appreciative of his ongoing efforts on behalf of our community.