El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association | A West Palm Beach & National Register Community

Carefree Planned Development Application Resubmitted

Important Update: The Carefree has resubmitted a Planned Development Application to the City of West Palm Beach

Carefree Developer Charles Cohen has submitted a plan which our analysis leads us to believe is largely unaltered from the one this community defeated two years ago to develop the Carefree site on South Dixie encompassing the blocks between Flamingo, Barcelona and Cordova. He is again proposing six movie theaters with 600 seats (eg, 100 per theater), approximately 8,000 square feet of restaurant space and 7,000 square feet of retail. There will be 59 rental apartments on top of all that. But he has actually decreased the amount of parking space in his proposed two story underground garage, which will still require 24 hour pumping.
The El Cid board leadership believes that the changes in the new proposal do little or nothing to reduce the impact of this oversized development on the El Cid neighborhood from traffic, parking (already challenged by Pig Beach and other commercial), noise and light pollution, and safety and quality of life concerns.

Here is a summary from the Carefree 6 at Flamingo Justification Statement:

  1. Application for rezoning to Commercial Planned Development:
  • A Rezoning from General Commercial (GC) to Commercial Planned Development (CPD) with underlying General Commercial (GC) and nine (9) Waivers.
  • A Site Plan for a mixed-use project that includes a theater, retail & restaurants, 59 townhome and apartment residential rental units, and a 2-level subterranean parking structure.
  1. Intensity:
  • 1.5 FAR – no change from previous submission
  • 67% lot coverage – asking for waiver to 60% - no change from previous submission
  1. Height reduced one floor:
  •  The updated project modifies the height and massing of the El Flamingo Building by reducing the height from 71’ 10” to 57’ (a 15’ reduction – equating to a little more than one story in height) and the El Cordova Building from 58’ to 44’ (a 14’ reduction – equating to one story in height).

3. Two-story theatre, 600 seat: No change from previous submission

4. Restaurants and Retail on first floor: No change from previous submission

  • Restaurant 6,920 sq ft
  • Retail 8,748 sq ft
  1. Residential increased by one unit
  • Was 58 rental units now 59 rental units
  1. Two-story underground parking: Reduced spaces from 405 to 378, same concerns
  • Placement above an aquifer requiring 24 hour pumping,
  • Drilling two stories below grade in a historic neighborhood with homes from 1920s,
  • Visitors parking on neighborhood streets to avoid valet, or for their own preference/convenience
  1. Traffic in and out of Flamingo, Barcelona and Cordova - less protection of traffic thru neighborhood
  • Previously offered a “bulb out” to discourage turning into the neighborhood from the garage – now offering directional signing and pavement stripping
  1. Requested Waivers:  9

Waiver #1 PD Size:   All Commercial Planned Developments (CPD) shall be a minimum five (5) acres in size. This area is 1.8671 acres.

Waiver #2 Frontage/Setback Orientation:  South Dixie Highway as the front

Waiver #3 Front Setback (South Dixie Highway):  Section 94-243 – Table VIII-3 – The Commercial Planned Development with underlying General Commercial (GC-PDD) Property Development Regulations require a 15-foot front setback based on a building with a height of 57 feet, specifically for the west property line of El Flamingo at the South Dixie Highway frontage, Carefree is requesting a 5’ setback.

Waivers #4 Lot Coverage:  Section 94-243 – Table VIII-3 – The Commercial Planned Development with underlying General Commercial (GC) Property Development Regulations allows a Maximum Lot Coverage of 60%.  Carefree Lot Coverage of 67%, requiring this waiver of 7%.

Waivers #5 Impermeable Surface: Table VIII-3 provides for a maximum impermeable surface of 85%. The site plan is showing 97% impermeable surface, requiring a 12% waiver.

Waivers #6 Landscape Area:  Section 94-243 – Table VIII-3 – The Commercial Planned Development with underlying General Commercial (GC) Property Development Regulations requires minimum landscaping area of 15%.The site plan demonstrates an overall landscape area of 10%, requiring this waiver of 5%.

Waivers #7 Open Space:  Table VIII-3 also requires a minimum open space area of 40%. The site plan demonstrates an open space area of 33%, thus requiring a waiver of 7%.

Waivers #8 Landscape Buffer:  Section 94-443(d) requires a 10-foot landscape buffer strip along each property line. The Applicant seeks a waiver from the standard 10-foot buffer requirement along each property lines, along Dixie Highway.

Waiver #9 Signage
A waiver from the City’s signage regulations has been requested to provide unique signage for the project’s theater.

The El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association continues to have concerns about the impact of this development on our community.  If you would like more information, the Carefree is on the agenda of the Planning Board’s Plans and Plats Review meeting, that will be held in City Hall September 8, 1 pm.   We also will have an opportunity to have a presentation to our community by the Carefree team. We will keep you up to date as meetings are scheduled.

Your involvement is encouraged!  If you would like more information about the project, or how to become involved, please email us:  [email protected]

The El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association
Board of Directors