by Marie Puleo, Pompano Beach Real Estate and Development Reporter
POMPANO BEACH REDEVELOPMENT: A rezoning application for a large-scale, mixed-use development on property adjacent to Aquamarina Hidden Harbour was approved by the Planning and Zoning Board last week. The application previously came before the board on July 24, but was postponed to the Aug. 28 meeting so the developer could address concerns related to height and density, and submit a revised plan.
The proposed project, called Harborside At Hidden Harbour, includes approximately 650,000 building square footage for residential, commercial and marina-related use. The revision slightly reduces the number of multi-family residential units from 309 to 302 units.
The 6.9 net acre site is located east of Federal Highway, north of NE 14th Street Causeway and south of NE 16th Street, with NE 23rd Avenue running north-to-south through the middle of it. The site is under the same ownership as Aquamarina Hidden Harbour, which currently includes a boatyard, dry boat storage building and a marina with boat slips.
The latest site plan shows a ground-floor restaurant and bar with indoor and outdoor seating and a view down the Caliban Canal. There is also a 568-space parking garage, and a marine retail space and showroom. The dry boat storage building will remain, as well as boat slips for use by customers of the marina.
A new design presented to the Planning and Zoning Board shows the height of the proposed building fronting Federal Highway (west of NE 23rd Avenue) is still nine stories, but the height of the building fronting NE 16th Street, where the boatyard is currently located, has been modified.
That building was originally designed to be nine stories, with a transition to three stories for the portion adjacent to the existing 2-story Villa Rio condominiums to the east. The revised design shows the building transitioning from nine stories down to six stories, and then to three stories.
>>>SEE ARTIST RENDERINGS OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT BELOW
Graham Penn, an attorney representing the Harborside At Hidden Harbour developer, told the Planning and Zoning Board the building on NE 16th Street was “a major point of contention for the board and the neighbors.”
“We looked at multiple ways to deal with this kind of bulk issue, and we think we’ve arrived at a very elegant solution,” said Penn.
The revised plan also includes a 16-foot by 70-foot pull-off area for boat delivery on NE 23rd Avenue. The space will accommodate boat trailers, so loading will not interfere with the roadway and create traffic issues, as it does now.
The developer wants to rezone the project site to a Planned Development Infill district, which is intended to provide flexibility to enable mixed-use development on relatively small sites within the city’s already developed areas.
Under a land use plan amendment for the property, approved last year by the City Commission and the County, entitlements include up to 323 residential units and 510,000 square feet of commercial use.
Pedestrian paths, 10 to 15 feet wide, are planned along the waterway on NE 23rd Avenue and NE 16th Street. Along NE 23rd Avenue, the plan is to extend the existing sidewalk over the water by five feet to create a wider walkway.
A pedestrian bridge is proposed to be built over NE 23rd Avenue, just south of NE 16th Street, connecting the two residential buildings on the site starting at the third floor. The pedestrian bridge would allow residents to walk from the parking garage, which is in the building along Federal Highway, to their units on NE 16th Street, while remaining indoors.
A ‘paseo’ is planned along Federal Highway, providing access into the development and creating a view corridor from Federal Highway along the canal. A small lot on the north side of NE 16th Street is slated to become a park that will be part of the development, but open to the public.
A number of residents who live in the vicinity of the project have voiced concerns about increased traffic and overcrowding.
At last week’s meeting, one resident said the property’s new zoning will result in traffic that is “way out of what our arteries can handle.”
“This is not sensible development,” he said. “You’re just asking for trouble here.”
“It’s not necessary to let them overbuild it like this,” said another resident.
Residents in favor of the project said it is “the right kind of growth and improvement for our area,” and is “Intelligently thought out.”
A member of the Planning and Zoning Board said she is “very, very concerned about the traffic flow.”
In a 6-1 vote, the Planning and Zoning Board approved the rezoning with conditions set forth by City staff, including a requirement that the developer must conduct a traffic study of the NE 14th Street Causeway and NE 23rd Avenue intersection, and the Federal Highway and NE 14th Street Causeway intersection, and resolve any issues they find.
Fred Stacer, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board, cast the only ‘no’ vote. Although he did not state the reason for his vote, Stacer had previously said it’s a good project conceptually, but there were certain things “that very much concern me.”
The rezoning application now goes before the City Commission, most likely in September. In addition to the rezoning application, the developer has submitted a site plan application which was reviewed by the Development Review Committee in July, and is still in progress. It will eventually go before the Architectural Appearance Committee and the Planning and Zoning Board. Approval of the site plan application is contingent on the approval of the rezoning application.
The project will also require review and approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the City, to verify the proposed structures won’t interfere with any approach surfaces to the runway at nearby Pompano Beach Air Park.
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