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There will be no Amazon facility in the Village of Golf.

The Village Council just voted 4-1 to deny Amazon’s request to build a $25 million last-mile distribution facility on 17 acres at the southeast corner of Woolbright Road and Military Trail west of Boynton Beach.Its staff concluded the project “is not in keeping with the quality of life” within the village, home to about 300 people.

The vote, on a zoning change that would have permitted the Amazon facility, came at the end of a five-hour meeting. Tom Lynch cast the sole vote in support of Amazon. The rejection represents a rare rebuff for the e-commerce giant, which has generally been welcomed into communities for the jobs it creates and the extra taxes its buildings generate. The Village of Golf project was expected to generate more than $400,000 in annual local, school and county taxes.

Opponents Say Centers Such As One Proposed By Amazon Belong In Industrial Parks

Amazon’s last-mile delivery stations are the final stops prior to direct delivery to customers. They are much smaller than the fulfillment networks that are often 1 million square feet and are comprised of state-of-the-art technology to support processing customer orders.

In October, Amazon opened a 96,000-square-foot last-mile warehouse west of West Palm Beach. And it expects to build much larger fulfillment centers in suburban Jupiter and Boca Raton.

The argument that the proposed Golf site was too close to residential areas resonated with village council members, as critics claimed these types of facilities belong in industrial parks.

Current zoning in the village permits seven separate warehouses on the site, totaling more than 100,000 square feet. Amazon was looking to change that zoning to permit a taller, single 72,000 square-foot building.

There was intense opposition from residents within the Village of Golf itself and nearby Delray Dunes Golf & Country Club, which hired its own experts to testify against the zoning change.

Amazon attorney Harvey Oyer noted that numerous concessions were made to address issues that area residents had raised. The building height was lowered, and the building was redesigned at great expense to reduce impacts on Quail Ridge, the community most impacted. The changes were enough to gain the support of the golf-course community. And to sweeten the pot, Oyer said his client was prepared to deed over a 2.3-acre site on the parcel to the village, a donation worth more than $2 million.

But one resident said, in response: “You put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig. This is an industrial warehouse in my back yard. This is not suitable in a residential area.”

Developer Plans To Build Seven Separate Warehouses On 17-Acre Site

The village staff expressed concern over Golf’s ability to withstand legal challenges from Amazon if, in the future, Amazon should ever sue over agreements negotiated between it and the village.

Village Manager Christine Thrower-Skinner has previously questioned what might happen if Amazon ever relocated from the Village of Golf site.

“The Village would be stuck with an empty single-purpose build with a limited opportunity for reuse,”  Thrower-Skinner said.

Steve Mackey, the developer who owns the land, said he will now move ahead with  plans to bring the seven warehouses permitted under village zoning to the property. He said he believes the Amazon plan would have been more appropriate for the site.

Oyer argued that the seven-warehouse plan will result in even greater density and more traffic than the last mile-distribution facility, whose trucks would enter and exit during non-rush hour periods.  He questioned the criticism that the village does not have the resources to withstand a legal challenge from Amazon.

“What about Publix or other corporate entities? Is if fair to single out Amazon?” Oyer said.

 

Source: Palm Beach Post

Amazon wants to build a 65,000 square-foot distribution center at the intersection of Woolbright Road and Military Trail near Boynton Beach but nearby communities are not exactly putting out the welcome mat.

Delray Dunes and Quail Ridge, two large golf-club communities, are gearing up for a major fight to kill the project.

Most Amazon facilities, they note, are in industrial centers, not adjacent to large residential communities. Amazon’s agent recently met with Village of Golf planners to request major changes to the town’s growth plan in order to accommodate the facility. Village of Golf Manager Christine Thrower said the process has just begun. Agents for Amazon were told to revise their plans to see if they can be made more palatable to area residents. Thrower said she expects the project to be discussed again at a meeting in January.

Amazon wants to build a 65,000 square-foot distribution center at the southeast intersection of Woolbright Road and Military Trail.

But the two communities along with the Coalition of West Boynton Residential Associations are expected to argue the location is not appropriate for an Amazon distribution center despite the nearly 100 jobs it may create.

The world’s biggest online retailer recently broke ground on a 1 million square-foot facility on 100 acres in the Palm Beach Park of Commerce, which lies west of Jupiter near the Beeline Highway. The company announced in July that it plans to open a delivery station in Boca Raton this year. Last October, it opened a 96,000-square-foot delivery warehouse on Belvedere Road near Florida’s Turnpike west of West Palm Beach.

With around 300 residents, the Village of Golf is one of the smallest communities in South Florida. It encompasses about 530 acres, including a Publix supermarket that is currently under construction. The supermarket, a self-storage facility, a gas station and retail outlets are all part of a master plan recently approved by the town as are the seven warehouses that Amazon wants to replace with one building.

The Village of Golf location would be an operation similar to Amazon facilities on Belvedere Road and in Pompano Beach in Broward County. Large tractor trailer trucks drop off packages to the facility that are then sorted and placed onto scores of delivery trucks.

“This is basically an around the clock 24/7 operation that is not suited for our community,” Delray Dunes said in a letter to the Village of Golf. “The high-intensity industrial use contained in a single 44-foot-tall building is not compatible with the surrounding communities and will impact all of us negatively.”

A number of Village of Golf residents also said they were opposed to the project during the recent meeting.  But Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, told The Post that critics should understand that the 10-acre site is already approved for seven separate warehouse buildings that would generate far more traffic and employ far more people than the Amazon facility. Those seven warehouses would total 100,000 square feet as opposed to the 65,000 square-foot Amazon building.

Thrower said Amazon would need to either seek special exceptions or a zoning change to build one 65,000 square-foot building to replace the already approved seven buildings.

Delray Dunes noted that approving the plans would amount to a drastic reversal of a zoning code that has fostered “low density, neighborhood commercial development.” It questioned why the town would consider locating “industrial development” adjacent to Quail Ridge and Delray Dunes.

The Village of Golf has for the past 65 years held to a two-story height limit, even on its current commercial development in keeping with the surrounding residential neighborhood, Delray Dunes noted.

And Quail Ridge said it was concerned about noise pollution caused by back-up alarms on trucks and other heavy equipment that “will pierce the peaceful nights that our residents enjoy.” Even more important is that approval of Amazon’s plans will “set the precedent for years to come in future development of that property as well as the remaining unsold property along Golf Road.”

 

Source: Palm Beach Post