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