City shifts focus on controversial hotel project, poll results show voter disapproval

City working to educate public on misconceptions

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The City of West Palm Beach is regrouping on a controversial downtown building height limit after it received results from a poll it was not expecting.

Results show the majority of voters polled would not approve lifting a height limit at the old city hall site above the current five-story marker previous set.

What is at stake is a piece of land pressed up against the intracoastal near Banyan Boulevard and S. Olive Street.

The city wants to sell it along with the stretch of land in downtown that would include the property where the old city hall sits.

According to the city, the only issue for potential buyers is that companies could not build a structure, in this case a hotel, higher than the one currently standing on the property.

City Spokesperson Elliot Cohen said on Sunday the city is moving away from putting the issue up to a vote. Instead, he said the city wants to educate the public because they feel there are many misconceptions.

"We don't think people understand the details of this particular project. We don't think people understand that if we build a small building here the city is going to get $2 million for something it paid $6 million, something that probably is worth close to $10 million," said Cohen.

The city also received three renderings from three different hotel projects. Two go beyond the current five-story limit and one project stays within the height restrictions.

The city fears if it sticks with a five-story hotel, it will not generate the money the property is worth.

The city is set to discuss the issue at a meeting on Monday that begins at 3:00 p.m.

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