DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - It could soon be much more expensive for restaurants wanting to move into Delray Beach's downtown core. City commissioners could remove an ordinance that has served as an incentive for new restaurants on Atlantic Avenue between Swinton Ave. and East 5th Avenue.
Since the 1990s the city has given new restaurants a break. New restaurant owners only paid for six public parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of business, instead of the usual 12 spaces which is more costly.
Now, many people feel there are enough restaurants downtown. Bruce Gimmy, who serves on the Delray Beach Parking Management Advisory Board, doesn't want Atlantic Avenue to look like a food court. Gimmy would rather see more retail stores.
"In the last five years, I think the saturation point for restaurant hit," says Gimmy.
But city commissioner Adam Frankel says removing the incentive for restaurant could backfire. He says he was approached by someone who wants to open a popular restaurants chain downtown, and hire 90 people. However, Frankel says this person won't move in if the parking requirements are increased.
"He says it would cost him an extra $400,000 and he isn't willing to spend that kind of capital to come to Delray."
City commissioners will consider the change at a meeting next week.