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Delray Beach looking to expand its business district

City hopes to 'adopt higher design criteria for future development'
Posted at 11:01 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 23:58:28-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — For six years, Mariano Bejarano has called the Osceola Park neighborhood in Delray Beach home.

"What I like about the neighborhood is actually the historical part of it," he said Monday. "You have beautiful old houses, 100 years old."

He also likes the mixture of cultures and that it's close to the beach and downtown.

But there's a change in the air. The city of Delray Beach is looking at expanding its central business district.

"I have like mixed feelings about that because I'm up for progress, of course, but, at the same time, I feel like the city's not supporting the local people," he said.

The expansion would look something like this — south of Atlantic Avenue from Southeast Fourth Street to Southeast 10th Street in an area west of the Intracoastal Waterway along Southeast Fifth and Sixth avenues.

Delray Beach business district proposal

Anthea Gianniotes, who works for the city, said it is "a proactive effort to adopt higher design criteria for future development to foster some investment while protecting the adjacent neighborhoods and get a higher standard of development."

Gianniotes said there are a few requirements.

"We're talking about higher landscape requirements for new developments, additional architectural standards that relate to new development (and) changing the setbacks," she said.

Another area of focus is workforce housing in a time of rising rents.

"And they're focused mainly between the two (Federal Highways), so you can get a higher density there than what's allowed currently," she said. "But the exchange is that a certain percentage has to be reserved for our workforce."

The goal is to make sure it's a community for all.

"So the local people can afford to stay where they live, where they grew up," Mariano said.

The next step is back here at a city workshop on Tuesday, when the new zoning will get the approval to move ahead for a second reading.