Coalition: State Must Conduct Complete Review of Massive Briny Breezes Redevelopment Plan
Florida Coalition for Preservation urges DCA - who has no financial stake in outcome - thoroughly review redevelopment plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 3, 2007
CONTACT: Ryan Banfill - (850) 222-1996
DELRAY BEACH, FL - The Florida Coalition for Preservation today asked the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to conduct a complete, thorough and formal review of the proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments submitted to the Department by the Town of Briny Breezes.
While Briny Breezes officials have argued to the DCA that a critical review of the Town’s development plan is unnecessary, the Coalition strongly disagrees. “It’s imperative that the state act as an objective arbiter and conduct a complete, thorough, critical review of this massive proposal that will alter the character of Palm Beach County forever, because, unlike many in Briny Breezes, the state has no personal financial interest in the outcome,” said former Congressman Tom Evans, chairman of the Florida Coalition for Preservation. “The rubber-stamp process by which Briny Breezes approved this plan was a complete farce. It’s ludicrous to believe that, with the potential of becoming millionaires on the line, that many of the town officials conducted a thorough review before they cast their ‘yes’ votes on the plan.”
Developers have planned to erect multiple 12-to-20-story high rises on the 43-acre Briny Breezes site, to accommodate 900 condominium units, 300 timeshares, a 349-room hotel, restaurants, shopping and a yacht marina bringing thousands of new residents and workers to the area. Property owners have been offered millions of dollars for their stakes in the town - which they will receive only if the development plan is approved.
The Coalition, which includes both local residents and statewide conservation groups, announced its opposition to the plan April 26. In a letter to the Department of Community Affairs from the Coalition’s attorney, Jane West of Collins & West, P.A., West said the Coalition was “gravely concerned” with the development plan, and that “it is our position that the proposed redevelopment of Briny Breezes will be incompatible with the surrounding communities and will cause considerable strain on this fragile barrier island.”
In West’s letter, the Coalition cited the high population density planned for the development as an issue of primary concern, and it additionally cited “hurricane evacuation, environmental strains, including impacts on sea turtles and Manatees, infrastructure strains, traffic, height incompatibilities, impacts on the proposed marina, impacts on resources and the general scale of the project” - which would jam area roads with thousands of additional residents.
Department of Community Affairs Secretary Thomas Pelham will meet with concerned citizens in Delray Beach on May 22 to discuss the development plan.
“We are encouraged by the announcement that Mr. Pelham will be meeting with concerned citizens,” West said in the letter. “The Coalition looks forward to working with the DCA to find a more reasonable and compatible vision for this special part of Florida.”