Garage lights for new Greenacres auto dealership have some seeing red

If the north side of Lake Worth Road, east of the E-3 canal, looks a lot brighter several months from now, there’s a reason.

The Greenacres City Council at Monday’s meeting unanimously approved a site plan amendment that will allow a four-story, 31,290-square foot garage to be built next to the Nissan dealership that’s under construction.

Some residents who live next to the site have complained the garage lights are not welcomed and will shine into their homes.

“We’re talking about massive stadium lights right by my house,” Joseph Wagner, who owns a little more than two acres behind the planned 46,764-square-foot dealership, told The Palm Beach Post in June. “That structure will tower over my yard. It’s ridiculous.”

At Monday’s meeting, Mayor Sam Ferreri also expressed concern.

“This (garage) is going to glow like no tomorrow,” he said.

Councilwoman Lisa Rivera echoed Ferreri’s comments.

“I’m happy to see the business and I’m happy to see the jobs, but lighting will truly be an issue for those homes in the back,” she said.

The garage isn’t for the public and will only be used by Nissan staff members to stack cars for inventory. The garage will have a capacity to house up to 325 vehicles.

City staff approved the amendment with 12 conditions, including the garage light sources shall not be visible from the adjacent residential properties to the north and that the lights on the top level will be turned off when the dealership closes at 10 p.m.

The lower-level lights will remain on for security purposes.

The city also requested the site be heavily landscaped with trees and shrubs to act as a buffer.

Urban Design Kilday Studios, the West Palm Beach land-planning and architectural firm working on the project, has said the site will feature LED lights on the wall as opposed to being placed along the ramps.

“They have really worked with us to try to make this work,” said Kara Irwin-Ferris, acting planning and engineering director.

The project has been marred by controversy for months.

Wagner has claimed TT of Jennings Inc, the company building the dealership, has asked the city for unnecessary variances so it didn’t have to buy the land it needs.

According to city code, seven acres is needed to build a car dealership at that site, but TT of Jennings received a variance from the city’s Board of Adjustments to build it on six acres.

As for the garage, the company originally wanted to build a garage with a 35.5 percent lot coverage and was seeking another variance to do so. But this past summer, that request was hastily withdrawn after residents balked.

The garage now has a 30 percent lot coverage, which is what city code allows.

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