Through all the ups and downs, the tiny town of Briny Breezes has maintained its configuration as a mobile home park that’s a corporation that’s a municipality — all on some of the most prime oceanfront property in Palm Beach County.
Now “Briny” might finally be giving up that distinction. In documents for today’s meeting of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, the town has applied for permission to update its 1989 “comp plan” and allow permanent houses.
On March 28, the town conditionally approved a 10-year comprehensive plan that would allow mixed-use along the town’s frontage on the west side of State Road A1A: two- or three-story buildings with commercial and retail use on the bottom and residences above.
Mayor Roger Bennett said in early March that the strip likely would include a casual restaurant and bar but also a pharmacy, doctor’s and dentist’s offices, and perhaps a minor emergency clinic.
The regional planning council is expected to bounce the plan back to the town for tweaks before a final OK.
Bennett did not return calls and town attorney Jerome Skrandel declined to comment.
A memo for today’splanning council meeting said Briny’s package needs “greater detail regarding the intended scale and intensity of redevelopment.” Among other things, it asked the town to specify height of buildings, units per acre, the maximum to be commercial.
For decades, developers have courted the 47.3-acre mobile home park near Boynton Beach, which sports 600 feet of oceanfront and 1,100 feet along the Intracoastal Waterway. Residents had always waved them away, insisting no amount would be worth losing the unique lifestyle that had vanished from so much of Florida.
Then, in December 2006, Ocean Land Investments offered to buy it for $510 million and convert the 448 mobile home sites to a high-rise condo complex.
A half billion dollars was a lot to turn down. That would have made many residents instant millionaires. And it would let them cash in before a hurricane made everything moot. But it also would have meant up to 12 20-story towers, with 900 condo units, 300 time shares and a 350-room hotel.
The deal eventually collapsed.
The town, struggling like all other municipalities with declining property values, has to deal with sewers, streets, and power that continue to deteriorate.
Back during the sale talks, the corporation signed a deal with the Washington-based law firm Duane Morris to negotiate that or any other potential sales. The contract expired in April and the law firm ate any outstanding legal fees.
Staff writer Emily Roach contributed to this story