High Ridge Road apartment project approved

It was the final vote that residents and the developer have been waiting to hear for months: Would the Boynton Beach City Commission approve an apartment project at High Ridge and Miner roads?

With a first approval already done, it seemed inevitable Wednesday night that the project would get the second and final go ahead. And it did.

But not without one last plea — not from the residents, but from the city’s vice mayor.

“We’ve had discussion on the many problems that this development would bring into the community there, from safety to overcrowding and such,” said Vice Mayor Joe Casello. “We cannot shoehorn the development of 184 rentals in this stamp-sized parcel of land here.”

The apartment complex will consist of eight three-story buildings and a total of 184 residences. The apartments will range in size from 800 to 1,200 square feet with a mix of one, two and three bedrooms. The area was previously zoned for 110 single-family homes. The new master plan for the area, in addition to the apartments, includes the adjacent Imagine Charter School and athletic fields that will now be developed.

Construction should start within the next three months and the first of the apartments are expected to be completed a year from then, said Jack Weir, president of Eastwind Development, LLC.

All commissioners have in one way or another praised the project. Even Casello has said it was a good plan but for the wrong location. Mayor Jerry Taylor previously said the development might even help the traffic situation as High Ridge Housing proposed a four-way stop sign in the area for a trial period. Taylor said maybe the county would even widen the road in the future.

Opposition for the project comes from mostly Cedar Ridge residents. Those residents say there is already a traffic problem on High Ridge and that more vehicles will just further the situation. Support comes from parents who have children at the charter school and employees of the school. They favor it because with an approval of the apartments comes a field for the adjacent school.

The project’s future has been up in the air since the city’s planning advisory board in July recommended that the commission decline it. The commission twice postponed a vote on the project in August and September because they said they were waiting for results from a traffic study. The commission approved the project on a first vote Oct. 7.

While past meetings have been flooded with residents who oppose the project, only one Boynton Beach resident spoke Wednesday.

“This is a no. This is absolutely horrendous for the citizenry in that area,” Herb Suss said.

Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick voted with Casello against the project, just as they did on the first vote. Fitzpatrick said he was “marginally in favor of the project” but wanted to back Casello because it is his district.

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