Proxy voting has begun among residents of the 3,742 homes that comprise the Villages of Oriole in Delray Beach. On the ballot? Whether to support a development proposal by Miami-based 13th Floor Investments that would see 524 new homes go up on the shuttered Marina Lakes Golf Course.
Jeff Schultz, president of the Oriole Villages Center Board of Governors, urged residents to vote yes in a letter earlier this month, noting that the planned development, dubbed Avalon Trails, is for less than 50 percent of the site’s allowable density.
Although current zoning allows for up to 1,200 units to be built, Michael Nunziata, president of 13th Floor’s homebuilding division, told The Real Deal that community members “did not want to see high-intensity or high-density programming.”
“We first met with the governance of the community to understand what they were hoping to see on the site and then let that steer our development program,” he said.
The plan, according to Schultz, began to take shape a year-and-a-half ago, when Peter Vitale Jr., the owner of the course, told community leaders that he intended to sell the property. They worked together to establish stipulations for future development, including lake and landscape buffers and financial remunerations for the inconvenience caused by construction.
As the process moved forward, it became clear that residents of the 55-and-up communities surrounding the course had one more requirement: they wanted neighbors their own age.
“When we started, we were going to do an age-targeted community but not have actual restrictions in place . . . but the community made their message pretty loud and clear to us,” Nunziata said. “They wanted to make sure that whatever was developed on the golf course would . . . be age-restricted.”
Schultz thinks the project represents a “win-win-win” for the seller, the developer and members of the community.
“The approach that we like to take is certainly one of a more cooperative nature,” Nunziata said.
Voting is scheduled to end on Feb. 7. If residents agree to the plan, it will next head to Palm Beach County for approval, with homebuilding expected to begin in 2019.