The Real Deal Miami

West Palm city commissioners set to vote Monday on downtown rezoning proposal

Approval of the Okeechobee Business District would allow The Related Companies to build a 25-story office building about 400 feet from the city's waterfront
August 11, 2018 11:00AM

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio

The West Palm Beach City Commission is set to take a final vote Monday on a proposed business district that would rezone part of the city’s downtown area.

The proposed Okeechobee Business District would change land-use rules in several blocks of the Okeechobee Boulevard corridor west of the city’s waterfront.

In particular, the district would allow The Related Companies to build a 25-story office building about 400 feet from the waterfront along Lakeview Drive, where current zoning limits building heights to five stories.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Palm Beach County and the Town of Palm Beach have criticized the proposed business district.

The city should delay a vote on the business district to study the district’s impact on traffic, according to Stacy Miller, a regional director of transportation development for FDOT.

The city hasn’t demonstrated “the long-term adequacy of transportation facilities to meet established acceptable levels of service,” Miller wrote in an Aug. 7 letter to the municipal development services director in West Palm Beach.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity, which would have to approve the Okeechobee Business District, recently told the city it doesn’t object to the proposed district, but warned the city that failing to respond to objections from other state agencies could subject the district to challenges in court.

The city hasn’t shown how the high-rise Okeechobee Business District would benefit downtown West Palm Beach as a whole or surrounding areas, assistant county administrator Patrick Rutter wrote in an Aug. 3 letter to city officials.

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio told the Palm Beach Post that the proposed business district drew “comments” from state agencies, “but they were not objections.” [Palm Beach Post] – Mike Seemuth