North Palm Beach caps height of two-story homes

3-2 council decision limits homes to 30 feet tall

(Illustration by The Real Deal; Getty)
(Illustration by The Real Deal; Getty)

North Palm Beach is cracking down on spec development.

The North Palm Beach Village Council passed a new set of restrictions on two-story homes in a 3-2 vote on Oct. 27, most significantly a 30-foot height cap on two-story homes, the Palm Beach Post reported.

An influx of spec development in the small coastal village prompted concern from residents and council members. Mayor Deborah Searcy told the publication that residents began complaining last year about large, new spec houses they considered ugly, prompting the village to reevaluate its residential zoning code.

The village council initiated a “zoning in progress” measure last year to begin the process, and the measure passed last month is the culmination of work by the North Palm Beach Ad Hoc Residential Code Review Committee.

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Like much of South Florida, North Palm Beach in the past two years has seen an influx of buyers, and developers looking to take advantage of the real estate gold rush. The number of demolition permits spiked last year to 20, up from just five in 2015.

“They were maximizing to the setbacks and concreting over the rest. They were building literally almost 50-feet tall, and they were just giant concrete boxes,” Mayor Searcy told the publication.

The new restrictions, aside from the height cap, require that the second floor of a home cannot be more than 75 percent of the first floor’s square footage; a 15-foot setback is required if a home will include a second story; properties must be 30 percent landscaped, and the front 25 feet of the property must be at least 50 percent landscaped.

Searcy said the village is considering a larger overhaul of its residential codes.

— Kate Hinsche