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Controversial Private Club Approved

On Wednesday, the Town Council gave permission for the Carriage House private club to open at 264 and 270 S. County Road. This long-awaited decision comes after months of debate and amid continued fierce opposition from neighbors, as first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News.

The council approved around 30 operating conditions the Carriage House owner and management will be required to follow before approving the application.

Despite these conditions, many neighbors shook their heads in disappointment as the council unanimously approved the project. These neighbors are concerned about traffic and club members and guests parking on their nearby residential streets. They are also worried about late-night noise and crowds.

Bradley Geist, who lives at nearby Phipps Plaza, said he was “very upset” that the council approved the Carriage House despite strong opposition from neighbors.

“Muscle and money have won,” he said.

Michael McCarty, managing director of Carriage House, assured Geist that the club will be “the best neighbor you’ve ever had.”

The council resolved several sticking points before granting zoning approval for the club on Wednesday, including maximum occupancy, closing time, and parking issues.

Controversial Private Club Approved

Councilman Lew Crampton said he originally opposed the project because “it was done poorly and didn’t give residents a chance to respond.” But much has changed since then, he said.

“It’s gotten 30 to 40 percent smaller and there are now conditions governing how it fits into the community and how people are going to run the darn place,” Crampton said.

Crampton noted that the nearby Sea Streets—Seaview, Seaspray, and Seabreeze avenues—will all have residential permit parking in place to protect them.

Some $15 to $20 million will be spent to restore building with Keith Spina as architect. The owner of the club will spend another $300,000 improving nearby Phipps Plaza Park.

Related >>> Carriage House Back Before Town Council

“So, there are benefits to this,” Crampton said. “We have gone, in my opinion, about as far as we can go.”

Among the conditions agreed upon by the council are a maximum occupancy of 225 with an additional 25 allowed during special events, a limit of one special event per month, and seating limited to 153. There will also be no dance floor or amplified music, valet parking will be required, and the Carriage House cannot return to the council seeking to change any conditions of the agreement for two years after opening.

It will be about two years before renovations are complete and the Carriage House opens, officials said. The buildings are landmarked and final approval is needed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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Alanna Barrett

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