Testa Redevelopment and Parking Variances
At the Wednesday Town Council meeting, the variance requests made by T3 Family Investments representing the Testa redevelopment were approved by a 3-2 vote. Town of Palm Beach Council Members who voted against the parking variances were Robert Wildrick and Penny Townsend. The development of the Testa property has been an ongoing point of contention for the Town of Palm Beach. No one enjoys the empty lot that sits on Royal Poinciana Way, and has been an eyesore for some time.
The Testa and Frisbee Families who have been the longtime owners of the properties have proposed an enormous change to the historic Royal Poinciana street. Their plan is to demolish the current Testa’s Restaurant and build a smaller version, with retail space and several homes. It will be a multi-level conglomerate of buildings.
The request for the variances comes from the strict regulations of businesses and developments by the Town of Palm Beach, which are required to have ample parking space for the capacity of the establishment. The current properties in the proposed space for redevelopment are lacking in proper parking spaces as is.
Opponents of the current plan explain that if T3 Family Investments and their architect redesigned and obliged to the current Town regulations, no variances would be necessary.
The lawyers representing the redevelopment and the city’s code enforcement believe the variances are a necessity to build and procure the most parking. Several council members are in agreement with code enforcement who report that nearly all new developments have applied for variances with the Town’s parking standards.
A group of many residents remain upset at the variances being passed and have threatened with possible litigation against the Town. Lawsuits similar have been successful in the past. Many are still opposed to the current plans, even though they have yet to receive approval.
The redevelopment plans are set for approval at a Town Council Meeting in June after the Architectural Commission reviews it. The Testa’s Redevelopment is still a long way from breaking ground but remains a delicate subject among the Town residents.