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Delray comissioners set new parking regulations for Marina District

mitch katz

Newly elected Delray Beach City Commissioner Mitch Katz receives his baptism of fire Tuesday after taking the oath of office earlier in the evening. The meeting lasted for five hours.

By Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH — New neighborhood parking regulations aren't usually the stuff headlines are made of, but the new rules Delray Beach city commissioners approved Tuesday for the Marina District are likely to have ramifications for the entire city.

Commissioners OK'ed final reading of an ordinance that sets up a permit system for street parking in the historic section of the city. Residents must pay $60 a year for a permit to park one car on the street and receive one guest permit. They can also buy a second permit, if needed.

Boat owners who use the dock facilities may buy a permit; weekly permits also may be bought for $5 a pop for a maximum of 13 weeks per year.

The new system is likely to serve as a model for other parking-starved neighborhoods.

"This is the right thing to do," Mayor Cary Glickstein said. "It's a great starting point. The beach is next."

Not everyone was sold on the idea. One resident said it was a form of discrimination and that a less restrictive approach should be used to fix the neighborhood's parking woes. Others had no problem with the ordinance itself but argued that it should not be applied to the Marina District absent a citywide parking plan.

But a representative of the Marina District's homeowners association said the plan has the overwhelming support of the residents.

"Nothing is going to be perfect for everybody, but this is a good start, Commissioner Mitch Katz said.

The new rules go into effect April 1, no joke.

Katz, who was elected on March 10 to replace term-limited Adam Frankel, took the oath office earlier in the evening. Glickstein, who defeated former mayor Tom Carney for a second term in office, and Commissioner Shelly Petrolia who ran unopposed for a second term, also were sworn in earlier in the evening. Commissioners also selected Petrolia to serve as vice mayor.

Also Tuesday evening, commissioners tabled action on an appeal of a permit granted CROS Ministries to expand the Caring Kitchen at 196 NW 8th Avenue. The Caring Kitchen, which serves food to the poor and homeless and also runs a food bank, received permission from the city's Site Plan Review and Appearance Board to expand the facility by 165 square feet. The addition would be used to build men's and woman's showers, house a small laundry room and provide additional storage.

The appeal, brought by Reginald Cox, an architect who lives nearby, brought out a host of issues neighbors have had with the Caring Kitchen, including parking problems, and lewd and violent behavior of some that use the facility.

"The community is aware of the importance of the services they provide," Cox said. "They've just outgrown their facilities. The community has tolerated it, but this is adding insult to injury."

Cox said his main beef is the inadequate parking the Caring Kitchen has for its employees and volunteers, which means parked cars spilling out into the street. He also argued that notice neighbors received for the SPRAB meeting was inadequate.

"I'm very upset I even have to come down here for this," one resident said. "I'm not saying get rid of i(the Caring Kitchen) Just move it from that area."

But project architect Gary Eliopolous, a former city commissioner, said the expansion isn't the real concern residents have but rather the services Caring Kitchen provides and those they attract. He said the opportunity for the homeless to shower and wash their clothes would give them a measure of dignity.

And others who volunteer at the Caring Kitchen or who have used the services offered there defended the place and said some solution needs to be found so that the soup kitchen can continue with its mission without disturbing the neighborhood.

The building itself is owned by the city and leased to the American Legion, which in turn, subleases it to CROS.

— Commissioners granted an extension to Delray Medical Center for permits necessary to build a new patient tower and parking garage on its campus along Linton Avenue. The hospital received initial permits several years ago but since has made changes to the plans that have delayed the start of construction.

— A plan to offer half-year beach parking permits won commissioners' approval. A full year permit costs $90 plus tax; the half-year, which will run from April 1 to October 31 and cost $45.


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MARCH 31, 2015 click to go home
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