By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The City of Delray Beach held a Commission Workshop on Tuesday, July 14th, largely to review the West Atlantic Redevelopment Plan, which was originally adopted by the City in 1995. There has been controversy in how to progress and adopt the plan, which has been in deliberation for years.

West Atlantic Redevelopment, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
A public workshop held to consult the 2019 West Atlantic Redevelopment Plan Update, photo by Delray Beach CRA.

After the Workshop, Mayor Shelly Petrolia wrote a statement on social media. “The West Atlantic Redevelopment Plan is a master plan for the NW and SW neighborhoods and the West Atlantic business corridor stretching from Swinton Avenue to I-95,” she explained yesterday.

“There was some controversy leading up to the workshop but none during the meeting,” she acknowledged. “The original document called for an outside party, the Community Management Team (CMT), to be a paid administrator of the plan as well as take on a key role in decision making.”

“The Commission was opposed to handing over taxpayer money and authority to an unelected body. All references to the CMT were therefore removed from the plan before the workshop meeting by a prior Commission consensus. References to specific organizations throughout the document were also removed so as not to lock in one organization over all others.”

Commissioner and Vice-Mayor Ryan Boylston said in the Workshop, “I agree […] that no specific organization should be listed in this plan, and that’s been removed. And no specific marketing name should be referred in this plan, and that’s been removed, I can agree with aspects like that.”

The Commission agreed to move forward for approval with some additional ‘minor’ modifications. Because it is a conceptual plan, the implementation part of the plan will reflect ‘proposed’ short term and long term time references instead of the current ‘number of years’ to completion.

Boylston contended in the Workshop, “I can’t blame the community for wanting to put some timelines on things when their last plan sat there for a long time, and a lot of it didn’t get done.” Later adding he was okay with “the words ‘proposed’ in there, because I think the whole plan is proposed to us.”

West Atlantic Redevelopment, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
The West Atlantic Redevelopment Plan is a master plan for the NW and SW neighborhoods and the West Atlantic business corridor stretching from Swinton Avenue to I-95, image recreation.

Some of the controversy has been due to the name and ownership of the plan. Charles Ridley, president of the West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition, wrote on July 1st, “let me be clear that what is in front of city commission is not The Set Transformation Plan.”

“What is in front of the commission is a watered down version of what the community developed. I’m not complaining they are doing the best they can. They just can’t help themselves. They are addicted to power… bless their little hearts.”

Then on July 14th, he wrote again on social media, “Message to Delray City Commissioners. I have no idea what you will eventually decide regarding The Set Transformation Plan in today’s workshop. Whatever you decide, use this as a moment to reimagine life in Delray Beach and the role [the] city commission will play in dismantling structural racism.”

The Workshop can be watched in its entirety as online video, and the next step is for Anthea Gianniotes, Development Services Department, to make changes in the 213-page West Atlantic Redevelopment Master Plan, as well as draft a resolution for the commission to vote on.

Mayor Shelly Petrolia confirmed, “The goal and objective to complete the plan has not changed, however a conceptual plan should not hold this commission or future commissions to specific completion time frames that may or may not be fiscally or feasibly possible.”

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