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NEW: Boynton getting 18 new townhomes on Federal Highway; some residents not happy

BOYNTON BEACH — Despite pushback from some neighboring property owners, there will be 18 new townhomes on Federal Highway.

Harbor Cay Townhomes plans to build on a vacant property that sits on the west end of private Lakeside Harbor Drive and is part of the Community Redevelopment Agency plan, said Bradley Miller, president of Miller Land Planning, on behalf of the developer.

It was approved at Tuesday night’s city commission meeting.

The proposal includes five three-story buildings that will hold three to four units each. Each unit offers three bedrooms and a two-car garage. There’s a communal pool, but some units unlock access to individual pools.

The United Developers Group proposal initially sought 21 units, but Miller said they scaled back after conversations with the city.

United Developers Group needed approval of a reclassification and rezoning of the property for mixed use, a blueprint that Miller said fits into the area.

When Miller presented the mixed-use requests to commissioners April 16, he said, “It really is a lateral change that’s just implementing the CRA redevelopment plan.”

The proposal passed the commission effortlessly but clashed with opposition from three property owners in April and two on Tuesday.

Jonathan Reingold said Tuesday he treasures the private property on his street and feels the project’s developer didn’t consult enough stakeholders.

Reingold said the project “doesn’t work” Tuesday, and added it’ll hurt people on that street.

“I’m scared that I’m gonna lose my property … I have plans and they’re going away real quick,” Reingold said in April. “I’m kind of fighting for myself.”

Todd Bertossi, another of the street’s property owners, nodded as Reingold spoke. He is worried the project will amplify flooding on adjacent properties, although Miller said calculations urge the project can handle incoming water.

In April, Rohan Anderson said he also worried about flooding, as well as security breaches during construction. He said he bought a Lakeside Harbor home in 2012 and wanted to feel confident in what Miller was presenting, which could surely impact “his investment,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mark Maher, another property owner, said in April and on Tuesday the project could boost property values and noted the developer reduced the number of units and offered to improve the entire parcel.

That included redoing a gate and resurfacing down to the dock that caps off the street.

Reingold disagreed.

“I’m happy with my gate,” he said. “He doesn’t have the right to redo my gate. He doesn’t have the right to redo my street.”

Maher said he heard his fellow owners’ worries. “But, everybody has a right to build and, finally, we have a good project,” Maher said. “We have a developer that wants to work with us.”

Maher charged city officials with ensuring that people behind the project stick to the plan. “I think they’re gonna do the right thing,” he said. “I’ve been waiting 18 years now for something to happen.”

Supporting the project with her colleagues, Commissioner Christina Romelus said she was “a little perplexed” that neighboring residents brought such stark opposition.

“This is one of those rare occasions where we have a developer willing to do those things … what other opportunities unless self-funded would come?” she asked.

Bertossi slapped his thighs in frustration.

Commissioners agreed the developer must proceed within project boundaries, redoing spots on Lakeside Harbor Drive only with consent from its owners to the east.

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