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New Marina Del Ray design calms fears, passes planners

The planning board approves and Beverly Hills residents praise the proposal for an apartment complex geared toward seniors.

By BRIDGET HALL GRUMET, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002


LECANTO -- Two things were missing Thursday when developers presented revamped plans for a 100-unit apartment complex in Beverly Hills.

No crowds. No controversy.

The plans for Marina Del Ray seemed to answer every criticism that Beverly Hills residents had raised last year about a different apartment proposal for the same 7.5-acre site at County Road 491 and Regina Boulevard, behind Regions Bank.

The old plans, offered last year by Randum Corp., showed three-story buildings with no elevators and one laundry room by the clubhouse. The new plans, offered by Creative Choice Homes of Palm Beach Gardens, call for two-story buildings with elevators and laundry rooms on each floor.

Members of the county's Planning and Development Review Board were pleased with the new design and unanimously recommended approval of the project.

"Here we had a situation where we told them to go back and change it, and they did just what we told them to do," planning board member John Bard said.

The plans for Marina Del Ray, an affordable housing complex geared toward senior, go to the County Commission for discussion Tuesday and for a vote June 25.

The sparse audience at Thursday's meeting was a far cry from the 100-plus residents who filled the County Commission chambers last year to oppose the 120-unit design by Randum Corp.

This time, the only Beverly Hills resident who spoke urged the planning board to support the new apartment complex.

"At this point they have answered every question and given us more than we asked for," said Jane Fricano, one of the Beverly Hills residents who had fought the Randum Corp. proposal last year.

The Marina Del Ray complex will include 66 one-bedroom units and 34 two-bedroom apartments, along with a clubhouse, shuffleboard courts and a covered bus stop. A Winn-Dixie supermarket is within walking distance.

The monthly rent would range from $323 for a one-bedroom apartment to $436 for a two-bedroom unit, depending on the tenant's income, Creative Choice Homes associate Jason Larson said.

"I've had people call my office and ask when they could move in," Larson told the planning board.

-- Bridget Hall Grumet can be reached at 860-7303 or bhall@sptimes.com.

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