Atlantic Crossing passed last night in a long commission meeting with a 3-2 vote.The feedback I am hearing is part jubilation, part resignation—and a lot of people being very philosophical about the inevitability of change.
The town is finally waking up to the fact that the “Village by the Sea” packed up and went to the hinterlands years ago; Delray is now poised for further growth and density, and is no longer that sleepy place where you into all your friends at a “Jazz on the Avenue” on a Thursday night.
I don’t think this is good or bad — just different. Delray was never going to remain a cute little South Florida secret; it needs to grow to become more economically viable and to attract a better business base.
But I think we need to keep a watchful eye on where this is heading as more urban problems are slipping into the downtown equation: many more homeless folk, scant parking, crowded restaurants--and, worst of all, very real and worsening traffic issues.
I remember when Worthing Place and the Seagate Hotel were met with searing opposition. And Cannery Row – all the townhouses. This project raised an even louder howl — and many people still think it may be way too big. All those projects passed, and Delray did not sink from its own weight; the sky did not fall. And it may indeed be fine with this one. But that does not mean that we shouldn’t stop questioning development of this magnitude with the kind of fervor that brought people into a spirited dialogue over Atlantic Crossing.
Some Delray residents may have that NIMBY thing going on, but they aren’t stupid, and they love where they live. They deserve accountability and they should raise hell to get it, if that’s what it takes.
That’s a good thing about Delray — the citizen engagement. And it has never been more important than now, and in upcoming years. Powerful change is coming to Delray and its citizens need to stay right on top of it. They are, after all, the only ones who will end up saving the city.