Three Avenues expansion gets thumbs up from Vero Council

VERO BEACH — The developers of the Three Avenues area which now houses the bustling Panera Bread and Joey’s Bistro as tenants won an appeal Tuesday to construct four more buildings on the site.After being turned down by the Vero Beach Planning and Zoning Commission and having its site plan tossed out by the city’s Architectural Review Commission on a technicality, owner Scott Parker decided to take his fight directly to the new City Council, in hopes that it would make a fair and business-friendly decision.Real estate attorney Bruce Barkett represented Parker in the quasi-judicial proceeding leading to a 5-0 vote for the project to go forward. Barkett reminded the City Council that it’s their job to determine whether the project meets code, not to make a subjective judgment about its merits.”When all the legal requirements have been met, you’re supposed to get approval,” Barkett said.Vero Community Development Director Tim McGarry had recommended approval, noting that Parker and his architects and designers had tweaked the site plan to accomodate some of the city’s concerns.  Some items raised were the lack of parking and adequate loading zones for the 20 plus office, commercial and retail spaces that Parker intends to build and lease out.When completed, the Three Avenues is expected to hold upscale shops, professional offices and eateries.One resident, who said he was representing the Vero Isles and Tarpon Isles communities, spoke at length about how the project would be bad for his property values and for the neighborhood in general. Though the council listened to his statements, his fear over the encroachment of rampant commercial development didn’t seem to hold sway with the five officials on the dais.Councilman Craig Fletcher pointed out that the next phase of the Three Avenues, as proposed, would impact the surrounding neighborhood less than the original plan approved in 1997 for the whole parcel. The site plan approved Tuesday would allow up to 5,800 square feet of one-story buildings.”The applicant could build almost 7,000 square feet more than he is building, so he has toned it down,” Fletcher said.As part of the plan that was approved, Joey’s Bistro will cease to serve lunch, but will be allowed to retain its outdoor dining area without being required to enclose it. A handful of residents had complained about the noise coming from Joey’s during the late-night hours when it becomes a popular dancing and drinking establishment.

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