Commissioners approve warehouse complex at Palm Beach International Raceway, then endorse search for new racetrack site.
With their attorneys waving the white flag, county commissioners Thursday reversed a January decision and approved zoning to allow a massive warehouse complex at the shuttered Palm Beach International Raceway.
But they rolled out a potential final lap for racing fans who have been fighting the warehouses for more than a year: At least three commissioners said they would seek a way to build a new raceway in Palm Beach County.
After a motion to approve warehouse zoning at the former Palm Beach International Raceway died for lack of a second, Palm Beach County commissioners tossed aside concerns over being sued and voted to deny the plan.
History repeats itself.
Faced with a room full of avid racing fans fighting for their way of life, a county board once again rejected plans for warehouses on the site of the former Palm Beach International Raceway.
Palm Beach County commissioners voted 4-2 Thursday to deny the application from property owner IRG Sports & Entertainment to convert the shuttered racetrack on the Beeline Highway west of Jupiter into a 2.2-million-square-foot warehouse complex.
When the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission denied a series of variances to allow Portman Industrial to build warehouses at Palm Beach International Raceway, they blocked the developer from moving on to the next step.
For the proposed builders of 2.1 million square feet of warehouse space on the site of Palm Beach International Raceway, it’s back to the drawing board.
Portman Industrial has asked to postpone its April 28 hearing before the Palm Beach County Commission for five months, until Sept. 22.
And Portman will have to redraw its plans, says one seasoned land-use lawyer who watched April 7 as the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission unanimously rejected the warehouse builder’s requests for several variances.
Race fans persuade Zoning Commission loss of racing at PBIR outweighs benefits of warehousing.
Racing fans won the first lap Thursday in a much longer race when the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission voted 9-0 to reject plans for a warehouse complex that would replace their beloved Palm Beach International Raceway.
They drive for hours to race at Palm Beach County’s lone racetrack: Amateurs with muscle cars, hobbyists with pricey foreign models, seasoned drivers with off-road hot rods. Now a plan for warehouses threatens the place they love.
Marcus Falden left his digital marketing job south of Miami at 11:30 on a recent Friday morning to get to the Palm Beach International Raceway before it opened at 5 p.m.
He’s looking forward to 11 — maybe 12, but certainly not 13 — seconds of joy, as he guns his Infiniti Q50S to 119 mph for a quarter-mile straightaway.
As soon as it’s over, he’ll line up to do it again. If the night goes right, he’ll get in three runs before the busy track closes at 11 p.m.
He and his buddy, Miguel Cruz, also from the Kendall area, drove more than 100 miles March 25 to place their cars among the first ones lined up for the drag strip at PBIR, the former Moroso Motorsports Park on Beeline Highway west of Jupiter.
“It’s hard to explain,” Cruz said. “You’re sitting in your car, and the lights start flashing (to signal the start) and your heart starts going 100 mph. It happens so fast.”