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From Wabasso Beach Road, the proposed Orchid Publix may look like this

Photo: According to plans furnished to Orchid by Kimley Horn, the rear of the proposed supermarket will face the street behind a 10-foot landscape buffer.

Having submitted its plans for a supermarket-anchored shopping area on State Road 510 in Orchid, Publix is asking the town to ease code restrictions limiting structure size, building height, signage and hours the businesses may operate.

Publix has a contract to purchase a 7.21-acre parcel across the road from County Fire Rescue Station No. 11 from Vero Beach developer Ken Puttick. The company  filed with the town last week the necessary applications, preliminary site plan and traffic study in hopes of building a downsized, 31,000-square-foot supermarket and five retail stores immediately west of Jungle Trail.

Town Manager Noah Powers said Publix’s plans first will be reviewed by the town’s outside planners – the Fort Lauderdale-based Mellgren Planning Group – who then will provide a written recommendation to Orchid’s Local Planning Agency.

“We’ll send it to the professional planners and have them look at it in the context of our code, and then it goes to our LPA,” Powers said. “I’m sure there will be some back and forth, even before we get to any public hearing.”

Powers said the LPA is required by law to conduct a quasi-judicial public hearing before offering its recommendation to the Town Council, which also must hold such a hearing.

“Then it’s up to the council,” Powers said.

Powers didn’t venture a guess as to how long the process might take – council members haven’t yet returned from their summer homes – saying only that both Publix and the town would like to reach a decision as quickly as possible.

“Based on what we saw earlier,” Powers said, “I suspect that we’ll see some lively discussion during the public-input part of the hearings.”

Homeowners from the town and neighboring communities attended a standing-room-only council meeting on April 4, when Publix initially outlined its plans, which included attractive landscaping and an architectural design consistent with the British West Indies theme of the Orchid area.

Some residents say they’d welcome the convenience of having a Publix on the island’s northern tier. Currently the nearest grocery stores are miles away on the mainland – two Publix stores on U.S. 1, one to the north at Barber Street and another to the south at 53rd Street.

Others, especially residents of the adjacent Old Orchid and Seasons communities in the unincorporated county, opposed having a shopping center so close to their homes, expressing concerns about lighting, noise, aesthetics, security and increased traffic along both State Road 510 and Jungle Trail.

Powers said there was no way to predict how Publix’s plan would be received by town residents or council members, because the paperwork was so recently submitted. As of Friday, in fact, Powers was still reviewing the site plan, which was at least slightly modified from the company’s initial proposal.

“From what I’ve seen so far,” Powers said, “Publix seems to be paying attention to what people here have said.”

The site plan calls for two one-story, north-facing buildings  –  a 31,047-square-foot Publix and a 6,000-square-foot strip mall that would contain five retail stores. Separating the structures would be a 30-foot-wide patio for dining.

The typical Publix is about 45,000 square feet.

Walls would be built along the western and northern boundaries of the property, as well as along the west edge of a landscaped buffer between the shopping center and Jungle Trail on the parcel’s east side.

The plan includes two driveways that would serve as entrances/exits connecting State Road 510 to a 192-space parking lot, which would abut the Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club golf course.

One driveway would be located at the west end of the property, across from Indian River County Fire Rescue Station No. 11 on the south side of State Road 510, where a traffic signal would be installed. Eastbound motorists would turn into the shopping center from the center lane. Westbound motorists would have access to a right-turn lane.

The second driveway would be located on the east end of the parcel, just west of Jungle Trail. There would be no traffic signal and no right-turn lane for westbound motorists. Again, eastbound motorists would enter the driveway from the State Road 510’s center lane.

A 50-foot buffer would separate the parking lot and property lines.

To accommodate the construction of the shopping center, Publix’s developer, the Orlando-based Windcrest Development Group, is seeking several waivers to the town’s ordinances.

The requested waivers include allowing:

• No tire stops in the parking lot. (The code requires such stops.)

• A ground sign not to exceed 48 square feet and two wall signs not to exceed a combined 275 square feet. (The code permits only one ground sign and one wall sign, neither to exceed 10 square feet.)

• Wall signs with a maximum height of 72-inch letters. (The code limits such lettering to 10 inches.)

• The stores to operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. (The code limits hours of operation for such stores from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Sunday operation is not permitted.)

• A gross floor area of 31,047 square feet for the supermarket. (The code limits the floor area of such buildings to 6,000 square feet.)

• The construction of buildings with a maximum height of 32 feet, 10 inches for the supermarket and 29 feet, 8 inches for the adjacent retail stores. (The code limits such buildings to one story and not to exceed 20 feet in height.)

Publix also is proposing to install sidewalks along 510, a stormwater drainage system and all the necessary utilities.

The Publix proposal is Puttick’s third attempt to utilize the property, located in the southeastern corner of the town, since he purchased the parcel for $3.5 million in 2006.

In 2011, the Town Council rejected his attempt to have the property rezoned from commercial to residential, killing his plans to build 40 two-story courtyard homes.

Two years ago, the council blocked Puttick again, ruling that the town’s ordinances didn’t permit his proposed adult-living facility in a zoned-commercial district. Puttick took the town to court and lost.