DELRAY BEACH — A lengthy city commission meeting Wednesday sparked debates and decisions on issues such as the relocation of a local soup kitchen, placing parking meters downtown and a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for the part they played in the opioid epidemic.
Here’s the meeting breakdown:
Caring Kitchen, a soup kitchen that has operated in a neighborhood on Northwest Eighth Street near Pompey Park for two decades, will stop serving food at the site Oct. 31, the commission unanimously decided.
The kitchen, operated by nonprofit CROS Ministries, leases the space from the city for $1 a year. At the center of a residential area, the soup kitchen has been the site of 125 police visits in the past year, the Delray Beach Police Department said.
Some neighbors implored the city to relocate the Caring Kitchen, as it has brought crime, trash, noise and traffic to the neighborhood.
“I think the time has come to put an end to the suffering that the people in the neighborhood are experiencing,” Mayor Cary Glickstein said.
The kitchen serves 14 meals per week to hundreds of homeless and low-income people. It also delivers food to home-bound residents within 1 mile of the site. CROS Ministries is seeking a new site for the kitchen, but asked the city to extend that Oct. 31 deadline.
The soup kitchen can prepare and store food at the site until Aug. 1, 2018, city commissioners decided. But come November, no food can be served there. The kitchen will have to distribute the food to other ministries throughout the city.
After two hours of debate, the city commission delayed the decision to place parking meters at more than 2,000 free spots downtown to wait for more information.
City staff analyzed parking plans at cities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and recommended placing meters along Atlantic Avenue east of Northwest Fifth Avenue, as well as surface lots and street-side parking two blocks north and south of Atlantic.
The meters would charge $3.50 per hour on Fridays after 5 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to midnight.
The plan also called for $1 per hour parking in the two garages east of Swinton Avenue.
The meters would net the city more than $3 million in two years.
The city’s Downtown Development Authority suggested tweaks to the parking proposal that would reduce rates, change the hours and create a system for employees to avoid burdening workers and business owners with parking costs.
The city commission directed staff to analyze the authority’s plan to see if it’s financially reasonable.
Big Pharma lawsuit
The city will file a lawsuit against drug makers that allegedly played a part in the opioid epidemic, commissioners decided Wednesday.
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, a national firm with an office in Boca Raton, will represent the city in a lawsuit against at least eight pharmaceutical makers and distributors, including Purdue Pharma and McKesson Corp.
It isn’t clear yet when the lawsuit will be filed as the firm will begin research this week, said Mark J. Dearman, a partner at Robbins Geller.
Check back Thursday for more details on these stories.