Only a couple of months after GL Homes began work on its latest Lotus residential community, Lotus Edge, in West Boca, the developer has received approval to move forward with plans to develop 322 more luxury townhomes right next to it.

During a Palm Beach County Zoning hearing on Jan. 25, county commissioners voted 4-2 to advance the project, which would plant the homes on about 70 acres east of Lyons Road and about a quarter-mile north of Glades Road.

Olympic Heights High School will be sandwiched between the two communities.

Combined with the Lotus Edge homes, GL Homes is bringing nearly 1,000 high-end homes to some of the last remaining areas for residential development in the southwest part of the county.

These new homes also will feature a 16-foot-high wall around its perimeter.

The county’s zoning commission approved the plan on Jan. 11, and county staff recommended approval of the project, too.

County staff analyzes projects on a certain set of standards including consistency with the county’s comprehensive plan and land development code along with perceived compatibility of the surrounding areas and operations.

“There’s absolutely no competent, substantial evidence in the record that would support a denial that I’m aware of,” said Clifford Hertz, an attorney representing GL Homes, at the hearing. “The staff has recommended approval and said we’ve met all criteria.”

But opponents to the plan, such as County Mayor Maria Sachs, believe the new homes could introduce abysmal levels of traffic, specifically on Lyons Road, which is a county-owned road.

Sachs wanted county staff to conduct a traffic study, especially given the homes’ proximity to hundreds of high school students who will be swarming the streets during the school year.

“Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should,” Sachs said. “The people in my district are fed up with traffic, and with Lyons Road not being sufficiently enlarged or modified, ready for hundreds of more units, there’s also the safety of the people in that area.”

According to county documents, the overall project, which includes both the west and east residential plots, is expected to generate 8,820 net daily trips.

Congestion concerns about Lotus Edge also surfaced before its official announcement, but the developer said the community will have entries on Lyons Road and U.S. 441 to alleviate traffic pressure.

But ultimately, only one other commissioner, Sara Baxter, also voted against the project, and with minimal discussion, every other commissioner voted in favor of bringing in more homes.

Dates for construction and start of sales for the homes on the east parcel have yet to be released. But county documents state “the build out of the project is assumed to be by 2028.”

Meanwhile, Lotus Edge, its west counterpart, sits on a 260-acre parcel near other neighborhoods such as West Boca Estates and Boca Fontana, with homes starting at $1.4 million and rising to more than $2.5 million. The community will officially open on Saturday.