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Latest Westlake news

NEW: Wellington Regional breaks ground for freestanding ER in Westlake

NEW: Wellington Regional breaks ground for freestanding ER in Westlake

When shovels hit the dirt Thursday morning in Westlake, they turned the soil where the city’s first non-residential development will sit. A freestanding emergency department run by Wellington Regional Medical Center was approved in February by Westlake’s city council. The nearly 11,000-square-foot facility will be at 16400 Persimmon Blvd., on the southeast corner of Seminole Pratt Whitney...
GL Homes revives plans for large housing project near The Acreage

GL Homes revives plans for large housing project near The Acreage

GL Homes has dusted off plans for a large-scale housing project west of The Acreage, reviving concerns about snarled traffic and over-development in the semi-rural area northwest of Royal Palm Beach. The developer initially won county approval for its plan to build 3,900 homes on the 4,900-acre Indian Trails Grove tract it owns west of 180th Avenue North and south of Hamlin Boulevard. But GL ...
Habitat for Humanity dedicates home built by local students

Habitat for Humanity dedicates home built by local students

Emily Luna waited years for the moment she experienced Friday morning. The newest resident of suburban West Palm Beach got the keys to her home on Miss Piney Road from Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County, the culmination of years of effort by Luna and her daughter, 18-year-old Pryzinda. But their home is different from most other Habitat for Humanity homes built in Palm Beach County —...
NEW: Wellington Regional to build emergency department in Westlake

NEW: Wellington Regional to build emergency department in Westlake

Palm Beach County’s newest city earlier this week gave the OK to a plan that paves the way for its first new non-residential development: a freestanding emergency department run by Wellington Regional Medical Center. The Westlake City Council on Monday night voted 4-0 with one council member absent to approve a site plan for the facility, which will be the first of its kind in the western communities...
NEW: Minto donates $75,000 to Seminole Ridge home-building program

NEW: Minto donates $75,000 to Seminole Ridge home-building program

Seminole Ridge High School’s Weitz Construction Academy has started building its seventh home for Habitat for Humanity, and the program is getting some help from a new partner. Minto Foundation Inc. – a charitable arm of Minto Communities, the developer behind the new city of Westlake – recently donated $75,000 to the academy and Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County.  Students...
NEW: Officials balk, say Westlake’s plan creates opening for more homes

NEW: Officials balk, say Westlake’s plan creates opening for more homes

A glimpse at the potential of massive growth for the fledgling city of Westlake didn’t look good to a regional planning council Friday. “They’re trying to build Fort Lauderdale in The Acreage, and we absolutely cannot sustain that under any scenario,” said Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay, who is a member of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. Westlake, represented...
Accused killer clown arrest, Irma damage: Wellington’s top 5 stories of 2017

Accused killer clown arrest, Irma damage: Wellington’s top 5 stories of 2017

1. Accused killer clown arrested: The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 27 made an arrest in the 1990 slaying of Marlene Warren at her Aero Club home by a person dressed as a clown. Investigators say the person in the clown costume on May 26, 1990, was Sheila Keen Warren, 54, who was arrested in Virginia and charged with the crime. Marlene Warren’s son and his...
NEW: Despite rain, hundreds pack Westlake for first look at new city

NEW: Despite rain, hundreds pack Westlake for first look at new city

Julian Martinez sat excitedly tapping his foot in a sales center west of Royal Palm Beach on Saturday afternoon waiting to sign the paperwork to buy his first home. With a nervous smile, and joined by his two aunts, he gazed at a TV screen that showed the floorplan he selected. “It’s all happened so fast,” the 29-year-old firefighter said. In writing the check for the down payment...
NEW: Palm Beach County’s newest city has grand opening Saturday

NEW: Palm Beach County’s newest city has grand opening Saturday

Check out the homes in Palm Beach County’s newest municipality at the Westlake grand opening from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at 16610 Town Center Parkway North off Seminole Pratt Whitney Road near Seminole Ridge High School in The Acreage.  This will be the first look at the massive development’s model homes and sales center for residents in the surrounding area. Builder Minto Communities...
After Irma: Mosquito spraying in western areas of county Tuesday night

After Irma: Mosquito spraying in western areas of county Tuesday night

Thanks to “a large mosquito hatch” -- ew -- after Hurricane Irma, Palm Beach County Mosquito Control will conduct aerial spraying for all communities west of Military Trail starting at sunset Tuesday, Sept. 19. The spraying is subject to weather conditions. If crews are not able to spray Tuesday night, they will do it on the next night with suitable weather, the county said in...
Hurricane Irma: What to know in Wellington, Royal Palm on Thursday

Hurricane Irma: What to know in Wellington, Royal Palm on Thursday

For those living in Wellington, Royal Palm Beach and the other western communities and preparing for Hurricane Irma, Thursday so far is all about getting shutters and plywood secured on homes and making sure last-minute supplies are in place.  A hurricane watch was issued Thursday morning for South Florida, from Jupiter south and including all of Palm Beach County.  Send tips on...
Hurricane Irma: These shelters open Friday in Wellington, Loxahatchee

Hurricane Irma: These shelters open Friday in Wellington, Loxahatchee

As Hurricane Irma approaches South Florida, Palm Beach County emergency managers are opening shelters throughout the area on Friday morning.  That includes several shelters in the western communities, plus a pet-friendly shelter and a special needs shelter. County officials said Thursday evening that two shelters previously on this list in Pahokee and Belle Glade will not open as planned...

Editorial: After Corps’ ruling, West Palm should quit the SR 7 fight

Now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given its approval for the extension of State Road 7, will the city of West Palm Beach finally see that its obstinate stand against this project has reached the end of the road? We sure hope so. By now, the city has spent a dozen years and more than $2.1 million in legal fees on a drive that has taken it nowhere. Palm Beach County, the South Florida Water...
Born in 2016, Westlake starting to see first homes built by Minto

Born in 2016, Westlake starting to see first homes built by Minto

It started with a handful of residents and one developer wanting to become Palm Beach County’s newest city. Now, that developer, Minto Communities, has started home construction in that city, Westlake, whose incorporation last year surprised and angered some county officials. Minto has begun building one- and two-story homes in what is expected to be a city of 4,500 homes and 2.1 million square...
Happy birthday, Westlake: Palm Beach County mystery city is 1 year old

Happy birthday, Westlake: Palm Beach County mystery city is 1 year old

Editor’s Note: Happy 1st birthday, Westlake! Palm Beach County’s newest city was incorporated one year ago today. Here is Barbara Marshall’s 2016 story on what you can see and do in our latest burg: James LaClair, Sr. was dumbfounded. The bar where he and his son, James LaClair, Jr., were having noontime beers was no longer part of rural, unincorporated Loxahatchee. RELATED: RANKING...
County gets favorable ruling in push to extend SR7

County gets favorable ruling in push to extend SR7

Palm Beach County won a big battle in the fight to extend State Road 7 Friday when Administrative Law Judge Bram Carter found that the county had followed all applicable permitting criteria and is entitled to an environmental resource permit. The county has pushed to extend State Road 7 north to Northlake Boulevard, but the city of West Palm Beach has pushed back, arguing that the extension threatens...
Palm Beach County population growth outpaces most of nation in 2016

Palm Beach County population growth outpaces most of nation in 2016

Turns out, blue skies, warm weather, palm trees and beaches are a bit of a draw. Palm Beach County’s population grew by nearly 22,000 people from July of 2015 to July of 2016, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. That growth put the county’s population at 1,443,810. Only four other counties in Florida — Orange, Hillsborough, Broward and Lee &mdash...
Building in new PBC city of Westlake underway

Building in new PBC city of Westlake underway

What does a new city look like when it’s under construction? A lot like this: Minto Communities, the developer building Palm Beach County’s newest city, Westlake, has started construction in the first 500 acres of what is expected to be a city of 4,500 homes and 2.2 million square feet of non-residential development along both sides of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. Minto Vice President...
From Donald Trump to Dalia Dippolito: Palm Beach County’s top stories

From Donald Trump to Dalia Dippolito: Palm Beach County’s top stories

The next president of the United States has a place right here. And that’s just part of a wild news year in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Here are the area’s top 10 stories, as determined, and chronicled, by Post editors and reporters, with help from statistics on how popular news stories were with readers. 1. President Trump: It’s one of the most shocking upsets in U...
Minto starts work on expansion of Seminole Pratt Whitney

Minto starts work on expansion of Seminole Pratt Whitney

Minto Communities is touting its work to expand Seminole Pratt Whitney Road in the new city of Westlake. The builder’s plans call for the construction of 4,500 homes and 2.2 million square feet of non-residential development on 3,800 acres along both sides of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. In getting its project approved by Palm Beach County, Minto agreed to expand Seminole Pratt Whitney Road...
GL Homes’ 3,900-unit project west of Acreage clears early hurdle

GL Homes’ 3,900-unit project west of Acreage clears early hurdle

Palm Beach County commissioners moving GL Homes’ Indian Trails Grove project closer to reality Thursday, approving its proposed changes to the county’s comprehensive plan. The 6-1 vote was another in a long line of wins in recent years for developers, whose projects will transform northwest-central portions of the county from open space and grove lands to bustling residential communities...
Commission approves comprehensive plan changes for Indian Trails Grove

Commission approves comprehensive plan changes for Indian Trails Grove

Palm Beach County commissioners voted 6-1 Thursday in favor of comprehensive plan changes GL Homes sought for its Indian Trails Grove project west of The Acreage. Commissioners had given preliminary approval of those changes in April. Zoning changes for the 3,900-home project will be addressed early next year. Check back with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com later today for more on this story.  ...
County wants GL Homes’ vow not to incorporate as Minto, Westlake did

County wants GL Homes’ vow not to incorporate as Minto, Westlake did

The surprise incorporation of the city of Westlake three months ago has colored Palm Beach County’s recent consideration of GL Homes’ massive Indian Trails Grove proposal west of The Acreage. Caught off guard and angered by Minto’s support for municipal incorporation in the area where it is building a 4,500-home development, county staff members are trying to make sure GL Homes doesn&rsquo...
County wants out of suit challenging development orders in Minto case

County wants out of suit challenging development orders in Minto case

Palm Beach County has filed a motion to withdraw from a suit challenging development orders it issued to facilitate Minto’s massive project in The Acreage. Two Loxahatchee area residents and a preservation group, 1000 Friends of Florida, sued Minto and county, arguing that the development orders the county issued violated its comprehensive plan. Minto and the county won the case, which was appealed...
Board harps on Minto, then votes to spend money for its fire station

Board harps on Minto, then votes to spend money for its fire station

Played. Snookered. Led down the primrose path. Those are the words and phrases Palm Beach County commissioners used Tuesday in blasting Minto Communities, which wrestled with the county for approval of a massive development project in The Acreage two years ago only to later quarterback an effort to have the area incorporate as the new city of Westlake. That incorporation has left county officials...

Roads, taxes among issues Palm Beach County, Westlake sorting out

More than two months after five residents and a powerful real estate developer moved to transform a former citrus grove off Seminole Pratt Whitney Road into the new city of Westlake, Palm Beach County is still wrestling with the impacts of that move. The city, meanwhile, is coming to grips with new responsibilities and limitations. Its relationship with the county remains strained, with county officials...
Groups that opposed pro-Minto changes ordered to pay attorneys fees

Groups that opposed pro-Minto changes ordered to pay attorneys fees

Two Loxahatchee area residents and a pair of preservation groups were ordered to pay attorneys fees after their effort to block changes to Palm Beach County’s comprehensive plan failed. In a ruling issued earlier this week, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Donald Hafele said Robert Schutzer, Karen Schutzer, 1000 Friends of Florida and ALERTS of Palm Beach County “knew or should have known&rdquo...
County IG: Westlake creation appears to violate no law

County IG: Westlake creation appears to violate no law

Palm Beach County’s Inspector General said the new city of Westlake’s incorporation does not appear to have violated the law. “We cannot conclude with certainty that any specific laws, policies, rules or ordinances have been violated,” Inspector General John Carey wrote to County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who had requested the review. Carey also said Minto Communities...

POINT OF VIEW Welcome to the future city of Westpond

It seems these days anything goes in Tallahassee, including the legal ability to create a city of five people (Westlake). Therefore, it should be easy enough for me to incorporate my property and become Palm Beach County’s 40th municipality: the City of Westpond. After all, as proclaimed by the mayor of Westake (who resides in Lake Worth), the Palm Beach County Commission and various developers...

Major homebuilder Minto’s stamp all over this new city

A visit to the building where the new city of Westlake holds its council meetings would dispel any doubt about the clout Minto Communities carries there. The building, set back from Seminole Pratt-Whitney Road across from Seminole Ridge Community High School, looks like a new homes sales trailer. Blue and white Minto flags, flapping at the parking lot entrance, underscore the effect. Inside the building...

McKinlay asks for IG review of Minto support for Westlake

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay has asked the county’s inspector general to look into the support Minto Communities has pledged to provide the new city of Westlake. The city’s interim city manager told city council members Monday that Minto, the largest landowner in the city and its primary taxpayer, will cover any budget shortfall for the next five years. McKinlay, whose...
McKinlay asks IG to look into Minto support for Westlake

McKinlay asks IG to look into Minto support for Westlake

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay has asked the county’s inspector general to look into the support Minto Communities has pledged to the county’s newest city, Westlake. Westlake’s interim city manager, Ken Cassel, told council members on Monday that Minto Communities will cover any budget shortfall for the next five years. Minto is the largest landowner in Westlake...
Westlake city attorney defends her tenure in Port St. Lucie

Westlake city attorney defends her tenure in Port St. Lucie

Pam E. Booker, fired as city attorney in Port St. Lucie but hired for similar work in the new city of Westlake, defended her tenure in her previous job. She said she was fired for being “too strictly letter of the law” and unwilling to be political in a job she viewed as strictly legal in nature. Westlake’s hiring of Booker – and its decision to pay Booker’s firm $276...

Attorney signed by Westlake for $276,000 fired by Port St. Lucie

Palm Beach County’s newest city, Westlake, has hired an interim city attorney who was fired from her last job as city attorney in Port St. Lucie, whose mayor described her in a February memo as “a liability to the city” who “cannot be relied upon for good advice and counsel.” Pam E. Booker earned $191,610 as Port St. Lucie’s city attorney. On Monday night, Westlake&rsquo...
Four-year old law, five people bring PBC a new city

Four-year old law, five people bring PBC a new city

The law that led to the creation of Westlake, Palm Beach County’s newest city, was never supposed to be used. Find out how a four-year old law, five people – and one powerful developer – brought the county a new city. Check out Westlake’s back story here and stay with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com for full coverage on this topic.  

Law passed as threat four years ago leads to creation of Westlake

Westlake, Palm Beach County’s newest city, has had its first official meeting — a brief gathering Monday night where the mayor and founding council members took the oath of office and appointed a city manager and city attorney. The city’s leaders also discussed how to fill the vacancy of founding council member Anthony Fritz, who submitted his resignation last week from jail, where...
Welcome to Westlake: Touring Palm Beach County’s new mystery city

Welcome to Westlake: Touring Palm Beach County’s new mystery city

James LaClair, Sr. was dumbfounded. The bar where he and his son, James LaClair, Jr., were having noontime beers was no longer part of rural, unincorporated Loxahatchee. A few days before, Gator’s Shack Bar and Grill, where customers are greeted by an open-mouthed taxidermy alligator, had been folded into Westlake, Palm Beach County’s newest city. Within months, Minto Communities will...

Westlake responds to calls for investigation into incorporation

The battle over the incorporation of Palm Beach County’s newest city, Westlake, has returned to where it started four years ago: Tallahassee. A lawyer for the Seminole Improvement District, which was converted into the city of Westlake on Monday with the backing of five voters, told Gov. Rick Scott the city’s incorporation was entirely legal. In a letter sent Friday, Terry E. Lewis disputed...
Indian Trail Improvement District joins call for review of Westlake

Indian Trail Improvement District joins call for review of Westlake

The Indian Trail Improvement District has joined a call by Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay to have Gov. Rick Scott investigate the incorporation of Westlake. “As the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors, elected to serve the residents with regards to drainage, parks and roadways of central Palm Beach County commonly known as The Acreage, we are extremely concerned...

Westlake mayor stands up for city; McKinlay asks Scott to investigate

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay on Thursday asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to investigate the founding of the county’s newest city, Westlake, which sprang to life Monday with the support of only five voters. McKinlay’s request came as the new city’s mayor, Roger Manning, made his first public comments about the unusual circumstances of the city’s incorporation...

Cerabino: I’m ready to fill in for jailed Westlake city council member

Dear Minto Communities: First of all, let me congratulate you on turning what was a taxing district for agricultural water control into a new opportunity for unchecked suburban sprawl in Palm Beach County. Round up five random people, some of whom don’t even have to live in Florida, and call them the city council of your new city of Westlake, and you’ve got yourself a legal and compliant...
McKinlay asks governor to investigate incorporation of Westlake

McKinlay asks governor to investigate incorporation of Westlake

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay has asked Florida’s governor to investigate the incorporation of Westlake, a city that sprung to live on Monday with the support of only five voters. McKinlay raised questions about the new city’s charter, which only requires that two of the five transitional council members reside in Palm Beach County. McKinlay, whose district includes Westlake...
Mayor of Westlake runs printing business, looking forward to serving

Mayor of Westlake runs printing business, looking forward to serving

The newest mayor of Palm Beach County’s newest city doesn’t live there, and he’s not sure he will move there even after taking the oath of office. But Roger Manning, who lives in unincorporated Lake Worth and has run a printing business there for more than 30 years, said he is looking forward to serving as Westlake’s inaugural mayor. Nothing about Westlake’s founding...
Jailed Westlake council member resigns

Jailed Westlake council member resigns

Anthony Fritz, one of Westlake’s founding city council members, resigned on Tuesday in letter addressed to the new town’s mayor. “Mayor,” Fritz wrote in the undated letter. “This letter serves as my formal notice of resignation from the City Council of the City of Westlake effective immediately. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the City of Westlake.” The letter...

Founding council member for new city of Westlake in jail

If Anthony Fritz was planning to help get the new city of Westlake up and running, that work may have to wait. Fritz, one of the five voters whose support led to the creation of Palm Beach County’s newest city, is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail on a battery charge for allegedly attacking his girlfriend, Sheriff’s Office records show. A sheriff’s deputy arrested Fritz on...

Palm Beach County gets 39th city — and county commissioners not happy

It took five people. Five votes. And now, Palm Beach County has a 39th city — Westlake. The new city was officially christened Monday night, when a canvassing board of the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections certified votes in favor of a plan to convert the Seminole Improvement District into a new city called Westlake. A public relations firm working for Minto Communities announced the...

Report: Westlake to become Palm Beach County’s 39th city

A county canvassing board has certified a vote to make the yet-to-be-built 4,500 home Minto Communities development Palm Beach County’s newest municipality, according to a statement released Monday by Minto Communities-Florida. Residents within the Seminole Improvement District voted to create the City of Westlake and make it the county’s 39th municipality. The 4,500-home Minto West community...

How Rick Scott's regulations rollback led to today's building boom

Five years after Gov. Rick Scott scaled back Florida’s growth laws, massive development projects are underway across the state, boosting employment and tax collections but also sparking fears of traffic-choked roads and environmental calamities. Palm Beach County’s unincorporated western area is the site of almost 14,000 new homes planned in coming years, spread across four new communities...
“1000 Friends of Florida” appeals rejection of attempt to block Minto West/Westlake

“1000 Friends of Florida” appeals rejection of attempt to block Minto West/Westlake

The group fighting to overturn approval of the sprawling development now called Westlake said Wednesday it’s appealing last month’s ruling to dismiss its case. “”We believe this ruling is inconsistent with numerous comprehensive plan policies regarding development and road design in and around rural communities,” 1000 Friends of Florida attorney Robert Hartsell said in...
How will three new developments transform Northlake Boulevard?

How will three new developments transform Northlake Boulevard?

The transformation of the rural western end of Northlake Boulevard into a traffic-choked, eight-lane boulevard is poised to begin. After years of false starts, three giant developments promise to draw so many drivers that in 20 years, when all the homes are supposed to be built, traffic would overwhelm western Northlake even if it were as wide as Okeechobee Boulevard. Already, traffic bottlenecks...
County, Minto share court win but at odds over Westlake city move

County, Minto share court win but at odds over Westlake city move

Palm Beach County and Minto Communities shared a legal victory Tuesday when a judge ruled that the county did not violate its comprehensive plan in approving the massive Westlake development project in The Acreage. But the ruling, which knocks down the final legal hurdle erected before the project, doesn’t mean the county and Minto are bosom buddies sharing sips of champagne. Minto, using a...
No ruling Monday on lawsuit trying to stop Minto’s Westlake plan

No ruling Monday on lawsuit trying to stop Minto’s Westlake plan

A lawyer for the planned Minto development to be named Westlake urged a judge Monday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the environmental group 1,000 Friends of Florida and a grassroots coalition of Loxahatchee Groves and Acreage residents trying to block the project. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Edward A. Garrison made no ruling Monday, saying he’d study the case and get back to the lawyers....
Palm Beach County judge hears call to toss Minto lawsuit

Palm Beach County judge hears call to toss Minto lawsuit

A judge Monday heard arguments in a call to throw out a lawsuit trying to block the massive development once called Minto West and now known as Westlake. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Edward A. Garrison made no ruling Monday, saying he’d study the case and get back to the lawyers. In December 2014, the environmental group 1,000 Friends of Florida, and a grassroots coalition of Loxahatchee...
Could Minto’s Westlake become county’s 39th city? 5 voters may decide

Could Minto’s Westlake become county’s 39th city? 5 voters may decide

A handful of voters could make the future 4,500-home Minto West community its own municipality under a plan announced by the project’s developer on Tuesday. Minto Communities, which won approval for the development after heated debate in 2014, said it is “collaborating with” an effort to incorporate the area as Westlake, which would be Palm Beach County’s 39th municipality...
Palm Beach County board OKs rules changes for Indian Trails Grove

Palm Beach County board OKs rules changes for Indian Trails Grove

Indian Trails Grove, a development proposed west of The Acreage that has drawn opposition from environmentalists and preservationists, gained initial approval from the Palm Beach County Commission Tuesday. Commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of county comprehensive plan changes that would make the massive project possible. The changes would allow commercial development in the area and the construction...
Proposed change would allow 8 times as many homes west of Acreage

Proposed change would allow 8 times as many homes west of Acreage

When Palm Beach County commissioners hold a hearing Tuesday on the huge Indian Trails Grove development proposal west of the Acreage, land-use activist Pam Martens won’t be there. Sierra Club member Drew Martin said he will be in attendance, but he won’t be feeling optimistic. Martens, Martin and other environmentalists and preservationists, unsuccessful in repeated attempts to block other...
Ruling knocks down legal challenge to Minto West project

Ruling knocks down legal challenge to Minto West project

A Tallahassee appeals court shot down a legal challenge Thursday to Palm Beach County’s approval of the massive development project formerly known as Minto West. Despite the fact that another legal challenge to the project remains, Minto officials heralded the appeals court ruling and said it would break ground within 90 days. The Palm Beach County Commission approved the 3,800-acre project...
For first time, Palm Beach County cracks 1.4 million total residents

For first time, Palm Beach County cracks 1.4 million total residents

Think Palm Beach County is a fine place to live? Well, add more than 24,000 people to the list of those who feel the same way. The county’s population grew by 24,271 people in the year ending July 1, 2015, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday morning. For the first time, Palm Beach County’s population now stands above 1.4 million — 1,422,789, the Census Bureau...
Goodbye, cowboys: Rural land disappears as development takes over

Goodbye, cowboys: Rural land disappears as development takes over

Think Abacoa is a huge community? What about PGA National? Imagine this — in the past four months, Palm Beach County has approved 15,000 homes, 4.5 million square feet of industrial space, 3.6 million square feet in new office space and 2.5 million square feet of retail space on farmland 20 miles west from the coast, said Neil Merin, chairman of brokerage Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach...
Minto executive says massive Westlake will have $1 billion impact

Minto executive says massive Westlake will have $1 billion impact

Minto Communities Vice President John F. Carter said his firm’s massive development project along Seminole Pratt Whitney Road in the Acreage will bring thousands of jobs to Palm Beach County over the next two decades and have an economic impact of $1 billion. Carter touted the project as “the new downtown of central Palm Beach County” Thursday during an Economic Forum luncheon at...
How growth and elections will shape Palm Beach County in 2016

How growth and elections will shape Palm Beach County in 2016

Big changes are in the offing in Palm Beach County government this year. A trio of long-serving, high-level executives is retiring. Another massive development project is in the pipeline. Commissioners must decide whether to go to voters for a bond issuance or a sales tax increase to pay for improvements to roads, bridges and buildings. And then there are the fall elections that could bring four new...
Residents calling for more Fire Rescue coverage in western communities

Residents calling for more Fire Rescue coverage in western communities

Ken Jarriel is alive today because of the quick thinking of a three-person Palm Beach County Fire Rescue paramedic team — a luxury that’s becoming less common. One man drove the medical truck, one stabilized the 57-year-old and the third relayed information to Palms West Hospital. When Jarriel’s heart stopped as they arrived at the hospital, the already-charged defibrillator in the...
Proposed Roebuck Road extension likely in limbo for five more years

Proposed Roebuck Road extension likely in limbo for five more years

Palm Beach County leaders Tuesday heard their $303 million five-year roads wish list, including the costliest project, one that likely won’t happen any time soon. A 3-mile stretch of Roebuck Road from Jog Road to State Road 7, slightly north of Okeechobee Boulevard, has a price tag of $50 million, 6.5 percent of the total dollars for the 74 projects. While it’s in the five-year plan, it&rsquo...
Lawyers for Minto: We’ll seek sanctions in ‘1000 Friends’ suit

Lawyers for Minto: We’ll seek sanctions in ‘1000 Friends’ suit

In a move their legal opponents call intimidation, lawyers for the massive development formerly called Minto West have preemptively said that, should they successfully defend a challenge by 1000 Friends of Florida and can show the suit was frivolous, they’ll demand big money. In December, the environmental group 1,000 Friends of Florida, and a grassroots coalition of Loxahatchee and Acreage...

Economics, traffic are focus of Avenir workshop in Palm Beach Gardens

Palm Beach Gardens residents and neighbors packed a workshop Tuesday to voice their support of “smart growth” and opposition to traffic stemming from the proposed 3,985-home Avenir development on the city’s western edge. Planner Ken Tuma gave an overview of the scaled-back plans for 3,735 single-family homes and 250 town homes on the former Vavrus Ranch north of Northlake Boulevard...
Policymakers: Referee fight over growth, unloved by both sides

Policymakers: Referee fight over growth, unloved by both sides

In one corner, armed with the ability to hold noisy protests and file time-consuming lawsuits, stand preservationists. They argue that Palm Beach County is developing too much and in the wrong places, threatening the county’s infrastructure, agriculture and natural resources. In another corner stands some landowners and developers. Also armed with the ability to sue and fill government chambers...
Traffic-flow cameras prompt Big Brother concerns for some in Acreage

Traffic-flow cameras prompt Big Brother concerns for some in Acreage

For most of the past 10 years, few motorists have noticed or cared about the roughly 80 video cameras mounted over intersections in Palm Beach County to help improve the flow of traffic. But for some people in The Acreage, where many residents have harbored a deep mistrust of county government because of continued development, the traffic detection cameras are raising a new concern: The county is...

Minto West water project gets $2 million state boost, still needs more

A plan that would provide flood relief for The Acreage courtesy of the disputed Minto West project got a $2 million start last month when Gov. Rick Scott signed the state budget. To cover the remaining $13 million, the developers are looking to taxpayers, suggesting governments that would benefit from the project should pitch in. They’re hoping the project’s boost to drinking water supplies...
Preservationists: Palm Beach County letting growth go too far too fast

Preservationists: Palm Beach County letting growth go too far too fast

Joe and Barbara O’Donnell’s 60-acre horse farm west of Delray Beach is a cocoon of green, walled in by trees. There, with horses neighing in their stalls or striding on some portion of the farm’s lush pasture, it is easy to forget that less than five miles away lies Delray Beach’s downtown entertainment district of concrete and bright lights. That district can’t be seen...
Builders: Growth ‘a reality,’ natural and good

Builders: Growth ‘a reality,’ natural and good

Purple and yellow flags flap in the warm wind, casting long shadows on the deep green landscaping marking the ornate entry of Villaggio Reserve, an upscale retirement community being built near Florida’s Turnpike west of Delray Beach. A spot in Villaggio, at the northwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and Hagen Ranch Road, won’t come cheaply; new homes start near $300,000. If Villaggio, with...

Minto West gets new name — and state OK to move forward

Groundbreaking at Minto Communities’ massive development project in western Palm Beach County could take place later this year now that a legal challenge to it has been swatted away. Minto West, which includes 4,500 homes and the development of 2.1 million square feet of nonresidential space, has been a flash point in the fiery debate about growth in Palm Beach County. Opponents of the project...
G.L. Homes plans 4,000 homes near Minto West; road concerns raised

G.L. Homes plans 4,000 homes near Minto West; road concerns raised

G.L. Homes wants to build nearly 4,000 homes on a horseshoe-shaped tract about 20 miles west of Riviera Beach, a project that Palm Beach County’s top roads engineer says is based on roads that don’t exist or that will be significantly stressed by the development. “We only have so many thoroughfares,” said County Engineer George Webb, whose department is reviewing a traffic...
Palm Beach County’s Weisman: Use sales tax to pay for roads, parks

Palm Beach County’s Weisman: Use sales tax to pay for roads, parks

Outgoing Palm Beach County Administrator Bob Weisman prefers a half-cent sales tax add-on over a bond issue to pay for as much as $200 million in proposed upgrades and repairs to parks and roads, he said Thursday. Weisman, who’s retiring this summer after 23 years, was the keynote speaker at Thursday’s luncheon of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County. “The biggest problem we face...

Judge finds Minto West doesn’t violate state urban-sprawl rules

Minto Communities’ massive development project in western Palm Beach County got a boost Friday when an administrative law judge rejected claims by opponents that pro-Minto changes to Palm Beach County’s comprehensive plan violate state rules against urban sprawl. ALERTS of PBC Inc., a non-profit preservation group, and three county residents had petitioned the judge, arguing that the changes...
Census: County population growth picks up again

Census: County population growth picks up again

Posting its highest rate of population growth since the housing bubble, Palm Beach County added nearly 22,000 people in 2014, according to new Census estimates. The county grew by 21,511 residents from July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2014, the fourth-largest increase among Florida counties and 21st in the nation. Palm Beach County added more residents for the year than did some entire states, including Alabama...
Could 2016 bond sale be the answer for infrastructure needs?

Could 2016 bond sale be the answer for infrastructure needs?

Palm Beach County commissioners kicked off their annual budget discussions Wednesday by exploring the idea of going to voters next year with a referendum on whether the county should issue bonds to pay for millions in unmet needs for roads, parks, libraries and public safety. Last year, commissioners decided against going to voters with a sales tax plan that would have raised money for some of the...
Bill could open door to GL Homes development in west Palm Beach County

Bill could open door to GL Homes development in west Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County is fighting legislation in Tallahassee that would gut chunks of the county’s comprehensive plan and open up a giant tract of land to development. The bill (SB 1244), introduced by state Sen. Charlie Dean Sr., R-Inverness, would allow for the development of undeveloped, unincorporated agricultural land under certain circumstances despite the restrictions of local laws. In the...

PBC comprehensive plan at heart of challenge to Minto West project

The massive Minto West residential and commercial development project will lead to urban sprawl in an area with insufficient roadways, opponents claimed Wednesday during an administrative hearing in a case challenging Minto-friendly comprehensive plan changes approved by Palm Beach County. Those changes, approved in October despite intense opposition from some residents in the area, paved the way...
What’s ahead for new homes in Palm Beach County

What’s ahead for new homes in Palm Beach County

Homebuilding, once a shining star of Palm Beach County’s economy, has been invisible since the Great Recession. New homes account for a mere 4 percent of home sales in Palm Beach County, said David Cobb, regional director of Metrostudy, a housing research firm. The condo crash deterred developers from putting up towers, and zoning hurdles hamper big suburban developments. Even with a resurgent...

Traffic light, new M Canal bridge to fix tie-ups from SR 7 extension

Long-awaited traffic improvements are coming to The Acreage but not without some temporary traffic problems. The opening last week of a mile-long section of State Road 7 has created a new traffic tie-up for southbound motorists at the intersection of Royal Palm Beach Boulevard and 60 Street. Palm Beach County traffic engineers are working this week on a temporary solution until the intersection is...

Two legal challenges threaten to delay Minto West

Opposition to the Minto West development might be waning a bit, but the project will still face at least two legal challenges that threaten to delay work on the initial phases. The environmental group 1,000 Friends of Florida and a grassroots coalition of Loxahatchee and Acreage residents have joined together to file separate motions seeking to overturn the Palm Beach County Commission’s approval...
How McKinlay won the west: Precinct totals show broad victory

How McKinlay won the west: Precinct totals show broad victory

Palm Beach County Commissioner-elect Melissa McKinlay’s victory in the Nov. 4 District 6 race was far more sweeping than her share of the overall vote suggested, an analysis of precinct-level data by The Palm Beach Post shows. McKinlay, who won the three-person race with 46 percent of the total vote, won 63 of the 96 precincts where ballots were cast. That’s three times the number of precincts...
Four options for West Palm water, and none is cheap

Four options for West Palm water, and none is cheap

West Palm Beach commissioners have four options for where the city will get its drinking water. All four plans have a life span of about 20 years and none is cheap. “Whatever we do is a lot of money. And we want to make it right,” Assistant City Administrator Scott Kelly, the city’s point man on water utilities, told commissioners at a Nov. 3 workshop. The one gaining momentum is...

Western Palm Beach County braces for Minto West, other development

Even after winning approval from Palm Beach County commissioners last week, Minto West developers are bracing for legal challenges from opponents who are concerned the project will lead to the end of the rural character of nearby communities. But the developers aren’t putting their project on hold. They’re already planning the first phase of the development, with work that could start...
 Minto West OK’d by Palm Beach County commission after 10-hour meeting

 Minto West OK’d by Palm Beach County commission after 10-hour meeting

Palm Beach County commissioners Wednesday night have their blessing to Minto West, approving key land-use and zoning changes for the massive development in The Acreage that could change the rural character of the county’s central-western communities. Commissioners voted 5-2 in three separate votes to approve the project at 8:30 p.m., ending an emotional 10-hour meeting that featured comments...
Few sparks in last debate for Palm Beach County Commission west seat

Few sparks in last debate for Palm Beach County Commission west seat

The fire truck outside Wellington Village Hall on Monday night was a campaign prop for Andy Schaller, but some of his opponents arriving for an elections forum couldn’t resist poking fun by asking: “Where’s the fire?’’ There certainly wasn’t much fire inside Village Hall during the final candidates’ forum for the Palm Beach County Commission’s District...
Development is coming! Acreage riders fight Minto West from horseback

Development is coming! Acreage riders fight Minto West from horseback

For the past year, residents in The Acreage have been using modern tools like emails and blog-postings to fight the proposed Minto West development. But in the final weeks leading to Wednesday’s deciding Palm Beach County Commission vote, they’ve reached back more than 200 years to borrow a page from Paul Revere. On recent Sunday mornings, riders on horseback have trotted through the maze...

Palm Beach County Board cancels Tuesday workshop

A Palm Beach County commission workshop, scheduled for Tuesday, has been canceled. But commissioners still will have a busy week. They will meet Wednesday for what promises to be long public hearing on proposed comprehensive plan changes for the Minto West development. That hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. on the sixth floor of the county Government Center.
Bold move by developer of big northern PB County project

Bold move by developer of big northern PB County project

The new number is 4,760. The group proposing Avenir, the largest, most complex development since the city’s founding in 1959, learned quickly that the 7,600-home plan it proposed for the old Vavrus Ranch this past year was no more likely to fly than the 1,000 cattle that graze there. City officials and residents, in outreach meeting after outreach meeting by Avenir Holdings, told them they didn&rsquo...

Minto West: Something West Palm Beach couldn’t support

City commissioners Monday heard how great Minto West will be. But they still didn’t like it. The panel, meeting at a work session, was in consensus that it will support a resolution opposing the controversial village of 4,500 homes and 2 million square feet of offices and retail space that would rise at a former orange grove in a nearly 6-square-mile site in the heart of The Acreage, the county&rsquo...

Tide turning for Minto West? Controversial plan gets zoning board’s OK

County government opposition to the Minto West development plan appeared to be easing on Thursday as a Palm Beach County advisory board backed a re-zoning request that would allow the project to rise on 3,800 acres near Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. The nine-member zoning commission, which reviews zoning requests and makes recommendations to county commissioners, voted 6-2 in favor of rezoning the...
Apix: Secret of phony town in Palm Beach County uncovered

Apix: Secret of phony town in Palm Beach County uncovered

Avenir, Minto West, and Lakewood. All projects that developers either will build, or hope to build, in the western reaches of Palm Beach County. But in the late 1950s, one community — the tiny fertilizer-producing town of Apix — stood along the Beeline Highway west of Palm Beach Gardens. Never heard of it? That’s because there was no Apix. It was a phony town, fabricated to keep...
Minto West drainage offer: Boon for The Acreage, or not?

Minto West drainage offer: Boon for The Acreage, or not?

Developers of the controversial Minto West project are making two water-related offers that they hope wary neighbors will consider too good to refuse: Extra drainage capacity to help The Acreage avoid a repeat of the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Isaac two years ago. And water to replenish Grassy Waters Preserve, the main water source for the city of West Palm Beach. West Palm Beach may be open...
Palm Beach County board endorses Minto West plan in 5-2 vote

Palm Beach County board endorses Minto West plan in 5-2 vote

Palm Beach County commissioners endorsed the controversial Minto West development Wednesday despite their staff’s warnings that it could lead to chronic traffic congestion in the central western communities. The commission voted 5-2, with Commissioners Paulette Burdick and Jess Santamaria voting no, at the end of a seven-hour public hearing that included nearly 50 residents speaking against...
Minto West traffic numbers scare neighbors

Minto West traffic numbers scare neighbors

Minto West’s latest traffic study offers encouraging projections for county planners trying to find ways to ease urban congestion, but also some startling ones for residents living around the proposed massive development. For example, along a two-mile stretch of Minto West’s northern boundary, 60th Street North from Seminole Pratt Whitney Road to 140th Avenue, the morning peak hour traffic...

Wellington Village Council won’t take position on Minto West

Breaking from their neighboring communities in a divided vote, Wellington Village Council members decided Tuesday to take a detached position on the proposed Minto West development in The Acreage. The council voted 3-2 to ask for a seat at the table so any potential traffic impacts on Wellington are dealt with, but the board shied away from taking an official position for or against the controversial...
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