Loxahatchee Groves residents say ‘no way’ to big development pitched


A developer’s plans for a 94-home neighborhood on 47 acres in Loxahatchee Groves was rejected by the town residents and council during a preliminary presentation Tuesday night.

The project known as Loxahatchee Farms West would be at the southeast corner of C and Collecting Canal roads and would have required changes to the town’s development master plan.

RELATED: Wawa, Aldi proposed for spot on Southern Boulevard

Feedback from residents and the council was blunt: We don’t want this here.

The Loxahatchee Groves comprehensive plan requires that for residential land uses, there can only be one home per five acres of land, with some homes on smaller lots grandfathered in when the town incorporated in 2006.

To make the project a reality, the town would have a new residential land use and zoning to allow a higher density, said Joe Lelonek with Atlantic Land Development, representing the land owners of the four parcels that make up the 47-acre property.

Lelonek argued the town history included in the comprehensive plan outlines historic differences in how the land south of Collecting Canal Road is used.

RELATED: Loxahatchee Groves will see new council member as 3 qualify for open seat

“You find a whole patchwork of smaller lots that have been existing since the town incorporated,” Lelonek said, pointing to the mix of commercial, residential and agricultural uses on the south end of Loxahatchee Groves between Collecting Canal and Southern Boulevard.

But residents said the project would be out of character with the rural nature of the surrounding community. It could bring more traffic and crime, they said.

It also potentially could bring more than 200 new residents, some of whom would be voters.

“Those are residents who don’t share the same rural values as the rest of our community,” said Loxahatchee Groves resident Neil O’Neal III, who is running for Seat 1 on the town council.

Phillis Maniglia — also running for Seat 1 — said that as a Realtor in the area, suggested the land could be used for equestrian facilities. “We don’t need this,” she said. “We’ll change our voting structure.”

RELATED: ‘A forever fight’: In local town, battle lines are drawn on dirt roads

Lelonek addressed some of the concerns:

- Traffic. The benefit he said would be that C Road does not connect north over the canal to Collecting Canal. “A big benefit of this development in this location … is that our development is going to funnel traffic straight down C Road to Southern Boulevard,” he said.

- More urban-minded people. “You are going to have different people moving into the town, whether this development moves forward or not,” Lelonek said.

Residents also expressed concern that approving the plans would set the stage for another developer to make a similar request for a higher-density neighborhood. While Lelonek said that could happen whether or not the project is approved, the council seemed reluctant to take that chance.

“It doesn’t comply with our charter,” said Councilman Ron Jarriel. Councilman Todd McLendon agreed, saying the project “is completely opposite” the comprehensive plan.

Mayor Dave Browning said that as when the town was working to incorporate “we fought hard to get the county to approve one per five,” referring to the number of homes allowed per acre. “And all of a sudden we’re talking about two per acre? No, I don’t think so,” he said.

Lelonek thanked the council and residents for listening to the presentation and “being so civil.”

“I have taken your points head-on and we’ll deal with them accordingly,” he said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

BREAKING: Two crashes on Belvedere in West Palm Beach
BREAKING: Two crashes on Belvedere in West Palm Beach

Authorities are investigating two crashes on Belvedere Road just west of the Interstate 95 Tuesday night. The westbound lanes of Belvedere are closed from the train tracks next to the I-95 ramp to Australian Avenue. It’s unclear how long the road will be closed. West Palm Beach Police have not yet commented on either crash. One crash was...
Tanning beds costing millions in U.S. medical bills, study finds
Tanning beds costing millions in U.S. medical bills, study finds

The rosy glow of indoor tanning pales in comparison to the millions of dollars in medical costs associated with tanning beds. A study, published in the Journal of Cancer Policy, found that tanning beds caused more than 250,000 cases of skin cancer and 1,200 deaths in 2015, at a cost of more than $340 million in medical bills. “The use...
JUST IN: ‘The care they gave’: How EMS saved 77-year-old man after car struck bike
JUST IN: ‘The care they gave’: How EMS saved 77-year-old man after car struck bike

Roy McCarty calls it a blessing not that he was hit by a car, but where. The crash occurred in front of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Station No. 42. The 77-year-old was out for a bike ride at 5 a.m. March 6 when he was struck by a driver who had fallen asleep. Crews at Station 42 were able to stabilize McCarty before another truck returned to take...
Dramatic Miami-Dade police video shows shootout at Trump Doral resort
Dramatic Miami-Dade police video shows shootout at Trump Doral resort

The Miami-Dade Police Department has released dramatic body-cam video from an officer who rushed into the lobby of the Trump Doral resort during a shootout with an armed man at 1:39 a.m. on May 18. Police identified the shooter as Jonathan Oddi, 42. Four days later, a motive for the bizarre incident has not been revealed. The video begins with...
WATCH: Florida man puts ex-girlfriend in trunk, leads deputies on 120 mph chase
WATCH: Florida man puts ex-girlfriend in trunk, leads deputies on 120 mph chase

A man was arrested after deputies said he punched his ex-girlfriend, put her in the trunk of a car, and then lead authorities on a 120 mph chase. The incident began Monday night in DeLand when Darrian Miller, 42, demanded his ex-girlfriend to drive him somewhere, WKMG reports. She complied, but after arriving at a food market Miller told her to...
More Stories