NEW: Another delay for proposed airstrip community in Wellington

Dec 14, 2017
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A proposed Wellington development would marry the aviation aspect of the Aero Club, runway seen here, with equestrian facilities in demand in the western communities. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

Wellington’s Planning, Zoning and Adjustments Board on Wednesday postponed reviewing the master plan of a controversial proposal that would marry the village’s equestrian and aviation lifestyles in one neighborhood. 

The postponement was made at the request of the developers behind Flying Cow Ranch, which would bring homes, barns and small planes to a 150-acre property south of the Wellington Environmental Preserve off Flying Cow Road. 

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It is the second delay requested by owners Mark, Timothy and Patricia McCarthy, with the first coming last month as they requested more time from the village council to meet with residents and review concerns about safety and noise before the council hears zoning and comprehensive plan changes related to the proposal. 

As part of the master plan, an existing 1,800-foot airstrip would be extended to 4,000 feet. It also includes 30 residential units, a clubhouse, hangars, barns, a recreational area and a tie-down space for airplanes. 

The Flying Cow Ranch master plan now will go before the planning board on Feb. 14, after the village council hears the zoning and comprehensive plan changes on Jan 23. 

Jennifer Vail with Wantman Group Inc., the agent for the project, cited the need to meet with concerned residents of the Aero Club and Palm Beach Point communities in a letter requesting the postponement. 

“We have had one meeting to date with representatives from both of those communities and did agree to have additional meetings and follow-up with each community to further discuss the project and work toward addressing the concerns of the neighboring communities,” Vail wrote. “The above postponement request will allow us to continue to meet with the neighboring communities and will also be consistent with the postponement of the other application requests for the project going before the Council on January 23, 2018.” 

A proposal to build an aviation/equestrian neighborhood in Wellington hit a bump Wednesday when the planning board told the developers they need to work with the Aero Club to iron out issues with converging flight paths. Photo: Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The zoning and comprehensive plan changes and master plan initially went to the Planning, Zoning and Adjustments Board in October. While that board passed the zoning and comprehensive plan changes at that time, board members delayed voting on the master plan until residents’ concerns about the proposed extended airstrip were addressed. 

At the October planning board meeting, Aero Club residents said they feared the extended airstrip and increased air traffic would conflict with their landing and takeoff patterns. 

Cory Lyn Cramer with Wellington’s planning department told the board Wednesday night that the additional time also would allow the McCarthys to make any changes to the site plan that might be necessary following the Jan. 23 council meeting.