NEW: Palm Beach Polo, Polo West owner takes requests to court

Jan 16, 2018
The owner of Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club has asked a court to review the Wellington village council’s decision to deny his requests for changes at his golf courses at Palm Beach Polo and Polo West Golf Club. (Jennifer Podis/The Palm Beach Post)

The owner of Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club and Polo West Golf Club in Wellington has asked a court to review the village council’s decision in unanimously denying requests made for changes at the clubs’ golf courses.

Businessman Glenn Straub had asked Wellington to allow field and equine sports at Palm Beach Polo, and equine sports at Polo West. An initial application requested allowing field sports at Polo West, but Straub withdrew that request before the application made it before the council.

RELATED: Wellington denies Palm Beach Polo, Polo West golf course changes

Straub also asked for approval of several access points at Palm Beach Polo and his property that runs just east of Stribling Way under the Florida Power & Light Co. power lines. He also requested an access point from Greenview Shores Boulevard to the west side of his Polo West golf course at the light for Wellington Community High School.

Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Committee recommended approval only for Straub’s property east of Stribling, and adding equine sports to the master plan for the golf course at Polo West. The planning board, however, went a step further in recommending approval of the power line property changes, but complete denial of the Polo West requests.

Straub’s attorney Alec Domb said in Palm Beach County Circuit Court filings that the village council did not base its unanimous denial of both applications made at an eight-hour meeting that ran into the early hours of Dec. 12 on “competent substantial evidence.”

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Domb wants the court to review the proceedings of Wellington’s village council to determine if there were irregularities in how it made decisions.

The three-judge circuit court panel will review these three points:

“The essential argument is that there were things that we asked for in the master plan amendments to which we were entitled and for which there was really not argument or dispute set forth at the hearing on Dec. 11,” Domb told The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday. “There was no testimony or evidence submitted for a good reason not to support the things we asked for in the master plan amendments.”

Hundreds of residents of Palm Beach Polo and Polo West opposed Straub’s requests at the Dec. 11 meeting, while others mailed letters of opposition to the village council and staff.

RELATED: Two controversial proposals push Wellington meeting to 2:21 a.m.

During the public hearings — the applications were heard separately, with one hearing for Palm Beach Polo and one for Polo West — attorneys for the Palm Beach Polo Property Owners Association and the Polo West Homeowners Association argued the applications did not meet standards required to be approved.

But Domb in the petitions said there was no opposition to parts of each application, including changing the use allowed for the defunct Palm Beach Polo golf course north of Forest Hill Boulevard. Domb also said an expert land planner who testified for the Polo West HOA “did not address the access to the property from Greenview Shores Boulevard.”

Many residents argued changes would lead to more requests from Straub to build or further change the properties.

Domb told The Post that residents’ arguments that Straub’s requests were a precursor to a larger project “were a waste of everyone’s time, because that’s not what was before the council, and it wasn’t before the EPC and it wasn’t before the PZAB.

“The problem is when you bring out that many people who are adamantly against anything happening, including playing soccer or Frisbee or whatever, the people who are elected by the people are going to vote the way they want,” Domb added. “But that’s why there are administrative appeals, because that doesn’t mean that was the correct decision, or a legally supportable decision.”

Village Attorney Laurie Cohen declined to comment on the merits of the petitions, but said the village will respond if required to do so by the court.