Palm Beach County commissioners voted 5-2 Wednesday to reject an application for comprehensive plan changes to accommodate the Iota Carol development project.
Wednesday’s vote kills the proposed project, which called for 1,030 homes on 1,288 acres west of The Acreage. In rejecting the project, the commission – with a new chair and two new commissioners – broke sharply from its pro-development stance of recent years
Residents near the proposed project complained about the additional traffic it would cause. Commissioners shared those concerns.
The Palm Beach County Zoning Commission approved Wawa’s application to build a 24-hour gas station at the southeast corner of Military Trail and 10th Avenue North west of Lake Worth.
That application will now go to the Palm Beach County Commission for consideration on August 25.
A far more controversial application from Wawa – this one for a gas station at Hypoluxo Road and High Ridge Road – was also to be considered by the Zoning Commission today. But the agenda item was postponed until the Zoning Commission’s September 1 meeting.
Citing noise and traffic concerns, residents near the proposed Hypoluxo Road station have bombarded county commissioners with letters of opposition to the project.
Total property values in Palm Beach County are estimated to have risen 7.85 percent from 2015 to 2016, the county property appraiser said Friday.
That number is higher than the initial estimate, issued in late April, of a 6.6 percent increase. And the new estimate places the county at $164.5 billion, near its all-time high, reached in 2007 at the height of the boom.
The property appraiser’s April 29 estimate was that countywide taxable value grew from $152.6 billion on the first day of 2015 to $162.6 billion on the first day of 2016.
It hit a historic high of $169.5 billion in 2007 before falling to a 10-year low of $124.4 billion three years later as a result of the 2008 housing market crash and recession.
Taxable property value is based on real and tangible property values as of Jan. 1 each year. The county, its municipalities and other taxing authorities use estimates to project how much money they can expect to receive from property taxes in the coming year and to set their tax rates and budgets.
“”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 a statement.
After the county approved the project, formerly known as Minto West, environmentalists, preservationists and residents of The Acreage sued, arguing that the project violated state laws against sprawl and that the county had ignored its own comprehensive plan.
Last year, an administrative law judge ruled that thecounty did not violate state laws against sprawlin approving pro-Minto changes to the county’s comprehensive plan. After the state Department of Economic Opportunity affirmed that ruling, the only legal challenge remaining was whether the county ignored its comprehensive plan in approving the project.
Acting Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Edward Garrison ruled April 26that the county did not do so.
The ruling was the latest setback for environmentalists and preservationists, who argue Westlake and other large development projects will lead to sprawl and damage the environment.
Meanwhile, Minto, using a state law passed in 2012, is backing efforts to have the project area incorporated as the county’s 39th city.
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 and Acreage residents, filed separate motions, seeking to overturn the Palm Beach County Commission’s October 2014 green-lighting of the sprawling mixed-use development.
It would feature 4,500 homes and 2.1 million square feet of offices and retail on 3,800 acres that once raised citrus trees in the heart of The Acreage. The plaintiffs said it would snarl traffic, invite urban sprawl and alter the area’s rural way of life.
In its motion for summary judgment, the county had argued law doesn’t allow 1000 Friends or the residents to get the relief they seek. Plaintiffs had filed a response disputing that.