PBC approves land use change for horse manure recycling

082812 (Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post) -- Boynton Beach -- Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center is helping out horse owners in flooded areas of Palm Beach County by opening its stalls to the public at their facility in Boynton Beach on Tuesday. Palm Meadows is not charging for the temporary stalls and owners have to provide their own care, hay, feed and bedding. They are currently housing 11 horses in their 1400 stalls. (Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post)
(Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County commissioners approved a land use change that would allow a horse manure recycling facility to operate between Belle Glade and Wellington, the epicenter of the county’s equestrian industry.

The land use change will be transmitted to state officials for review and come back to commissioners for final approval in March or April when Horizon Compost hopes to get approval of its zoning application for a facility that would be located on 32 acres eight miles east of Belle Glade and eight miles west of Wellington.

Horizon says it has a process that can clean horse bedding, which can be re-used while the manure is turned into a high-grade fertilizer.

Commissioners, who unanimously approved the land use change, said they believe the recycling facility can reduce illegal dumping of manure in the county.

Solution for excess horse manure?

Palm Beach County has a problem – too much horse manure. And that’s not because presidential candidates keep coming here.

No, the county has a vibrant equestrian industry. But some of the waste from those horses is dumped illegally, threatening the environment.

More companies that recycle or process that waste have wanted to set up shop in the county, but residents, wary of the potential odorous effects of such an operation, have shouted NIMBY (not in my backyard).

County officials now hope they have a solution.

Commissioners have given preliminary approval to an amendment of the county’s comprehensive plan that would allow an equestrian waste recycling pilot project to operate in an area called the Glades tier, a large swath of unincorporated farming land west of Wellington and east of Belle Glade.

The goal is to have the operation located close enough to the equestrian hot spot of Wellington but not close enough to Wellington (or to cities in the Glades, for that matter) for it to foul the air of neighborhoods and depress property values.

Commissioner Priscilla Taylor initially expressed concern that the operation would be foisted upon already economically depressed cities in the Glades, but Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, whose office has been working on the issue, assured her that is not the case.

McKinlay’s district includes the Glades, and she bristled at the suggestion that she would support foisting anything on the area.

Ultimately, commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the amendment, which must be reviewed by state officials before it comes back to the county for final approval.

McKinlay viewed the amendment as a step in the right direction.

“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of tons that need to be disposed of,” she said.

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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 $276,000 per year – will likely increase criticism of how the new city was incorporated.

Stay with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com for complete coverage of Westlake.

City of Westlake interim city attorney Pam Booker during a city council meeting in Westlake, Florida on July 11, 2016.  (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
City of Westlake interim city attorney Pam Booker during a city council meeting in Westlake, Florida on July 11, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

 

With one vote, Massey re-elected president of Seminole Improvement District

Scott Massey was re-elected president of the Seminole Improvement District on Monday.

Five residents of the area served by the district recently voted to incorporate the area into Palm Beach County’s newest city, Westlake. But the district continues to provide water and road maintenance services.

Minto's Westlake Community Center sits empty on Seminole Pratt Whitney Road across from Seminole Ridge High School in Westlake, Florida on June 24, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Minto’s Westlake Community Center sits empty on Seminole Pratt Whitney Road across from Seminole Ridge High School in Westlake, Florida on June 24, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Massey was re-elected with the only vote that counted — that of John Carter, vice president of Minto Communities, the largest landowner in the district.

District rules allow Carter to cast proxy votes based on majority landownership, and he cast those votes for Massey.

Minto, PBC prevail in legal challenge to development project

Minto Communities and Palm Beach County have prevailed in a legal challenge to the 4,500-unit development project in The Acreage.

ALERTS of Palm Beach County, a Loxahatchee community group, 1000 Friends of Florida and two Acreage residents sued Minto and the county, arguing that the county did not adhere to its comprehensive plan in approving the project.

But on Tuesday acting Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Edward Garrison ruled in favor of Minto and the county.

The ruling was one of several that have cleared the way for construction to take place.

Check with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com later today for more on this story.

John Carter, vice president of Minto Communities, discusses the company's controversial Minto West project in West Palm Beach, Florida on July 30, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
John Carter, vice president of Minto Communities, discusses the company’s controversial Minto West project in West Palm Beach, Florida on July 30, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

PBC Commission to take up sales tax issue at May 3 meeting

The Palm Beach County Commission will meet on May 3 to discuss a plan to raise the sales tax to pay for upgrades to roads, bridges, schools and county buildings.

Cities are entitled a cut of the sales tax proceeds, which are expected to be $2.7 billion over 10 years. Because the sales tax money would also be shared with the Palm Beach County School District, elected officials representing a majority of city residents had to approve the split.

That threshold was reached once West Palm Beach and Wellington approved the plan.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker said the sales tax issue will be added to the May 3 agenda.

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PBC could push sales tax vote to May 3

Palm Beach County could push a public hearing on a proposed sales tax hike to May 3, two weeks later than commissioners had expected to take up the issue.

Cities would get a portion of the $2.7 billion over 10 years the tax increase is expected to generate. Because the money would also be shared with the Palm Beach County School District, elected officials representing a majority of city residents would have to approve the split.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker said that threshold will be reached if West Palm Beach approves the plan tonight and if Wellington backs it on Tuesday. In that scenario, Baker said it is possible initial plans for an April 19 public hearing on the sales tax could go forward.

But if either of those cities reject the plan, more time would be needed to reach the 50 percent plus one threshold that would clear the way for a public hearing. Delray Beach is expected to consider the plan on April 19, with Riviera Beach taking it up on April 20.

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