GL Homes’ comprehensive plan amendment request for a 3,897-home development comes before the Palm Beach County Commission on Thursday, Sept. 22, and the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors spent time Wednesday discussing a letter outlining proposed conditions to be sent to the county regarding the project.
Attorney Marty Perry, representing ITID, went over conditions that had been prepared by district negotiating staff as a result of discussions with GL Homes representatives.
“That hearing is really the only critical issue that we have standing before us,” Perry said, explaining that the letter advises the county of issues that ITID would like to address.
The letter explains that GL Homes has expressed its intent to enter into a legally binding agreement with ITID that will address the project’s impacts on the district.
GL Homes’ commitments include its intention to form an active unit of development within ITID and to convey a 640-acre parcel without cost to be used as a stormwater reservoir. GL Homes also commits to financially improve district-owned roads west of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, specifically Hamlin Blvd., Orange Blvd. and 180th Avenue North.
The letter points out that these roads were built and are currently maintained exclusively by special benefits assessments paid by ITID landowners and that improvements are needed on portions of those roads west of Seminole Pratt.
It also includes a condition that all construction traffic be on 60th Street North.
Perry complimented the GL Homes representatives on their willingness to cooperate, although they turned down some requests from district negotiators.
“They have been more forthright than Minto Communities,” Perry said. “They have been open, and they have been free for discussion. They’re interested because they are required to, as well as their own personal self-interests, in meeting with us and trying to reach some kind of understanding with Indian Trail relative to their development. They are required by the Board of County Commissioners to make an effort to do that, and it’s in their best interests.”
After a supervisor objected to the format of negotiators’ meetings with supervisors, Perry said the difficulty of representing a public body with this type of negotiation is that the developer comes to the district with a proposal, and the negotiator cannot respond immediately. “We have no idea what this group’s consensus response to that proposal is going to be,” he said, explaining that ITID representatives are not prepared to get in a discussion because they don’t really know where they are going, and they must meet with supervisors individually to get an idea of what they want and try to formulate some way to go back and continue discussions.
“The only significant thing in terms of timing tonight, is one item, and that is, do we respond to Palm Beach County’s request for conditions to be attached to their approval coming next Thursday?” he asked.
Reviewing proceeds of discussions with the developer, he said the density of homes is consistent with the surrounding density.
GL Homes also seeks 350,000 square feet of non-residential uses. Perry added that the developer has access rights that date back to the 1950s as a result of negotiations with private homeowners.
“Their intent is to handle their own drainage,” Perry said. “They won’t be impacting Indian Trail’s surface water management system. If anything, they’ll be benefiting ITID by virtue of the proposed contribution of one square mile of area that will be used as a water retention area for the district.”
He said that the developer has agreed to provide timely road improvements when they are needed.
Perry added that the document being developed is to form a framework that the district can use to deal not only with GL Homes, but also with Iota Carol, a 1,030-home development proposed near the GL Homes development.
He said the response is based on assumptions that the county commission will approve the development. “It hasn’t been decided yet, but it’s fairly certain that that’s going to happen,” Perry said. “County staff appears to be recommending approval.”
ITID President Carol Jacobs asked about GL Homes’ ability to incorporate, and attorney Frank Palin said conditions being suggested by the county include a condition of approval that would limit the ability of the development to incorporate.