On Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at Loxahatchee Groves Town Hall, a workshop with the council and supervisors of the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District will consider the future of public roads in the Groves. A roundtable discussion with public comment occurring at the end of the discussion will address turnover of the remaining LGWCD-designated roads to town government.
In early 2016, the town requested that the LGWCD turn over all remaining roads. The board voted 5-0 to deny the request. The board questioned the town’s ability to perform to LGWCD standards, as well as having the financial capability to maintain the additional roads. In a September turnaround, the LGWCD invited the council to the October workshop.
LGWCD specifications for the discussion is that the town submits for the LGWCD approval, the town’s proposed plan for district roads, the timetable for implementation of any proposed plan, and the cost and funding source to implement the town’s plan, so as to determine a rational course of action that is in the best interest of the landowners. Really folks, who is the sheriff in town?
Apparently, in 1999, the LGWCD committed an unconstitutional land grab by blocking a portion of West D Road to serve as a storage yard for sand, rock and dumpsters. A survey of the LGWCD facility as obtained via public document request reveals a 30-foot road easement located on the same turf as West D Road. For the past 16 years, the LGWCD has denied Groves residents from using a safer route to the shopping center and post office.
In 2014, a code enforcement complaint against the LGWCD was filed, as that portion of West D Road was collecting gas tax revenue. In addition, a 1993 site plan of the shopping center and the LGWCD facility indicates West D Road as existing east of the LGWCD fence line, curving and making a direct connection to the shopping center parking lot. The LGWCD fencing system is indicated as being four sided.
In 1999, the LGWCD re-fenced the facility with a Palm Beach County permit. The scope of work under the permit was for fencing on the north, south and west elevations only. The modified fencing system is indicated on the permit plan as being three-sided. The executed agreement with the fencing contractor contains remarks that the LGWCD was to remove existing fencing.
Currently, in LGWCD files, a chain sheet is found that lists the property owner since 1925. In 1978, Loxahatchee Investments is listed as owner, and a local Realtor as trustee. The deed indicates that the roadway is to remain public in perpetuity.
Town government is qualifying for innovative financing to hard-surface the community’s remaining dirt roads without costs to the residents, but requires site control of LGWCD designated roads.
The phantom of the town’s opera may offer argument that Groves roads are nothing more than a cobblestone path of easements and driveways, and are not roads, and therefore not entitled to gas tax revenue. The LGWCD’s new premier will advocate zero gas tax revenue for the town if there is to be none for the LGWCD.
I have been rear-ended by a vehicle doing 45 mph while sitting on a motorcycle at a traffic light. I do not relish the idea of trying to pull out of D Road onto an eight-lane Southern Blvd. with traffic flying at 60-plus mph, and then 100 yards later try to turn into the shopping center entrance.
The lives of Loxagrovians matter.
Perhaps the LGWCD with a new majority on the board will sit in judgement of itself relative to the actions of past LGWCD regimes and turn over the occupied portion of West D Road and the remaining LGWCD designated roads to town government.
Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves