The Town of Loxahatchee Groves will see road improvements, as well as new construction proposals in 2018. Also during the coming year is the possible merger of the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District with the town’s government, Town Manager Bill Underwood said.
“It’s going to be a busy year, starting with road drainage improvements, followed, hopefully, by a bond issue to make some significant road improvements,” Underwood told the Town-Crier on Wednesday. “The voters approved it in a referendum. We had to go through some effort to get the paperwork in place to move it through the system. We’re doing that now.”
Underwood said a study is underway to conduct general road improvements and maintenance through an assessment program.
“We are looking for a company to come in and work on a road assessment,” he said “Those offers are due Jan. 30. We’ll see what comes in.”
He said there should be no problem finding contractors to do the work as long as the town has a good assessment program.
“We had six bids when we did South B Road, so I would expect that this assessment program, whatever the outcome is, we will have people,” he said. “It should not be an issue.”
Road improvements will remain a priority in order to restore roads washed out in 2017, Underwood said.
An application to the town is moving forward for a 7-acre commercial project on the Solar Sportsystems property on Southern Blvd. at the northeast corner of South B Road. The project includes a Wawa, Chase Bank and Aldi grocery store.
“They are moving through the process,” he said. “We also have an application between C Road and D [Road] off of Southern that has additional housing development going in there.”
The application will be heard first by the Roadways, Equestrian, Trails & Greenway Advisory Committee.
“They’ll be making a presentation to the RETGAC in the next two to three weeks,” he said. “They are scheduled to make a presentation to the council on Jan. 16 at 6 p.m.”
The town will also be looking at the possible merger of the LGWCD with the town. In October, the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation approved a local bill submitted by the LGWCD that starts the process to enable the district to become dependent to the town.
The process will require the state legislature to pass the local bill, which ultimately will lead to a public referendum.
“Right now, it has to go through the House and the Senate in Tallahassee and be signed by the governor,” Underwood said. “Then [the district] would have to pick some date for the election, but we’re preparing for it.”
Controlling the increase of recreational vehicles in town during the equestrian season will be addressed in the coming year, although he does not know if it will be as big an issue as it has been in years past. The equestrian season goes into full swing in January.
“We won’t know until or if it happens,” Underwood said. “Thus far we haven’t heard or received any complaints.”
He said that illegal manure dumping doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue as before.
“I believe the Village of Wellington has taken a very strong stance against illegal manure dumping and hauling,” Underwood said. “I think we receive an implicit benefit through that.”
The town recently enacted a flood control policy in compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program, which Underwood said requires extensive paperwork for the town to complete.
“That’s big for some people,” he said. “The application process is underway. It’s actually quite detailed. It is much more detailed than I anticipated, but we’re working on it. That’s going to be big in 2018.”
He noted that Underwood Management Services Group’s relationship with the town, which has been challenged by some council members and town factions, appears to be stable for now, but will likely be an issue later in the year.
“The contract expires Sept. 30,” Underwood said. “And I don’t think there’s an extension on that.”
Nevertheless, Underwood is hopeful that 2018 will be a productive year.
“The town has got a lot going on,” he said. “It ought to be a good year getting a lot done.”