This past Tuesday, at the meeting of the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council, a proposal to build offices and a restaurant at the corner of Okeechobee Blvd. and Folsom Road was denied. This was in large part due to citizen activism and participation. As a member of the Loxahatchee Groves Neighborhood Planning Committee and a past councilman involved in the visioning and comp plan process, I remain proud that we can live up to the vision of the majority of citizens in our little town.
That said, I do sympathize with the landowners along Okeechobee Blvd. who have had their speculative dreams of selling out to commercial and moving away. Did I say sympathize? Oops, I meant “understand.” Make money, get out and leave an unsightly, no matter how well-planned, commercialized strip behind. People say that they cannot have single family homes along Okeechobee Blvd. That’s strange; there are plenty there just west of Loxahatchee Groves and all along Seminole Pratt Whitney Road.
Speculation, whether in land or lotto tickets, has no guarantees. Many uses besides commercial offices, restaurants and even single family homes can and do exist for properties along Okeechobee. Green markets, landscape businesses, small office footprints (size of a single-family home), nurseries and anything else with low density and intensity. Preferably, to me, things that are operated only 8 to 5… well, maybe 7 to 6.
How about thinking out of the box? For example, divide lands along Okeechobee into 5-acre parcels (it may take a consortium of adjacent landowners), install a really good buffer (trees, bushes, fences), and run an internal shared access road off the adjacent letter road into this new rural-residential development, perhaps with an equestrian theme, shared barn area, whatever.
Let your imagination do something — something besides Burger King and doctors’ offices.
Bill Louda, Loxahatchee Groves