Hearing Puts Wellington Council In Dangerous Waters

The Wellington Village Council is about to enter dangerous territory. At a special hearing this coming Tuesday, July 17, council members will decide whether to revisit changes to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center property approved last October by the former council. Wellington is taking the unprecedented action of holding a specific hearing to see if information was intentionally left out of last year’s master plan amendment for the Country Place PUD, of which the show grounds are a part. If so, council members could decide to revisit the amendment and possibly reverse the ruling.

This action takes the current council well beyond the controversial Equestrian Village project, which divided the community and the current council majority campaigned against, to issues surrounding the PBIEC, which other than a handful of high-level equestrians who have disagreements amongst themselves as to how the shows should be run, is not something that Wellington residents in general have concerns about.

This sets a very dangerous precedent of future councils going back and redoing what previous councils have done. By opening the door to revisiting land use and zoning decisions made by past councils, this action by the current council raises the question of, what’s next? How far back will the council go to erase decisions in the past they don’t like?

Unfortunately, there’s more at stake regarding Wellington’s future than just the political aspect. As Vice Mayor Howard Coates pointed out before casting a dissenting vote at this week’s meeting, the council’s decision regarding dressage at Equestrian Village could jeopardize the village’s relationship with the equestrian industry. We understand that elections have consequences, and that the three council members who won this past March did what they said they would do. But after the unpopular commercial/hotel aspects of the Equestrian Village were eliminated, the council didn’t stop there, but went on to attack the part most people liked — the dressage element. The question now is, again, what next?

The basis for the council’s special hearing on the Country Place PUD is that a 10-year-old master plan decision was left out of the application detailing the site’s history. It’s a line that has also been left out of several other changes to the PUD over the past decade. Should everyone who built in that area or made improvements to their properties over the past decade have to worry that the council might come for them next? This is the problem with taking such unprecedented action for a specific purpose — when you open up Pandora’s Box, you have no control over what comes next.

Many people are concerned about the future of Wellington, and right now they have every right to be. If changing rules and regulations were as easy as pressing the Undo key on a computer, they wouldn’t hold much weight in the first place.


  1. Well, Bob, I am a first-time poster. I am a partner in a farm in Grand Prix.

    From what I’m hearing, there’s lots more than two or three people who would be posting. So just keep underestimating.

    And you refer to the Alliance press release on Market Watch to make it appear important. Instead it shows you are a phony. All press releases are posted in Market Watch and people like you use it to inflate the apparent importance.

    • Can I ask who the majority is beyond the Jacobs, Neil Hirsch, Mat Forrest and Mason Phelps? And Phelps will be punished by USEF for his activities related to all this. And beyond Bob, who is most likely paid by Jacobs, seems no one is willing to take the time to express support for Mr. Jacobs.

  2. I want my view expressed on all related stories because I and many others are disgusted with what is going on.

    The three known as the Jacobs majority are putting our village at risk. We will lose our tax base and jobs and our taxes will go up.

    During the election the Jacobs candidates (Margolis, Willhite and Greene) all attested that that they supported the dressage arena. And many of my neighbors supported them partly based on that and a perception of existing irruption. And I supported Willhite.

    But I watched the council meeting on Tuesday and John Greene was squirming from the questioning by Howard Coates regarding the new dressage facility.

    Coates finally forced him to show his true intent: Get the new Arena torn down because Jeremy Jacobs wants it torn down.

    And you can be sure that is also the intent of Margolis and Willhite. This group is vey well organized and Greene has now become their spokesman.

    It it is said that once a Marine always a Marine. But it is sad to see that is not the case with Matt Willhite. Politics have taken honor and valor out of him. I was Army and we left no man behind. Willhite is leaving the Village behind.

    As Howard Coates said, this council is taking a scorched earch approach against Wellington residents on behalf of the Jacobs family.

    And I salute the Crier for keeping residents informed. You can bet the Margolis, Willhite and Greene do not want a light shown on what’s happening.

    And a thank you to council members Howard Coates and Anne Gerwig for standing up for the people against this well-funded and well coordinated assault against the equestrian industry.

  3. These council members are using our money to pursue the Jacobs’ agenda and putting us at risk. Businesses will be hurt by the dismantling of the equestrian industry, our tax base will go down and taxes up, but the Jacobs will be happy because there will be fewer cars on Pierson. Bob Margolis, his mini-me Willhite and John Greene need to be investigated by the Inspector General.

  4. I’m very concerned about this council and regret very much I voted for the three that are doing the damage. Maybe I am selfish but I worry about the value of our house and my kids future to stay in Wellington.

  5. It is ironic that a crisis in leadership can bring the Equestrian and Non-Equestrian communities together. The actions being undertaken by the council majority need to be stopped because they will damage all of us — property values, taxes, jobs, recreation and quality of life.

  6. Hooray for the Crier! We need the Inspector General and State Attorney to investigate Margolis, Willhite and Greene. They are emboldened by the $$billions of the Jacobs family and are out to destroy Bellissimo rather than being concerned about our economy and tax base.

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