Letter: Jarriel: Problems With Petition

The following are problems regarding the petition for an initiative to repeal Town of Loxahatchee Groves ordinances numbered 2012-04 and 2012-05:

1) Town ordinances 2012-04 and 2012-05 included comprehensive plan amendments for the Simon property to accommodate the future Palm Beach State College campus. The ordinances involved public hearings and followed the required legal process.

2) The town’s charter does not specifically allow for a petition and referendum process to initiate or repeal comprehensive plan amendments or development orders.

3) There is a state statute that will prevent an initiative or referendum process from being used to repeal the town’s ordinances that amend the comprehensive plan to accommodate Palm Beach State College’s use of the Simon property for a western communities campus.

4) Palm Beach State College relied on the town’s comprehensive plan amendments in its decision to purchase the Simon property. The college’s attorney has advised the town that if the subject ordinances are repealed, the town will be liable to reimburse the college for the approximately $4.5 million that has been spent so far for property acquisition and campus development plans.

5) The approximate costs to be assessed to each landowner over the period of five years would be $4,713.

The current petition is a negative process pursued by a few persons who seek to protest the town’s ordinances that they disagree with, despite their opportunities to be heard during multiple town meetings and workshops regarding the comprehensive plan amendments adopted as ordinances 2012-04 and 2012-05.

With no reasonable prospect to legally repeal these ordinances, continuing this petition protest will waste time and money — and damage the town’s relationship with Palm Beach State College. This is not a productive or positive exercise. Please do not sign the petition just because someone asks you to sign and does not provide adequate information, including the significant risk of adverse cost consequences for all landowners.

Please keep in mind, the last petition to change the voting process of Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District supervisors cost the landowners/taxpayers more than $100,000, and it did not change the end results of the last election.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact me at (561) 315-5213.

Ron Jarriel, Councilman
Loxahatchee Groves