The terms of Loxahatchee Groves Mayor Dave Browning and Councilman Jim Rockett are up this year, and both plan to seek re-election in March.
As of now, no one has come forward to challenge Browning or Rockett, but prospective candidates have until Feb. 5 to file the necessary paperwork. If challengers do come forward, the election will be held Tuesday, March 12.
Browning, who holds Seat 4, has served in the council-appointed role of mayor since the town incorporated in 2006. One of his primary concerns is to fine-tune the comprehensive plan and the Uniform Land Development Code to reflect orderly development.
“We’re still experiencing some growth pains with some of the uses of the land out here, and hopefully we can get those smoothed out,” Browning said.
Palm Beach State College still faces challenges to its plans to build its fifth campus on Southern Blvd. A second petition drive was filed with the town on Jan. 7 to oppose the college, after opponents’ first attempt failed to hold the 10 committee members required for a referendum petition.
The council approved development of the campus several months ago after almost a year of public hearings and workshops. “I hope to get this resolved with the college so there’s no cloud hanging over our head, so they can go ahead,” Browning said.
Browning also hopes to improve resident participation so these types of conflicts don’t arise in the future. “My hope is that in the next few years, communication can be a little better, that there will be more people who will participate and understand what’s going on, and that we all pull together for the sake of our community,” he said.
In his next term, Browning also wants to keep a close eye on the budget. “I think we are at a crossroads right now where it would be very easy to think we’ve got money in the bank and we can spend a lot more,” he said. “I want to do it wisely, so that in the long run, we keep taxes very low, and we keep our quality of life high.”
Rockett, who holds Seat 2, shares a similar outlook.
“There’s unfinished business we have, and I want to be a part of bringing it to a conclusion, so I’m going to run again to follow up and get those things done that we’ve started,” he said. “Certainly, one of them would be to get through the challenge to the college.”
Another of his goals is to get a traffic light on Okeechobee Blvd. that would create traffic gaps so that people can enter and leave the road safely. “Things that are a benefit to the town are high on my list, and there are a lot of benefit things there,” he said.
The Uniform Land Development Code still needs a great deal of work that he wants to see through.
“It’ll take another year or so to go through it, so I feel like I need to stay around and be a part of it,” Rockett said. “I think the second part of it will be more appropriate for the town. We had to put something in place so we could separate ourselves from the county, and we did that. Now we have a document that we can kind of go through the trials and tribulations of tuning it and getting it better applicable to the town and the rural lifestyle we’re trying to protect.”
As for capital projects, Rockett favors paving more roads and improving equestrian trails. He also wants to see a smooth transfer of paved roads from the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District to the town. He noted that district and town attorneys are currently working on the legal aspects of the transfer.
“That process is going to take some doing, and some clear heads, and, I presume, a little bit of work to get it done,” Rockett said.
Rockett also looks forward to working more with the sitting council members. “We’ve put together a good group, and I’d like to be a part of it,” he said.
Seats 2 and 4 are elected at large for three-year terms.
Any resident who wishes to become a candidate for a council seat must qualify with the town clerk between noon Tuesday, Jan. 29 and noon Tuesday, Feb. 5. For more information, contact Town Clerk Susan Eichhorn at (561) 793-2418 or email@example.com.