Letter: Louda: Petition Has Good Intensions But Poorly Timed

Lately, the Loxahatchee Groves petition drive of some citizens has gained a bit of press, and here’s more. The Simon property at the corner of B Road and Southern Blvd. has for many, many years come forward with plan after plan for development. This includes everything from near zero-lot-line homes, to RV parks, to solid commercial and so on.

Over the last two years, the Simon Trust and Palm Beach State College worked out a plan for the college, plus scaled-back (though to me, still too much) commercial. There were many council and planning & zoning board meetings that were well advertised and open to the public for discussion. There were mail-outs and e-mails. There were single-purpose meetings at the chamber of commerce. There were zoning and land-use hearings. The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council then approved a plan and the state moved forward with the land purchase.

Now a small cadre of citizens wants to stop this and go to a referendum of the qualified voters in town. The time for that was over a year ago, not now. Now we must look to minimizing these impacts (traffic, noise, light).

Presently and in the future I would support, nay encourage, referenda for major impact land use changes if and only if it occurs before decisions are made. Therefore, I request anyone asked to sign this petition to think again and not do so.

Loxahatchee Groves, from the days that we worked on the neighborhood plan until and after incorporation, has held that our commercial and other high impacts go to our southern border and not in the heart (Okeechobee Blvd., a.k.a. “middle road”) of our town.

As future land use changes involving high-impact development come forward — and they will — let’s certainly go to referendum before, not after, the council must act. The proposed charter amendment I am in support of but not as it is being presented — linked to the repeal of Town Ordinance 2012-04. This is typical political slight-of-hand, linking the good with the bad. Read through the smoke and mirrors, people!

Bill Louda
Loxahatchee Groves