If you live in the north end of Royal Palm Beach, you need to be informed of the March 12 election. Despite the concerns of hundreds of residents who live in the Saratoga, Madison Green and Hawthorne developments, Councilwoman Martha Webster is still pushing for commercial or industrial development on the village’s old water treatment plant property. Despite the recommendations of a task force that was charged with coming up with a land use designation that would protect these residents, Mrs. Webster and her allies from the local chamber of commerce have made it their mission to promote commercial/industrial development on this piece of village-owned property.
For those parents who have children attending H.L. Johnson Elementary School, can you imagine the impact that this kind of development will have on your child’s ability to safely walk or ride their bikes to school with increased car and truck traffic rumbling down an already overcrowded Crestwood Blvd.? How would the village mitigate the impact of increased noise and light pollution to those homes that border the site? How will this kind of development help maintain the property value of your home in an already depressed market?
At a Feb. 16 candidates forum put on by the Saratoga Homeowners’ Association, a resident asked, “Would you vote for anything other than a residential community on the old wastewater treatment plant property? Yes or No?” Three of the four candidates gave an emphatic “no” answer. Mrs. Webster would not answer the question.
Another tell-tale sign is a review of her campaign treasurer’s report. More than 80 percent of her contributions come from individuals, corporations or businesses located outside of Royal Palm Beach. One has to wonder who she is beholden to when she votes for any kind of a land use change in our village.
There is, however, a viable alternative. David Swift, a former Royal Palm Beach councilman with more than 20 years of experience, is challenging Mrs. Webster in the March election. He has previously listened to our residents and has voted against commercial or industrial development on this site. He has a long list of accomplishments in our town and has demonstrated the ability to work cooperatively with other members of council.
In closing, I urge all residents of Royal Palm Beach to become engaged, informed voters, pose questions to these candidates and make plans to vote on Election Day.
Royal Palm Beach