Groves Council Approves Paved Road Transfer

The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council approved a resolution Tuesday for a quit-claim deed with the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District. The deed would transfer ownership of paved portions of the lettered roads to the town.

Town Attorney Michael Cirullo said the quit-claim deed will transfer the LGWCD’s interest in those road portions to the town.

“It is on their agenda for next Monday,” Cirullo said, explaining that through discussions with the LGWCD attorney, it was determined the method to transfer the roads would be the same as for Compton Road and Marcella Blvd., using quit-claim deeds.

The district, meanwhile, decided it would be in its best interest to transfer ownership to the town, since the roads no longer need grading, and the town has more authority to control traffic.

Sections set for transfer include: A Road from Okeechobee Blvd. to North Road and North Road for about one-quarter mile east of A Road; C Road South from Collecting Canal Road to Okeechobee Blvd. and Collecting Canal Road about one-quarter mile each direction from C Road; C Road north from Okeechobee Blvd. to North Road and North Road for about a quarter mile in each direction from C Road; and D Road from Okeechobee Blvd. to North Road and North Road about one-quarter mile in each direction from D Road.

Councilman Tom Goltzené asked about sections of North Road not included in the resolution, and Cirullo said town staff had not yet received direction on them. He pointed out that the road segments under consideration were those that had been approved under a special act by the legislature for paving of the roads.

“After you take care of this, you could discuss whether or not you want to authorize us to work on that transfer as well, and ask the water control district to consider it Monday night so we could get that moved, too,” Cirullo said.

Councilman Jim Rockett said another issue to address is Collecting Canal Road and other small unpaved sections that need paving.

During public comment, LGWCD Supervisor John Ryan said the district board had been looking at two pieces to complete by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

“The first piece was what’s before you tonight for special act road segments,” said Ryan, who had been instrumental in getting the special act through the legislature to pave the roads. “The two oddball items that were also involving [paved] road segments were the fill-ins on North Road, and North F and South F.”

Ryan explained that the history of those sections make them a bit more complicated.

Ryan added that the district was timing the quit-claim deeds to when it completed the paving work in order to remain clear on what surveys were complete, whether the maintenance maps were recorded and what funds needed to be transferred to complete the work.

“I think we’re taking it in steps,” he said. “I think we realize that we have a deadline of Sept. 30 to complete the North Road and the F Road segments.”

Rockett made a motion to approve the resolution, which carried 5-0.

Rockett also made a motion directing staff to work with the district on transferring ownership of the gaps on F Road to the town. That also carried 5-0.

In other business, Town Manager Mark Kutney said the Intergovernmental Coordination Committee had discussed the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood plain maps that stand to raise most residents’ flood insurance costs.

Kutney said that he and the town’s consulting engineer attended a meeting in West Palm Beach on July 31 with FEMA officials and other municipal representatives from around the county.

“FEMA sent a delegation down from Atlanta, and a lot of local experts got up and spoke to FEMA officials, and they pretty much pleaded their case in terms of how out-of-date the current maps are,” Kutney said. “The county has been fighting for more time to allow FEMA to adjust its maps… FEMA officials have indicated that they are willing to look at additional data, although they are not really supposed to until they have the appeals process started.”

Public input meetings are scheduled to start Sept. 9, Kutney said, explaining that numerous agencies are working on responses, including the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation, the League of Cities, the South Florida Water Management District, the Western Communities Council and the county, as well as the municipalities working independently.

“Our town engineers have drafted a letter, which we are going to be sending to FEMA on our letterhead giving a quick review of what we see based upon the mapping information that they have sent us,” Kutney said. “There are a lot of efforts here locally to try to meet what could be a serious situation.”

Mayor Dave Browning said he thought the proposed FEMA maps were a move by insurance companies to allow them to increase insurance rates. “I don’t think there’s a lot in Loxahatchee Groves that’s lower than 17 feet above sea level,” Browning said.