High-Profile Projects Head To Wellington Boards

Next week, Wellington’s advisory boards will hear two issues that have made recent headlines. The Wellington Equestrian Preserve Committee will get to weigh in on the proposed master plan and compatibility determination for Equestrian Village, while the Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board will hear an appeal regarding a proposed cellular communications tower near the Wellington Marketplace shopping plaza.

The public will have a chance to comment on both proposals during meetings at the Wellington Municipal Complex.

The Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board will meet Monday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m., while the Equestrian Preserve Committee will meet Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 6:15 p.m.

Though approvals for the 2014 Global Dressage Festival are set, Equestrian Village owners are seeking approval of a compatibility determination and master plan amendment that would allow the site to operate as a commercial equestrian arena.

“There are two parts,” Planning & Development Services Director Tim Stillings said. “The master plan amendment primarily addresses access, and then the commercial equestrian arena determination… will effectively give them permanent approval for events on the site so they won’t have to request annual special permits.”

The change would allow the venue to operate year-round, with limited use in the summer.

“As part of the determination, they will have to tell us the proposed intensity for the site,” Stillings said. “The events will still be generally between November and April. In the summer, the venue will be used for a riding school and some related training events, but nothing of the magnitude that happens during the equestrian season.”

Stillings said the application does not have any new building construction.

A site plan submitted Aug. 1 shows that the site would have a 14,600-square-foot temporary banquet hall with kitchen and restrooms, temporary stalls and a two-story open-air tiki hut. A bridle path surrounds the property.

Stillings said a recent change to the site plan would move some parking from the northeast corner of the site closer to the rings on the east end of the property.

“They removed the parking that was on the former polo fields,” he said. “They moved it closer to the rings.”

Other parking would be available on the southwest corner of the site, as well as near the barns and main arena.

This will be the first time plans for the site are heard in a public forum since Wellington Equestrian Partners, which owns the property, agreed to resubmit the plans in an effort to cease litigation with the Village of Wellington.

If the two sides cannot agree on the applications, however, the lawsuits could continue.

The project is scheduled to go before the Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board on Oct. 2 before heading to the Wellington Village Council at the end of October, Stillings said.

On Monday, Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board members will hear an appeal by Clearview Tower Co. regarding a variance required by Wellington staff before the company can seek approval for a 120-foot cell phone tower in the Wellington Marketplace.

Stillings said that because the tower is adjacent to homes and taller than 61 feet, Wellington staff has interpreted village code to mean that the tower must be set at least 600 feet from homes and meet setbacks.

“[Clearview’s] position is that the code provides an option,” he said. “We’re suggesting that the language is not an option.”

Originally the company was requesting two variances — one for the setback requirement and one for the height of the tower. Wellington requires a variance for structures larger than 120 feet, and Clearview initially requested a tower of 140 feet.

“The reason for the height is that they wanted to include a larger number of [wireless] providers in the tower,” Stillings said. “At 120 feet, they can have three providers.”

Wellington staff has recommended denial of the application.

“Beyond that, we are somewhat hampered by legislation for wireless communications,” Stillings said. “If this application is denied, we have to work with them to find a suitable location.”

The board has to decide first whether to support Clearview’s appeal of the staff’s interpretation of the code, Stillings said.

“If PZAB supports their appeal, they would no longer need the variance or separation requirement,” he said. “The board would just make a recommendation to the council regarding the conditional use request.”

But denying the appeal would mean the board must then consider the company’s request for a variance.

“If that is denied, then the application is effectively dead,” Stillings said. “The council can’t act on a conditional use if the variance is not granted.”

The tower would be visible to nearby communities such as Goldenrod, some parts of Sugar Pond Manor and Periwinkle. Stillings said the company has submitted several renderings of what the tower would look like from 1,000, 2,000 and 3,000 feet away along a public road. “There is still visibility,” he said. “Currently they’re proposing for it to be a flagpole.”

Stillings said although staff had recommended denial of the application, he is prepared to work with Clearview.

“Staff isn’t taking a position other than recommending denial,” he said. “It’s up to the board if they want to support the application. We’ll be ready to work with them on any conditions or other positions.”

For more information, or to read the applications, visit www.wellingtonfl.gov/departments/planning-and-zoning/projects-paz.html.