Acreage Residents Speak Out At ITID’s Minto West Meeting

The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors held a public input meeting with Minto West representatives Monday to respond to questions about its request for up to 6,500 homes and about 1.4 million square feet of commercial uses on the former Callery-Judge Grove property.

The meeting, attended by about 50 residents, had been arranged by the ITID board after Minto West representatives gave a presentation to the board last month without public input.

Minto Communities Florida recently purchased the 3,900-acre property for $51 million. The land, located off Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, has a future land-use approval for up to 2,996 homes and up to 235,000 square feet of non-residential uses.

Minto is requesting the necessary land-use changes to more than double the number of homes and greatly expand the allotted commercial space. Land planner Don Hearing with the firm Cotleur & Hearing, representing Minto West, gave an overview of the project.

“I know that there may be some of you in the audience who are supportive, and there are some of you who have a lot of concerns,” he said. “We can walk you through the project so that you can have a better understanding. Perhaps you have some ideas that you can share with us. The more of that dialogue that we enter into, the better off we will be and the better the project will be in the long term.”

Hearing said Minto has a web site,, where people can provide comments, learn more about the project and find out about future meetings.

“Our goal is to bring together a project that will be the heart and focus of the western communities, provide some identity to it, and also create some regional sustainability,” Hearing said. “The area out here in The Acreage has been historically underserved by services, so we want to create an area out here that not only our residents will love, but something that the community will embrace and find great value in.”

Hearing said there probably will be an increase in traffic, but the goal is to shorten those traffic trips. “We want to internalize them,” he said. “If we just go build 2,996 homes today, which we could do very easily — Minto has done it many, many times — 100 percent of the cars going in and out of the communities are going to be driving to West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Wellington for services.”

Hearing said Minto is attempting to put together a balanced development program that will be more sustainable in the long term, adding that the developer is required by the county and the state to follow “New Urbanist” principles that provide employment, shopping and walkable communities that minimize vehicular travel.

Minto Vice President John Carter said the proposed design with a 900,000-square-foot employment center would create about 3,100 jobs.

“The intent of the design isn’t to have a job for each and every resident who moves into this community,” Carter said. “There may be, in fact, individuals like me who live in northern Palm Beach County, but my job will be elsewhere in the county.”

Hearing said Minto West retains Callery-Judge Grove’s water discharge permit of 2 inches per day, which it would not need in its entirety because of extensive planned water retention areas. The developer would be willing to share those discharge rights with ITID, which is currently limited to a quarter-inch of drainage per day.

He added that the design of Minto West provides a 400-foot average buffer zone, which is increased by a development plan that puts denser uses along Seminole Pratt Whitney Road and less dense uses along the outer edges. “We’re designing this so that around the perimeter, about 600 feet, the average density is going to be around 1.5 or 1.7 units per acre,” he said. “We’re trying to be very conscious about transitioning our density.”

He said transportation has been an issue in The Acreage, where road development has not kept up with construction. “This area has been neglected in many ways, and there are opportunities to collaborate on a regional transportation network,” he said.

Resident Andrew Robinson asked whether Minto is planning on making connections to 60th Street and Persimmon Blvd., and whether it is supporting the State Road 7 connection to Northlake Blvd., and Hearing said it would.

“The State Road 7 connection is something that is critical to mobility in Palm Beach County,” Hearing said. “I think anybody who lives in the western area here recognizes that.”

Resident Lillian Hall said Acreage residents are happy with their rural lifestyle the way it is, and objected to Minto West representatives’ contention that greater lifestyle diversity in the area is desirable.

“I’m listening to this, and I’m insulted,” Hall said. “You seem to think you have the answers to all of our problems. We don’t see them as problems. Our roads are not problems. Our lack of housing diversity is our lifestyle out here.”

Hearing said the project is not intended to disrupt surrounding residents’ lifestyles.

“There is no way that we would want to insult you,” Hearing said. “There are some things that are lacking from an infrastructure standpoint. We think that if we work together, we can solve some of those. We think that the surrounding area is wonderful.”

Hearing said the proposed project would bring services, education, entertainment and jobs closer to residents and, in many cases, reduce travel time and distance.

“Our project will provide greater diversity in there, and we wouldn’t expect you to be forced to come in and do your shopping there or buy a home here,” he said. “Those who are interested in Minto West will buy a home here and come here, and the surrounding areas will provide great support. We believe that the surrounding communities are a great asset.”

Conversely, Hearing said the Minto West project is intended to be an asset to the surrounding communities. “We are trying to create something that you would be proud of,” he said. “I can tell you that, with 2,900 homes, everyone will be driving somewhere else to work.”

Former Supervisor Mike Erickson agreed with Minto’s contentions that some of the traffic needed to be contained within the development, but thought that 2,996 homes would be sufficient if the non-commercial allotment were increased.

Hearing said that Minto had to create a development that would make non-commercial enterprises want to locate there. “It might not be self-supporting until the 35-year period that it is built out,” he said. “You can ask any investment banker to come out and build, they’re not going to come. You need something that they perceive is of great value and great benefit for them to come.”

Carter said that Minto is trying to create a development that would have “critical mass,” with a residential component that would support the non-commercial aspect. He added that the Seminole Improvement District, which governs the Minto West area, has great bargaining power to entice investors into the project.

“One of the great opportunities we have here is to use the Seminole Improvement District, which has well-articulated powers, more so than what the Indian Trail Improvement District has,” he said.

Key to the financial end of the project is the ability to issue infrastructure bonds. “We’re looking at using those powers to leverage the ability to get bond financing over the next 30 years to support the $50 million in road impact fees and 15 miles of buffers,” Carter said. “The residential count is important because that bond financing debt is carried by the residential side, not by the commercial side.”

ABOVE: The Minto West conceptual plan.


  1. That much development would ruin the character of our communtiy and lifestyle. It seems Minto cares little, if at all about our lifestyle here. If they did, they’d realize we don’t want a million square feet of retail space and we certainly don’t need twice as much people and traffic. We don’t want apartment complexes and zero lot line homes. It seems to me Minto only cares about how much money they can squeeze out of develooping that land. This development should be consistent with the rest of the community with single family homes on 1+ acre lots with the 235,000 (i believe) retail space that was already approved.

  2. I didn’t know that the acreage residents or Loxahatchee needed any help from Minto or anyone else. I have lived in the Acreage for 21 years and greatly oppose this building. If I wanted to live the way Minto has things planned I would move to an area so provided those amenities. I have read in the Palm Beach Post several editorials about how great this is going to “help” us and I want to know how are these people related to Minto? Boo Boo Minto! PS Boo Boo ITID!
    Wasn’t one on ITID board members started the Cancer cluster? And does Minto really want to build in the supposed “Cancer Cluster”? Boo Boo all of you Minto supportes. Move back to the city if that is what you want. LEAVE US ALONE!

  3. @DanT:

    Actually Dan, I’m a member and one of the moderators for the Facebook group, The Acreage Hitching Post. I can assure you that many of our members do have an “agenda” with that “agenda” being to defeat Minto’s land use application which involves an increase in the number of homes from 2996 and 235000 sq. ft. of commercial to 6500 homes, 1.4 million sq. ft of commercial/industrial, a 3,000 student university, 150 room hotel and a spring training base ball complex. Many in our group wish to preserve our unique way of life, the character, heart and identity of The Acreage, and our numbers are growing.

    I can also assure you that no one has been ridiculed or banned from our group for their opinions. Since our inception, less than a handful have been removed and they were removed not for voicing their opinion, but for failure to abide our clearly stated page rules, and only after warnings that continued behavior would result in being removed.

    I invite you to join our group. Read our “About” section. Browse our files, which include information from Minto, Avenir, Palm Beach County, etc., as well as prepared information regarding impact of Minto West on our roads, traffic, drainage, jobs, etc., We strive for credibility by providing factually based information; we do not “fear monger;” we strive to educate.

    Again, join our group. See for yourself rather than relying on misinformation and disinformation from others. Please know that many of us in The Acreage Hitching Post were ridiculed, personally attacked, and removed from another Facebook page for voicing our opinions and our page was created so that residents of The Acreage and surrounding areas would have a place to make their voices heard without fear of ridicule and vitriolic attacks regardless of their opinions, stance, etc.

    • @Jean…yes join your Facebook group as long as you are preaching to the choir, but support the MintoWest project, be ridiculed and banned for being in violation. Instead of calling it an open discussion Facebook group called the Acreage Hitching Post, why not just rename it what it really is? SoNotoMinto No one is fooling anyone Jean. Seriously

  4. I went to the Minto held meeting vouluntarily and was not forced to sit thru anything, and in fact, learned some valuable information about the project, as well as, the acreage in itself. Those who are uninformed about what is actually occurring should pull their heads out of the sand and attend one of these meetings.
    @Jean, regarding your Facebook advice, be forewarned as this page has an agenda and if one disagrees with such agenda, you will be ridiculed and
    banned from said page. Individuals on this page are allowed to make unsubstantiated claims serving only fear mongering. Join at your own risk as it’s really not worth the time.

  5. The meeting was advertised both at the last meeting and on their website. It also was broadcasted Live by Loxahatchee Radio. The video of the meeting is still on the Loxahatchee Radio website.

  6. Minto’s website does not indicate anything about anything. They claim to be “transparent” and they are. You cannot see anything on their website unless you send them your contact information. Then you are forced to sit in on one of their meetings to hear about all their promises, non of which can hold water, and water being a critical problem out in the Acreage.

    • Minto has posted documents that are in the public domain for all to view and
      ponder over, yet I do not see the opposition to such providing Any FACTUAL documents. Just more unsubstantiated claims and tactics.

  7. I fully support the Minto West plan. It needs some tweeks but is a good, thoughtful, well designed plan for controlled growth. Without the number of units Minto is planning, the commercial side of the development would be unsustainable. I am hoping the County Commissioners agree and put a halt to the uniformed individuals that once again, are trying to block this development for ulterior motives.

  8. One would think, by the title of this article, that the main focus would have been about just that: the residents. Unfortunately, only three residents were (briefly) mentioned: Andrew Robison, Lillian “Cole” (her last name is Hall) and Mike Erikson. The majority of the article consisted of “Hearing said” and “Carter said” (both from Minto). Many residents spoke and asked tough questions, some of which Minto representatives could NOT or would NOT answer, especially about traffic and its impact on OUR roads which WE own and for which WE pay taxes to maintain.

    Frankly, I was disappointed in this article. It was all about Minto and far less about residents’ concerns, criticisms and comments. It would be refreshing, and informative to all readers, if the Town Crier (Mr. Buckley) would sit down with a group of residents and report a different perspective on Minto’s proposed development that is not so obviously biased toward Minto.

    For anyone concerned about Minto and its potential negative impact on our community, please visit and join The Acreage Hitching Post on Facebook to learn more and to find out how you can fight for preservation of our community and our way of life. Minto believes The Acreage and Western Communities have no heart, no focus and no identity. Let’s prove them wrong: Say NO to Minto!

  9. It is amazing how ITID did not publize the meeting they were having. Especially since they know residents have a high interest in this development. I guess if you really don’t want people’s opinions or comments it is self serving for ITID!!

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