Letter: Don’t Approve Minto West

Editor’s note: The following letter is addressed to the Palm Beach County Commission. A copy was sent to the Town-Crier for publication.

Dear Commissioners:

I am writing to you to request that you vote against the land increase proposal for Minto West. Minto is requesting an increase in the number of homes that they can build from the approved 2,996 homes to 6,500homes. I am a relatively new resident to The Acreage; my wife and I finally moved into the area in May 2013 after we talked and dreamed of moving up here for years. We previously lived in west Pembroke Pines for about 10 years.

We were lucky enough to be able to purchase a two-acre lot on the corner of Hall Blvd. and 60th Street North, which backs up to the M-Canal. We are in the process of building a new home on our land so that we can move our 20-year-old horse onto the property, which has been a dream of my wife’s after 10 years of a twice-daily, 16-mile round trip that we had to make from our home in Pembroke Pines to the horse farm in Southwest Ranches.

We finally grew so tired of the congestion of southwest Broward County and the over-development of the area, that we had to move. Just as an example of how bad the over-population had gotten, the six-mile drive from our home to I-75 could take up to 45 minutes during peak times.

We were so disheartened when we learned of Minto’s plan to increase the number of homes planned for the Minto West development on the old Callery-Judge property to 6,500 homes, plus a community college, baseball stadium, hotel and increased retail/industrial space.

Please don’t let The Acreage become like Southwest Ranches, surrounded by over-developed, cookie-cutter gated communities, where the original homes are slowly being demolished and replaced with mega mansions. The people in The Acreage don’t mind that there is not a Walgreens, bank, gas station or CVS on the corner of every major intersection. Driving 15 to 20 minutes to get to the food store, gas or other retail outlet is perfectly fine… We don’t mind. We like it as it is — that’s why we moved here.

As an IT computer consultant, I spend most of my time with my clients, whose offices are located from Homestead to Miami Beach and throughout Broward and south Palm Beach counties. I don’t mind driving the extra 30 minutes to an hour for work, additional fuel costs and wear and tear on my vehicle just so I can live in a rural community.

Minto has stated in their proposals that they will complement the surrounding community, but townhomes and high-density housing units is hardly in keeping with the area. Minto has told us that the development is in our best interests and what we want in the long term. Yet, if this were true, I would have just stayed in Pembroke Pines. I just see increased traffic, a greater strain on the groundwater and additional drainage problems.

Minto’s impact studies also fail to consider the impact that the other proposed communities (Avenir, Highland Dunes and GL Homes) will have on The Acreage, in addition to their own, as if they are mutually exclusive to the rest of the world. If the Minto increase is approved, then the precedent would be set for future developments to request the same land-use densities.

The increase in homes will also eventually lead to the end of The Acreage being zoned as a rural community, as the homeowners in Minto West demand more urban services. I am looking forward to having chickens and fresh eggs every day and enough land to have a vegetable patch, a sight common in The Acreage. Please make Minto stick to its approved 2,996 homes and vote against the increase.

Peter Lampard, The Acreage