County Board’s Thumbs Down For Minto First Step In A Long Process

The Palm Beach County Planning Commission last week unanimously recommended denial of request to begin a privately initiated text amendment process proposed by the developers of the controversial Minto West project.

The April 11 vote is advisory only and can be overruled by the Palm Beach County Commission.

The text amendment, if approved by the county commission, would open the door to allow more than twice the density than already approved for the 3,800-acre former Callery-Judge Grove property off Seminole Pratt Whitney Road.

The amendment would revise the Agricultural Enclave provisions in the Future Land Use Element of the county’s comprehensive plan. Those provisions were written specifically for the Callery-Judge property after grove representatives lobbied the state legislature in 2006 to adopt the Agricultural Enclave Act, which allows owners of agricultural land surrounded by development to develop their land consistent with the surrounding property.

Minto recently purchased the Callery-Judge property for $51 million. The land 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 necessary land-use changes to allow up to 6,500 homes and about 1.4 million square feet of workplace and community-serving commercial uses.

The planning commission meeting was attended by several hundred neighboring residents who oppose Minto West’s plan to increase the approved density, as well as a number of blue-shirted Minto advocates.

“County staff presented this to the planning commission as a very simple task for us,” said Loxahatchee Groves community activist Dennis Lipp, a member of the Palm Beach County Planning Commission. “This allows staff to negotiate with Minto on the particulars of their project. When I read that, I called and said, ‘What if it doesn’t go through?’”

He was told it was only a text amendment similar to others that the planning commission routinely recommends approval for, and that because of recent changes in state law, the change is necessary.

Lipp further asked why the county needs a special initiation process just for Minto, and he was told it would expedite things so they could get the process started.

He pointed out that the references to agricultural enclaves apply only to the Minto West property.

“There is only one agricultural enclave in Palm Beach County, so this was for Minto, and it was privately initiated, not by the county,” Lipp said. “The county didn’t say, ‘We need to get this done.’ Minto said, ‘Get this done so we can move forward.’”

Lipp characterized the text amendment as “the camel’s nose in the tent.”

“The camel is Minto West, the tent is The Acreage,” Lipp said. “The camel’s nose is the initiation of the text amendment, because before you know it, the whole camel is in the tent.”

The planning commission’s recommendation for denial now heads to the county commission’s public hearing on the topic Monday, April 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the county governmental center.

“I’m trying to get all the members of the planning commission down there, because it’s 15 members, two from each commissioner and one at large,” Lipp said. “This was [people] from every portion of the county, the [commission’s] own representatives telling Minto, ‘No, this project does not fit. It does not belong in the Acreage.’”

Lipp said that under new state statutes, the application will move ahead even if the county commission does not approve it, although that body will have final authority to approve or deny it.

“If the county fails to come up with an agreement in 180 days, it goes forward, and that date is June 25,” he said, pointing out that the state cannot preempt the county, which has the final say.

“The state cannot approve Minto,” Lipp explained. “The county has to approve it, so they can still say ‘no.’ It’s a long process, and the county needs to vote ‘no’ at every opportunity. What I hate hearing from the county commissioners is, ‘Well, this is just first reading, so let’s approve it on first reading.’ Why? Or: ‘This is just a text amendment. Let’s get this text amendment done.’ Why?”

Lipp also pointed out that there is no statute of limitations on the application. “If they get turned down this year, they’ll be back next year,” he said. “They’re going to just wear it down.”


ABOVE: A rendering of the Minto West proposal.


  1. Residents need to keep in mind that doubling the density of this area will require it to become a city which means, government buildings, government services, government officials and their paychecks and pensions, infrastructure, the cost of sewer and water hook-ups, traffic, the diminishing of our equestrian way of life and more. Are you prepared for the increase in your taxes to pay for it? If so, I ask you…Have you forgotten why you moved out here in the first place?

      • I would hardly call common sense, fear mongering. It stands to reason that the density level, as proposed. will need governing. It would be no different than Royal Palm or Wellington. Common sense, seriously!

          • You are obviously a bully. I am stating common sense and the knowledge of I have of living here my entire life and watching the cities around me being created. Stop your harassment, troll!

    • Why, instead of using an inflammatory term, could you just not present
      a source as she was asking for?

      As everyone can now plainly see what I was speaking about
      in my remarks.

      This is the typical type of response that is posed by the NotoMinto group.

      Take it for what you will.

  2. Thanks Jean for Posting that Link, I was able to copy and paste my comments much easier.

    “Just because there is a VERY vocal minority opposed to this project, make no mistake that many Acreage and Western community residents are fully in support of it. Several are afraid to speak out and say such as they are verbally threatened and abused at every opportunity by these individuals.”

    • My pleasure, Don. While we’re selectively copying and pasting comments from the same PBP article, let’s selectively copy and paste this comment offered by an Acreage resident:

      “It is not a minority opposed to this project. A vote was taken in the Acreage and the result was over 90 per cent against the current Minto proposal. While many residents are in favor of some development, this proposal is overwhelmingly opposed by the residents who it will affect. The people for it, mostly live far away . It does not comply with state law or palm beach county land use plan. Nearly 3000 residences and nearly a quarter million sq ft of commercial space is the more appropriate amount of development. Minto is already approved for that.”

      I think your comment (and I’m guessing you are av8torfl) regarding “…a VERY vocal minority opposed….” is a tad off. From the rallies we have done, we have garnered THOUSANDS of petitions freely signed by concerned residents who are opposed to the proposed project. At a Town Hall in February hosted by the Acreage Landowners Association, over 90% of residents in attendance voted against the proposed project. Recently, ITID Supervisors Hager, Bair, Dunkley, and Jacobs voted against the proposed project, and we know what happened on 4/11/14.

      Yes, we are “VERY” vocal group, but we are certainly not in the minority. To say that we verbally “threaten and abuse at every opportunity” is a lie. To say that we provide information is the truth. To say that residents have already made a decision to sign or consider the information before signing petitions is the truth. To say that we have been subjected to occasional obscene gestures and comments of the handful of “pro Minto” residents driving by our rallies is the truth. To say that we politely wave and smile back is the truth. To say we’ll keep fighting for the Acreage and our way of life is the truth.

      Why don’t you see for yourself? Come to one of our rallies. You’ll be surprised and hopefully ashamed by your last sentence in your comment. We’re holding our rally April 19, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., location to be determined. You can check our website, for the location.

      Hope to see you, Saturday.

      • No thanks Jean, after the way I was treated on YOUR Facebook page for having a dissenting opinion, and personally being privy to the antics at that said ALA meeting , I think I’ll pass. You enjoy your meeting while you preach to your disciples on the terrible ills that will occur if Minto is approved at 6500. I’ll see you at a real PBC meeting that matters where the truths can be addressed. BTW, if you see me there, I DO live in the Acreage, I plan on CONTINUING to reside here, and I am not being paid for my opinion. I think you are going to be surprised by how many other residents are also in favor of the project as we see the benefits that ALL acreage residents will ENJOY.

        ps: I stand by my last sentence of the previous Post as all sentences.

        Hope You had and Enjoyable Easter!

        • Don:

          As I (and others) recall, you joined OUR Facebook page and debated with us on the Minto West proposed project (6500 homes, 1.4 million sq. ft. of commercial/industrial, etc., etc., etc.). We welcome dissenting opinions regarding this proposed project but hold those supporting the project to the same standard to which we are held: provide sourced information and differentiate fact from opinion.

          Our Facebook group has clear rules on personal attacks/bashing, which the administrators uphold. You were not attacked. You were not bullied. You were not bashed. You were not threatened. You were not verbally abused. Did we counter your assertions that the proposed project would benefit our area? Yes. That’s what a debate involves, Don, and after debating with you, you electively chose to leave our group. Sometimes, during debates and discussions, when people are faced with information that is contrary to their belief system, they feel that belief system threatened. Perhaps that is what you experienced; I can only speculate. However, there is no speculating about this: you were not subjected to mistreatment on the part of those debating with you.

          In general, I have yet to meet anyone who can clearly articulate any benefits to the proposed project and support their assertions with sourced information. The traffic issues associated with such a large development are “terrible ills” both in volume and impact on our infrastructure. That alone, will impact on “ALL” residents and is something they will not “ENJOY.”

          By the way, what we are doing in opposition to the proposed Minto West project is separate and apart from what transpired at the ALA meeting. Please do not confuse the two. The “No to Minto” group is not affiliated with the ALA.

          I’ll be at the BCC meetings, too. Remember that I, too, am an Acreage resident, here to stay till I die, and am not paid for my opinion and actions which are unwaveringly in opposition to the proposed project.

          And yes, I had a lovely Easter. Hope you did, as well.

  3. Wow! The person who wrote this story is completely in the pocket of the opposition, there were about 25-30 residents in attendance who were against the project and approx double that amount in blue shirts supporting the project. The capacity of the room precludes the possibility of what he is reporting. Was he even there?

  4. Thank you, Mr. Lipp, for a concise description of the process involved in this complicated attempt to more than double the recommended density of the Minto property. You pointed out, “the Agricultural Enclave Act, which allows owners of agricultural land surrounded by development to develop their land consistent with the surrounding property.” Where in the Acreage and Loxahatchee is Minto’s proposed density of 6500 homes and 1.4 million square feet of non-residential consistent with the surrounding property? Minto’s representatives constantly talk about what is “lacking” in the area that they will bring into the area so it obviously is not consistent with what is already here.

    Mr. Lipp is doing everything he can to stop us from being steamrolled by the determination of a large company to force its will upon the Acreage in order to reap huge profits regardless of the effects it has on our community. We need to stand with him at the meetings and tell the commissioners – “NOT HERE, NOT THIS YEAR, NOT EVER!

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