The “let them eat cake” mindset of the Palm Beach County Commission was on full, unapologetic display at the planning hearing regarding Minto West.
For more than seven hours, members of the public spoke against increasing Minto’s residential density from its current land use approval of 2,996 residential units and 235,000 square feet of non-residential uses to 4,549 residential units and 2.1 million square feet of non-residential uses.
The speakers included planning experts and land-use attorneys; residents living in The Acreage, Loxahatchee and Loxahatchee Groves; elected officials from the Town of Loxahatchee Groves, the Village of Royal Palm Beach and the Indian Trail Improvement District; representatives from the Wildlife Foundation, 1000 Friends of Florida and the Sierra Club; a representative from the Fox Trail Property Owners’ Association; and the president of the North County Neighborhood Coalition, which represents 16 communities in the North County area. In addition, 5,000 petitions in opposition to Minto West’s new proposal were submitted. Only one speaker spoke in favor of Minto’s increased proposal.
Instead of the commissioners deliberating important factual issues such as the ten-fold increase in traffic on the roadways, the millions of dollars of roadway construction costs that will be passed onto all county taxpayers, water supply and flooding concerns, and the lifestyle consequences of dropping what would be the 11th-largest city in Palm Beach County into the middle of an established, rural/exurban, agricultural-equestrian community, Commissioner Shelley Vana snarkingly commented about the “Seminole Indians not wanting any of us here” and “to stop having babies, stop reproducing.” Commissioner Priscilla Taylor slung the ultimate insult at residents asking, “Did you sue to get what you have?”
Our county commissioners are tone-deaf except to the sound of developers’ dollars hitting their campaign coffers. It is long past time to return to countywide elected commissioners. Palm Beach County is being negatively transformed while the commissioners’ cake is being shoved down our throats.
Nancy Gribble, Loxahatchee