The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors agreed unanimously last week to prepare for litigation should the Palm Beach County Commission approve Minto West’s plan for 4,549 homes and up to 2.1 million square feet of non-residential uses on the 3,789-acre parcel of land that was once Callery-Judge Grove.
The vote at the Oct. 8 board meeting came after a motion by Supervisor Jennifer Hager with the goal of sending a message to Minto to stop trying to increase the land’s approved density.
The preemptive move was made in preparation for the outcome of the Wednesday, Oct. 29 county commission meeting, where it is anticipated that Minto’s request will likely pass. A preliminary vote passed the county commission 5-2 in August, and the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission approved the project earlier this month.
The ITID board has scheduled a special meeting for Monday, Nov. 3 to discuss the outcome of the Oct. 29 county meeting.
ITID Supervisor Michelle Damone asked what it would cost for litigation, and attorney Martin Perry, ITID’s development consultant, said that it would be an expensive proposition.
“If you’re talking about the comprehensive plan, which is a full-scale lawsuit, I think you’re looking at potentially somewhere in the neighborhood of anywhere from a quarter of a million dollars to a half a million dollars or more,” Perry said.
Hager felt the expense would be worth it.
“How can you put a price tag on quality of life?” she asked. “I understand that Indian Trail has powers, and I think we need to tap into them. I think it’s time to stand up to those people trying to run us over.”
Damone advocated an in-depth conversation prior to litigation. “I think we have a responsibility to at least try to have a legitimate conversation now before we go in that direction,” she said.
Hager proposed the motion, which after discussion, headed toward a vote.
“My motion was, and still is, to be prepared to pursue litigation should Minto or the county attain any rights to utilize our roads,” she said.
Supervisor Gary Dunkley seconded the motion, and Damone asked for specificity. “For clarification on that, when you say prepare, is that a final decision for the board to do it or is it just preparing for it?” Damone asked. “Because if it’s just for preparation, I’ll support that, but I’m not approving that until Nov. 3.”
Eventually, the board came to a decision on what preparation means. Hager’s final motion was amended by Damone.
“If you don’t mind, on the second part of the motion, so they know exactly what to do, is then to conclude on Oct. 29 at the hearing to prepare a team,” she said. “I think you need to identify Mr. Perry as the designee to create the team… and then you come back on Nov. 3 with the budget, scope of services, the team that you’ve recommended and all those things.”
At that point, Hager’s motion passed unanimously.