I have lived in Loxahatchee since 1978. If the Minto West proposal was consistent with the Palm Beach Comprehensive Land Use Plan of one-plus acres rural/residential designation, there would be no debate. The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners is not being consistent with their decision making. My opposition is based on several evident facts.
I live near this massive proposed development. In 2008, an Agricultural Enclave was granted to this area. This was the first Agricultural Enclave in the state. The county agrees that the enclave has nothing to do with agricultural development, but was specifically worded for the Callery-Judge Grove proposed development. Minto bought the property and the enclave rights. Minto only had the right per the enclave to build 2,996 residences. Minto petitioned the county for the high 4,000 homes, a massive mall, warehouses, a college and a 150-bed hotel, resulting in the third-largest development in Palm Beach County. The proposed new Minto community will devastate our rural communities by destroying our quality of life.
The county is aware that Minto’s proposed expansion is non-compliant with Florida Statutes, and is inconsistent with the state’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the Palm Beach County Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the Treasure Coast Strategic Regional Policy Plan. Minto West meets the legal definition of “leapfrog” development in that it requires the extension of public facilities, services and roads on existing peripheral areas with no provisions in current local, county and state governing bodies for such extensions. Minto West is not “New Urbanism.” It is not “smart growth.” It is urban sprawl in a rural area.
The county commission is aware that the county has no money to support or maintain the necessary road expansions. Consequences include traffic, noise, vehicular pollution, loss of homeowner property rights, and endangerment of the health, safety and welfare of residents. Such multi-lane roads and parkways will also divide and disunite our community, thus losing the neighborhood feel.
Allowing Minto to build commercial components along Seminole Pratt Whitney Road with multi-family housing behind it poses danger to students attending Seminole Ridge High School, as well as the elementary and middle schools on 140th.
The Palm Beach County School Board has no money to support or maintain the required three schools just to maintain the present influx of population. At $19,000 per acre, Minto has donated five acres toward one elementary school, but Minto has not set aside funds for school expansion or construction of schools resulting from student increases for this one school.
Developments such as Minto West do not pay for themselves. Instead, they result in huge net fiscal deficits that are shouldered by all property owners in Palm Beach County in the form of increased property taxes. The estimated tax dollars necessary for improvements just for the county and state roads exceed $177 million — money the county does not have. Residents in the ITID service area will be additionally taxed to pay for Minto’s traffic on our privately owned and maintained roads. Furthermore, residents will be faced with further taxation to pay for Minto’s impact on public services.
This proposed community is being railroaded through without any regard to our pristine environment. No studies have been conducted to determine the detrimental effects that it will cause on my neighbors who are agricultural producers, livestock owners, equestrians and nurseries owners. Our area has many species of flora and fauna; and more specifically, wildlife, including endangered and threatened species. There has been no studies of the effects dumping decades of soil that has been subjected to pesticides (some of which have since been banned), fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers year after year. Construction of residential and commercial and a system of lakes requires the soil to be disturbed.
There are three massive planned developments just waiting to see what decisions are made with Minto West. Remember, this is the last remaining rural area in Palm Beach County. Please help the citizens of the western area get the information out that the Palm Beach County commissioners are on the side of the corporations. They are not our representatives.
Margaret Duttenhoeffer, Loxahatchee