Letter: Thoughts On The K-Park Meeting

I had the misfortune of watching this week’s Wellington Village Council meeting, in particular the K-Park agenda item.

Apparently, insufficient homework was completed by the council, for they were not ready for the Castellina contingent and a few others who spoke vehemently against five of the six applications.

Although the council sat respectfully and quietly for three or four hours while the residents complained, they were not afforded the same courtesy, and the meeting was disrupted numerous times.

Most communities have a police presence in attendance, and they escort unruly citizens out of the meetings to allow business to continue. Sadly, the council did not use this necessary tool.

Before the meeting, the council should have had answers to the following questions:

1. Do we need another park? Simple solution: Have staff do a survey of existing undeveloped properties and build out, and determine if we meet self-imposed ratios of park and open space to residents/houses. If so, saving the park (as Mayor Bob Margolis suggests) is not necessary.

2. Do we need a hotel? Same process as above. If the answer is yes, then where should we locate the hotel? On a major thoroughfare with the least amount of intrusion into Wellington and the least negative impact? Obviously the State Road 7 and Southern Blvd. corridors would be most appropriate, and not in the Equestrian Preserve Area or any internal Wellington site that would cause quality of life issues and traffic.

3. Let the residents in attendance know the previous history of K-Park such as a state university attempting to locate there, with all its traffic and other negative aspects.

This K-Park site has always considered in the mix a commercial element that would pay for the village’s cost of buying the park; this is nothing new.

Councilman John Greene wants Councilwoman Anne Gerwig to vote on this issue despite the fact that the county’s Commission on Ethics has advised her of a possible conflict of interest with one of the applicants. So either Greene wants to flaunt the Commission on Ethics, or he wants one of the applicants to withdraw, neither of which is his business at all. Greene also wants, rather belatedly, to kick this can down the road (typical politics) to allow more public input.

Be advised, that just using this meeting as an example, 99 percent of the people in attendance, including Greene himself, live in the adjoining community. This phenomenon is called NIMBY (not in my backyard) and is commonplace and occurs every day somewhere in the United States as people adjacent and/or contiguous to proposed construction voice their displeasure.

When Binks Forest went through a similar circumstance and close to 200 townhomes were proposed on a golf course, 95 percent of the people in attendance speaking against it were its neighbors. Zoning changes were made and shortly construction will begin.

This is how democracy works. It’s called compromise. In Binks, we saved the golf course (however, now it is for sale again), but the main theme is no matter where you build, somebody is going to complain and all the meetings, committees and studies will not change the facts of the case. Postponing is only kicking the can down the road and the council members not doing their job by making decisions that they were voted into office to make. If everything were to go out to a referendum, we wouldn’t need elected leaders.

George Unger, Wellington


  1. Review the tapes of the Kpark proposals. Financial questions were asked of ALL developers. Would one want a selected entity to buy the property and then not be able to finish building the project because of a lack of money and then possibly fall into bankruptcy with an unfinished development? Again, review the Kpark Presentation tapes.

    Greene does not own in property in Castellina or in Wellington yet he can vote on taxation for the rest of us. Here today, gone tomorrow after the 2016 election.

    It was a shame that some members of the audience did not respect the rules of conduct at this meeting. One can bet that in the future; a police presence will be in the meetings whenever Kpark is discussed. Those few who called out and interrupted Council, should not cast the shadow of disruption on the whole contingent of residents who were present.

    1. Have staff do a survey to see if park land is needed???? What the residents will hear will be Mayor Margolis cueing Village Manager Schofield to state that the water retention area off of Flying Cow Rd is a huge ‘park’ and that it helps the Village meet the park requirements as stated in our Charter. Maybe the Charter Review TaskForce needs to define what a park is and exclude any water retention area- such as Margary Stoneman Douglas- as a park. The land serves to leech out the phosphates and move water thru Wellington. Do other parks in Wellington do this also? No, they do not! Do not fall for this ‘code’ to build on other open land in Wellington. If another survey is conducted make sure it is homeowners who are surveyed and not renters, who come and go. In addition, watch the wording of questions on any survey. Staff, unfortunately, is bullied by some Council members.

    2. Do we need a hotel??? How about building a hotel in the Medical Arts District just north of the Wellington Regional Hospital? Why on Kpark? The frontage of Kpark could be developed (like PGA near the Turnpike) and it should not look anything like that Fast Food Plaza just north of Kpark. That is a tacky disgrace. Any taxes collected from Kpark frontage development could go toward maintaining a park in Kpark.

    3. Previous history of Kpark included the Palm Beach Horse Park. Remember that fiasco undertaken by this Council? Just imagine that traffic: trucks, RVs, trailers, even cattle being hauled on Stribling and 441!

    NIMBY: So, it was okay for Bink’s Forest residents to be up in arms about the selling of Bink’s Forest golf course and Clubhouse, plus the development of townhomes near their homes; but it’s not okay for nearby Kpark residents to be up in arms about development near them? (Bink’s Forest residents even wanted to dictate what furniture was going in the clubhouse and the Village flew Village staff to New Jersey for discussions). Guess, it’s also okay for equestrian residents to be up in arms about development near their abodes, but not okay for residents near Kpark? One must remember, that Wellington owns Kpark, not a private entity! It’s Village land.. That’s a huge difference. We all should be upset with this Council.

    Kpark was not always thought of as a Mixed Commercial area. It was ‘sold’ to residents as a “Signature Park” to get residents to back the then council’s purchase of the property. Mayor Margolis likes to state that “utility funds” were used to purchase Kpark. That’s his excuse as to why Wellington residents do not have a stake in Kpark development.

    Yes, there will have to be compromise on Kpark (develop just the frontage with no gas station) and Stribling Way will have to be widen. Nearby residents will need a traffic signal to exit their community. And something must be done about that Pierson/Stribling roadway mess. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    And who appointed the letter writer to his position on the Planning and Zoning Board?

  2. I don’t think this was just a Castellina development issue. NIMBY??? No, the people were not antidevelopment, they actually wanted the best proposal. People don’t want public land wasted on giving a developer nearly 800 apartment units that would create a housing density 5.5 times all the neighbors. I am sure you would be against that as well. The Mayor and Willhite wanted to pass a proposal to do a favor to their political buddy who will likely fund future campaigns. They did not vote for what the people wanted. The Wellington Gardens was the only “new urbanism” concept that kept most of the land open access, had entertainment and significant park land, all paid for by private money. The Council did its best to conceal what they are doing. Yes, things are on the website, but impossible to find. They just wanted a rubber stamp vote screwing the people for their political gain in my opinion. Nothing more. The people are for smart development, and the overwhelming majority supported one plan. I speak to many people who live more west. They were unaware and quite angry when they found out after the vote. They actually wanted the Wellington Gardens proposal.

Comments are closed.