Editor’s note: The following letter from former Royal Palm Beach Councilwoman Martha Webster is in response to the letter “Support For Gas Station” by Arlene Olinsky published last week.
As I read your editorial letter of last week, I see that you continue to make false statements regarding my position on village public process and development. Let’s set the record straight again. So, Ms. Olinsky, your point is? That you support the construction of the Race Trac gas station at the corner of Southern and Royal Palm Beach boulevards on less than two acres of property that will be almost 6,000 square feet with a convenience store that will operate 24 hours a day having lights, noise and trash for the residents. But you opposed a plan that would have been on 150-plus acres having more than 50 percent parks and open space.
You support an intense commercial gas station that will be less than 500 feet from three schools, two elementary level that have drop off and pick up, and children crossing the street to use Camellia Park throughout the day. But you opposed a plan that would put possible schools, a research facility and day care more than a quarter of a mile from a single elementary school.
You support a corporate gas station that will forever change the identity and the character of our village as the entranceway to our village, but opposed a development that would have been nestled into 150 acres, allowing a natural area buffer between the Saratoga community.
You support the Race Trac gas station and ancillary activities that will generate additional traffic onto an already-stressed neighborhood roadway and dangerous intersection. By the way, the traffic report supporting the Race Trac does not include the impact on pedestrian and bike traffic that travels to the four parks along the boulevard and schools. It does not take into account traffic traveling from Wellington and will make U-turns at the light to enter the Race Trac, or the major clientele of the Royal Inn — large semi trucks. But you oppose a plan that would have generated no traffic at peak hours because traffic would be traveling in the opposite direction.
You support the Race Trac development process that excluded the public until it was discovered after the planning and zoning review. But you criticize the most open public process ever initiated in the Village of Royal Palm Beach, the Crestwood Task Force, which was a group of 12 citizen volunteers representing the full village. They deliberated in public meetings for more than two months and each meeting was followed by the press. The members voted unanimously for their plan, the members wrote a member plan, and the members presented that plan to the council. My role was to coordinate, facilitate and support them through the public process, I had no vote.
So, your point is you support commercial uses in our neighborhood, increased traffic and the deterioration of our quality of life. My position is that I support the public process, whether accepted by the council or not, the people should always be the major part in the decision of what is best for their community.
I will continue to stand for the best the village can be — on or off the council.
Martha Webster, Royal Palm Beach