Richard Cosola of Canterbury Circle in Wellington’s Coventry Green neighborhood presented a petition last week signed by his neighbors asking that the Wellington Village Council consider erecting a barrier fence on Forest Hill Blvd. along Palm Beach Polo’s old north course.
“It’s very specific,” Cosola said at the Dec. 8 meeting. “It’s to have a barrier along Forest Hill Blvd. where our community ends to just about the top of the hill. You probably all have passed it about a thousand times. We’re that community right after the library. There’s a big problem. We have a completely open space to that sidewalk. Anybody, at any given time, can just walk right from that sidewalk into the back of our property.”
A vehicle could also hop the curb and drive into the area, he said. “Imagine what we’re subjected to,” Cosola said. “We’ve had some burglaries, some vandalism. I’ve put lights up.”
Cosola said that the south side of Forest Hill Blvd. has a split-rail fence and a ficus hedge shielding the view of a polo field owned by Palm Beach Polo.
“We’re not asking for a ficus hedge, we know about those,” he said, “but maybe a split-rail fence with the proper foliage would be easy to do.”
Cosola said that there is a sufficient public easement on the north side to put up a fence and hedge.
“You may ask is that [Palm Beach Polo] land; well, actually, it’s the easement,” he said, asking whether the village manager could verify that. “The actual area is maybe 3 or 4 feet from the sidewalk.”
He added that the property on the north side will probably be developed at some point. Palm Beach Polo owner Glenn Straub has floated several ideas for the unused land.
“He has cooperated with us over the years, and actually helped us clean up the north course,” Cosola said. “It used to be a real disaster. When it was not cleaned up, it used to be a hangout for homeless people. Now we’re asking for some help from you, and I think there’s an easy solution.”
Cosola said that the small community had authorized him to speak on their behalf. “It’s a small community, it’s 28 people, 18 people signed it and nobody is opposed. The ones who didn’t sign it just weren’t there,” he said.
Councilman Matt Willhite asked Cosola whether he had reached out to Straub to see if Palm Beach Polo would install a matching hedge on the north side as he had done on the south and maintain it, and Cosola said he had, but Straub wasn’t interested.
“He’s a nice guy, but that’s not his main thing,” Cosola said. “You’ve got to understand, he’s got his polo field, it’s nicely blocked off, and it looks good. I can imagine how lousy it would look if you didn’t have that hedge and fence there, but he doesn’t have that same interest in the property [on the north side] at this time, until maybe he develops it someday, and I think that’s what he’s looking for.”
Village Manager Paul Schofield said that he would set up a meeting with Cosola and Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes to discuss options for the roadway.