Equestrian Board Supports Permanent Grand Prix Farms Access To PBIEC

Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Committee recommended approval of master plan amendments allowing access from the Grand Prix Farms development to the Wellington Country Place development last week. The approvals will replace a temporary access agreement recently approved by the Wellington Village Council.

Senior Planner Cory Lyn Cramer explained that there were two master plan amendments, one for lots 8, 9 and 10 of Grand Prix Farms, a planned residential development, and another for Wellington Country Place, a planned unit development that includes the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

“The request before you is to add two access points that would allow vehicular traffic to utilize Gene Mische Way to enter lots 8, 9 and 10,” Cramer said. “In order to do this, a master plan amendment for each of the planned developments is required to identify these access points. The requested access points for Grand Prix Farms are the same access points that are requested for the Wellington Country Place PUD.”

Grand Prix Farms is made up of both residential and commercial recreation land uses, with lots 8, 9 and 10 now unified into a single lot. There are two permanent barns on the property, and during the equestrian season, additional temporary stalls are constructed. The site operates as an official FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) quarantine facility.

Equestrian Sport Productions received a seasonal equestrian permit for the 2015 season for two driveway access points from Gene Mische Way to lots 8, 9 and 10, and a similar request was approved by the council earlier this month for the 2016 season.

The request before the committee was to obtain permanent approval for the access points.

“The purpose of the access is to allow users of the FEI facility that’s located on lots 8, 9 and 10 to access the site from Gene Mische Way,” Cramer said. “The access to Grand Prix Farms Drive, which is within the gated community to the west, will be limited to the owners of the property, to those entities that may be maintaining the property, and to emergency vehicles, so there will not be through access for the people who are stabling their horses on that lot through Grand Prix Farms.”

Committee Member Houston Meigs asked whether the property owners association had approved the permanent access, and Michael Sexton, agent for Equestrian Sport Productions, said that Wellington Equestrian Partners, owners of the lots in question, went to the Grand Prix Village Property Owners Association in 2013.

“They received approval from them for both the initial temporary connection, which was done through a special use permit, but at the same time they developed a site plan, went through the Architectural Review Committee with the Grand Prix Village POA, and got an approval that required a greater than 75 percent approval by the membership of the POA for a permanent access to Gene Mische Way,” Sexton said.

The plan was for an initial one-year trial, with provisions for a permanent solution. The agreement stipulates protections for the POA.

“It is still part of the property owners association, which has the ability to monitor what’s being done on the property,” Sexton said. “They can come back to the ownership if they feel that it’s not being utilized in the fashion that it was approved for.”

Committee Member Michael Whitlow asked how access will be restricted to Grand Prix Village, and Sexton said that the property has fencing and gates that restrict access to the property from both directions, as well as security that monitors both gates.

Committee Chair Linda Elie was concerned about having two driveways that cross a bridle path.

“I think, at the very least, we should put in something to indicate that we’ve got a bridle path here, four-way stops or something, just for safety purposes,” Elie said.

Sexton said that there will be gates on both sides of the bridle path, so access will be controlled. “There are also security people who are watching who’s coming in and out,” he said.

Elie explained that markings should also be included for safety, and Sexton agreed.

Whitlow made a motion to approve the amendments with the condition that the bridle path crossings be clearly marked, and they both carried 4-0 with members Linda Smith Faver, Richard Ellis and Mary Jo Shockley absent.

In other business, the committee recommended approval of another master plan amendment to add two access points from the Wellington Country Place PUD to the Grand Champions Polo north of Lake Worth Road and west of the C-6 Canal.

The access points will provide better ingress and egress to the polo fields and also redirect traffic away from the residential pod itself, Cramer said.

Committee Member Dr. Kristy Lund made a motion to approve the amendment, which carried 4-0.