Letter: Jacobs Family Supports ‘Yes’ On Question 3

Since the late 1970s, our family has lived either full-time or part-time in Wellington, enjoying the rural environment of the Wellington Equestrian Preserve. The Winter Equestrian Festival has been a part of our lives since its inception, and we are happy to see how the equestrian community in Wellington has grown and thrived over the years. We have every intent to protect the equestrian community and the benefits it provides to all residents of Wellington.

As riders, trainers and competitors, we believe Wellington’s equestrian community is now under attack. As numerous acres of open space where horses once grazed and riders rode freely have become developed, the equestrian industry is forgetting its very soul — the horse. Regardless of how developed the show grounds become, how many riders participate or how big the crowds get, it means nothing if it jeopardizes the safety and security of horses and riders.

To be clear, our family supports development and growth. But development should occur responsibly and in areas where it is best suited. If you build hotels, condominiums and apartment complexes within the equestrian preserve, you reduce the amount of open space. The increased number of buildings will require wider roads and more lanes — and invariably lead to terrible traffic congestion and threatening rider safety. Eventually, overdevelopment and its associated safety issues will cause the equestrian industry to find other, safer venues — away from Wellington.

Therefore, we unapologetically support Wellington’s ballot Question 3 because it will help protect the equestrian preserve — a unique area designated for low-density, low-traffic, rural equestrian uses and abundant green space. With a “yes” vote, Wellington’s residents can ensure that the preserve is not gutted by a developer who wants to allow motels, hotels, condo hotels and apartment buildings. This question ensures that only Wellington’s voters could change it — not a few members of the Wellington Village Council or developers.

Mark Bellissimo’s blatant misinformation campaign, including a letter in last week’s Town-Crier, alleges that our family is the only one to benefit from a “yes” vote on Question 3. Let me state unequivocally that, unlike him, our family gets no financial benefit from our advocacy. In truth, everyone who enjoys a strong tax base, better funding for public schools and a high level of community services, and believes that we don’t need more traffic, will benefit from a “yes” vote on Question 3.

Unbridled development in and around the equestrian preserve will kill the very industry that it was created to promote. Wellington’s equestrian industry has thrived without hotels, condos and apartment complexes in the preserve. There is plenty of commercial space in Wellington where those facilities can and should be built without issue. So it’s simply false logic when a developer claims we need to undo the equestrian preserve to build new condo hotels or risk losing the equestrian industry, when that developer could build those hotels and retail complexes down the street from WEF, outside the preserve.

The misinformation campaign also claims that Question 3 would prohibit groom’s quarters and more within the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD). We all know that is not the truth. Wellington Village Attorney Laurie Cohen rebutted the misinformation with a clear statement:

“Groom’s quarters, caretaker quarters, mother-in-law suites and guest cottages are permitted within the EOZD… and will continue to be permitted within the EOZD if the amendment passes.”

The equestrian preserve protects and enhances Wellington’s way of life. We hope that Wellington residents who want future generations to enjoy the same benefits will join us in protecting the preserve, and all of Wellington, by voting “yes” on Question 3.

Lou and Charlie Jacobs, Wellington


  1. Every one bad mouths The Jacobs family. Why? That letter is perfect and most people dont want a hotel on the corner. I applaud the Jacobs family to keep the corner as it is. If it wasnt for them, who would be sticking up for me?Can you blame them? I live on the opposite side of that corner and also dont want it there. Traffic sucks right now during season. When I leave my neighborhood, no one lets you in the traffic. The traffic goes all the way down to greenbriar around the curve The only person who will benefit from the hotel and shopping would be Bellissimo! The rich stay rich by keeping the money between themselves. The horse show can say they are going to leave but they wont. Good luck drawing a crowd in Ocala or his new arena in North Carolina.


    I have lived in Wellington Equestrian Preserve area for 29 Years. I am against Hotels, Condos, and even Multi-Family Apartments.
    I am against Question 3. It prohibits ALL apartments. This would not allow grooms apartments attached to barns.
    The real disturbing reason I am against Question 3 is how it was put on the ballot.
    Question 3 is just plain poorly written. I wrote the Village Attorney and questioned how she could put out such a poorly crafted piece of work. I have to give her credit. She gave me a very honest answer. It shocked me. Here is her answer.

    “To be clear, neither I nor anyone else at the Village drafted the language that is now the proposed Question No. 3. That language was provided to Councilman Willhite by a community member or interested party and was introduced by Mr. Willhite to the rest of Council just before the deadline to provide it to the Supervisor of Elections. The Charter Review Task Force, which met for over a year, never considered or proposed this change.”

    I could not believe what I read. The Charter Review Task Force never considered the change that was put in by Councilman Willhite in the form of Question 3. Instead of taking the advice of the Councils own task force that worked over a year on this problem, Mr. Willhite, at the last minute, introduced Question 3 with language provided by “a community member or interested party”.

    Who is this “community member or interested party”? Does he or she even live in Wellington? You have five citizens working for over a year on a problem. The chairman is Ken Adams, a guy who has worked for years to make Wellington a better place. The Council does not take their advice. Instead you have some “community member” come in at the last moment and the Council uses the language provided by him to pass a terrible piece of legislation.

    We should know who this “Person behind the curtain” is.

  3. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball here. This dispute isn’t about whether the Jacobs family opposed sidewalks, and not whether property owners may sometime in the far future build houses or any other side issue. It’s about whether the Preserve will be turned into another high rise Boca RIGHT NOW.

    A vote of YES on Amendments 1 and 3 (and voting for Margolis and Greene) will ensure that only the people of Wellington can decide the fate of the Preserve, not any small group of present (Gerwig and Drahos) or future politicians, reporting to special interests. A YES on 1 and 3 and voting for Margolis and Greene will keep Wellington Wellington. And that’s the bottom line.

  4. Wow, they are concerned about the safety and well-being of the horses, How about being concerned about the Children of Wellington?!

    This family Refuses to allow a sidewalk to be constructed in front of their mansion on Pierson Road, so Wellington children and their parents would be able to Safely walk or bike to the popular Village Park! And didn’t they also try to stop the building of that prestigious Village Park because it would have intruded on their tranquility and bring more traffic in front of their fancy estate? Begone common folk, your safety is not Our concern!

    These last minute whispering in the ears of self absorbed, power hungry Council people have caused years and years of dissension in this community.

    There HAS to be a balanced approach in this Village when it comes to the Equestrian Preserve. It is up to these warring entities to find common ground instead of subjecting the rest of this Village (90%) to their on-going fights.

    It has been reported that Wellington’s Olympia Development off of SR7/441 brings in More property Tax revenue to the Village, than the huge 9000 acres of the Equestrian Preserve due to the ‘agriculture’ designation of the properties therein!

    As for development in the Equestrian Preserve, let us not forget, that if any of the owners of ANY of those numerous huge polo fields in the Preserve decide they no longer want or need the polo field, that property can be platted for numerous homes/estates. That WILL bring more vehicles and demand for paved roads.

    Regarding Amendment 3: How come ‘Bed and Breakfast’ was deleted from Amendment 3 and also, the word, ‘transients’? Is there aleady a ‘Bed and Breakfast’ in the Equestrian Preserve? Isn’t a ‘Bed and Breakfast’ a commercial business that people ‘rent’ for a period of time? Can someone build a primary residence then decide to make it a ‘Bed and Breakfast’ to rent out?

    And finally, The MOST important Amendment to the Wellington Charter was pulled (equestrian matters are MUCH MORE IMPORTANT)…..
    The pulled Amendment would have allowed the People of Wellington to VOTE for a Council person to fill an open Council seat if there were 180 days left in the term of that Council position.

    AFTER this March 15th election, we will Once Again be Denied the ability to Vote for another Council person to fill Gerwig’s open Council seat. Council members will tap a person who belongs to either THEIR political party, or their union, or their association or their friend and buddy to fill that open seat and that Appointed person will gain incumbency in a future Wellington election.

    We have been ROBBED and MANIPULATED by Some really lousy individuals who espouse that they are doing is what is best for the residents of Wellington.
    Let’s face it, they are only doing what is Best to advance their agenda.

  5. Please head these words. Bellissimo has lied more then once and continues to spread false information about amendment 3. Protect our Equestrian Preserve. Vote YES on amendment 3.

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