Letter: Minto’s Plans Should Not Be A Surprise

Due to citrus greening, Callery-Judge Grove decided it could no longer function and, after not getting 10,000 units from Palm Beach County, paid to have the ag-enclave (F.S. 163.3162) bill passed in the Florida Legislature. The wording within that statute — “the land uses and intensities of use that are consistent with the uses and intensities of use of the industrial, commercial or residential areas that surround the parcel” — would lead anyone to conclude that this was a fair and just method for the transition from agriculture to other uses. The real math for “surrounding” would have given them only 2,303 units, but our wonderful Board of County Commissioners gave them 235,000 square feet of commercial and 2,996 units, just shy of the 3,000 tipping point to become a development of regional impact (DRI).

Then comes Minto, which buys the land, wants 6,000 units and gets the gift of 4,500 units and, pay attention here, 2.1 million square feet of commercial from the county commission. Using the county’s own data, I proved to the board that 1.4 million square feet of commercial had already been built or approved to be built in this immediate area. Thus, the county commission has approved 3.5 million square feet of commercial for the central western communities, and that does not include what will come forward under GL Homes and Avenir. By comparison, Sawgrass Mills in Broward County is only 2.4 million square feet.

The fact that Minto now wishes to incorporate the Seminole Improvement District only shows how naïve our county planning staff and the board were and remains. The statement “it’s very disappointing” by Mrs. Caldwell should be taken as the motto of county planning and government. Once incorporated, the 10,000-plus units will be built, and the central western communities, The Acreage and Loxahatchee Groves will bear the full impact. Goodbye night sky, peace and quiet; hello traffic and crime.

It is well past time for government to start listening to the people. Presently existing residents have no rights, other than to pay for over-development that ruins their dreams and chosen way of life.

An old American Indian saying states, “We do not inherit the land; we only borrow it from our children.” Patrick Smith ends his book A Land Remembered with the question, “Where did it all go, Papa? Where?”

In the 1950s, we built bomb shelters to protect us from communist aggression. What, if anything, can protect us from our own government? Where is the silver lining with this cloud? Oh, in somebody’s pocket… I forgot.

Dr. Bill Louda, Loxahatchee Groves