Letter: Bellissimo Hotel Déjà Vu

Here we go again. When last here, entitled Mark Bellissimo was insulting our council, insulting our community and then financed the campaigns of new Mayor Anne Gerwig and her cohort Michael Drahos to have a more receptive audience. Well, here he is with a new shenanigan, trying to change areas in the preserve to out of the preserve to allow him to build his hotels/condominiums.

Never mind that Robert Guarini of Wellington Hospitality said that Wellington’s hotels at present run at 58 percent capacity and are full only 49 percent of the time (counting the equestrian presence time-frame).

Add to this the new proposed hotel not in the equestrian preserve currently going through the system in the mall vicinity that will be adding another 250 beds. So, there is no need, only wants and greed of a developer who wants to build, build and build, and commercialize properties — because that’s where his money is.

A few years ago, as most of us sadly can recall, Mr. Bellissimo, often through the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, where some of his cohorts sort of ran the place, continually insulted our elected officials and even our village because he couldn’t have his way, inclusive of constructing without permits, building violations, taking down village signs and suing our village continuously.

I remember well Mr. Bellissimo’s threats about moving to North Carolina, and my advice was and still is “go ahead.” I haven’t heard of equestrian events there in winter conditions, but it is a new twist, riding in the snow.

Wellington was here before Mr. Bellissimo, and it had worldwide support/Olympic riders too. He can choose to improve and enhance this venue with our blessings, but he should kindly refrain from overbuilding with more hotels, condos, etc… We Wellingtonians have an opinion, too, and this is our village.

So the future of Wellington as we know it will be up to the people Mr. Bellissimo virtually put into office with somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars in campaign contributions. Will they pay back a perceived debt, or will they vote with the population/citizenry, whose job it is for them to represent?

To be sure, nothing has changed. Any hotel/condo/commercialization will cause more traffic. It will affect aesthetics. It will affect quality of life. And who will pay for road widening and other issues? We did, after all, vote on this already. Respect the people’s referendum and respect that any overbuilding will be a detriment!

We live in a planned community, a neighborhood, so to speak. We don’t need a developer’s avarice to Browardize us, and certainly our village has been very warm to the equestrian community, which is an integral part of our identity. We applaud Mark Bellissimo’s strides in improving the equestrian identity, but enough is enough. Ninety percent or more of Wellington is not equestrian, and they need to be heard, too, as well as the equestrians who live here year-round, not seasonally.

More is not better, and we are almost at build-out. Let’s not ruin our village!

George P. Unger, Wellington


  1. Poor Mr. Unger. He can’t wrestle himself loose from the era of the Three Amigos – Bob Margoolis, John Green and Matt Willhite. Back in those days George Unger was part of the mean spirited, hypocritical, secretive mob that ran Wellington at the direction of the Jacobs Family.

    Fortunately as of last year we have a new Sheriff in Town, Mayor Anne Gerwig, I watch some of the meetings and she is cordial as are the other council meetings. No more rancor and (obvious) hidden agendas.

    So George, I advise that you continue your nasty rants. It reminds us that we are no longer governed by your cohorts.

  2. Mr. Unger his crawled out from under his rock and once again throwing slanderous accusations at people who are making this community better.

    George was connected at the hip to the old regime of Margolis, Green and Willhite who were a disaster and tried to Divide this community. Well his people list in massive landslides.

    George, try and get used to civil discourse and polite conversation. You might come to enjoy it

  3. The Village has become too commercialized and cheapened:

    Flashing/Moving electronic signs at churches and schools and even some businesses (“open, open”),

    bed and breakfasts allowed in single family zoned Sugar Pond and Paddock Park 1;

    Council suggesting that commercial vehicles be allowed to park in multifamily areas (and staff suggesting commercial parking under the FPL lines( like RPB did near Costco) at Forest Hill and Big Blue Trace but, by the PB Polo/Stribling Road they suggested a new Linear Park! We now know which section of the Village comes first! Commercial vehicles for the rest of us; parks for monied people.

    And how about the Village Asst Manager saying those same commercial vehicles should be allowed in single family areas, too.

    The Village Manager talking about having commercial businesses (hairdressers, not convenience stores he says) in Sugar Pond Manor single family area.

    “Trust the staff”, well the staff is suggesting way too many variances, deviations from the established standards in Wellington.
    Does anyone ever know how to say, “No”? Does the staff who is suggesting these variances even live in the Village?

    A Way Too Permissive attitude is permeating our government in the Village.

    But wait, there is even a suggestion that the Wellington Community Pool be removed from its current location near the new Community Center and then a new pool be built near the public library on Royal Fern!

    That area by the library is already a nightmare when school gets out, let alone when voting is taking place. It is inappropriate placement of a new pool in an inappropriate setting.

    Any Performing Arts Center ( a knockdown of Lakeside Business Center/removing the Community Pool) should be near a roadway that can handle a massive amount of vehicles. Forest Hill Blvd near the Municipal Center, New Community Center, Scott’s Place and the Amphitheater, plus Food Trucks is not a site for a Performing Arts Center. Too many times activities would have to be curtailed to make way for a performance at the Art Center.

    The Council should consider buying up old multifamily areas with an eye to expand our park system. They missed a prime opportunity of purchasing Wanderer’s Old Executive Golf Course to add an open parkland.

    When has the Council EVER suggested keeping land UNdeveloped? When was the last time a Council ever purchased land just for a park?

    Keep an eye and ear out to see what Council is planning for the public park IN the equestrian preserve off of South Shore Blvd.

    And does aluminum fencing on major thoroughfares not need plantings in front of it? Palm Beach Polo has put up an aluminum fence along Forest Hill Blvd with NO plantings (plus they also have chain link fencing along Stribling Road with NO plantings in front of that chain linked fence. Meanwhile, everyone other peon has to put plantings in front of their fences along thoroughfares.

    And some developer should snap up 25 acres in Little Ranches and ask the Village to have the acreage designated Commercial/Recreation (and we know that some Council, some day Will consider doing just that.) Then, the developer can build condos, hotels in the Little Ranches.

    Only certain roadways IN the Equestrian Preserve should be allowed to have condos/hotels. (btw, the condos/hotels in Tryon Equestrian Center are nothing to brag about).

    And the premise that traffic would be ‘captured’ by having food and lodgings in these Floating Areas Equestrian Venues is downright silly. These visiting Equestrians rent fancy vehicles during their stay in Wellington. They aren’t going to be trapped in the Equestrian Area. They will move about like any other person visiting our area.

    Honestly, the Village goes from one extreme Council to another extreme Council.

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