Letter: Preserving Our Paradise

My primary campaign message was “Preserving Our Paradise” (POP). Some of my supporters thought that message seemed old and might not encompass the new and changing landscape, but it wasn’t about not embracing change, but rather meshing the changes into what we residents already know our gem of a town to be with its unique residential/agricultural makeup.

This makeup is what makes this town so special and different from any of the immediate towns close by. We still value open space, while other places around us are being divided and subdivided. We still welcome agricultural endeavors with varied livestock. There is beauty in the wading birds and joy in the otters still frequenting canals. We still have a gem in one of the few remaining places where we still have the rural feel and the larger parcels and yet have any and every amenity close by. We have a unique location that spells out our own little paradise feel at the end of the day. I voted for incorporation to protect our 5-acre minimum parcels with a one-on-five build, and I will fight to keep it.

The roads have been at the front of all campaigning this year, as they should be. While there is still division as to whether such roads should be paved or not, everyone can agree that all roads must be brought up to a safe standard, and that will cost funds that the town does not currently have for road maintenance. There have been many ideas floated as to how we might achieve this, but the only concrete avenue for the present time is property assessments, which will be unpopular for both sitting and elected council persons.

Even if we are fortunate enough to be reimbursed by FEMA for the funds expelled for hurricane cleanup, that sum wouldn’t cover the additional materials needed for the roads and still would leave us nothing in the bank for any future emergency. Grants, impact fees, business tax revenues and income from current commercial will help raise revenues, but none of that will be an immediate fix. The town is going forward with drainage construction, which is imperative to having and keeping good roads. It would be very helpful if residents would be willing to give up easements to accomplish this. We will never have good roads without proper drainage.

I fully support equestrian trails. Heavy traffic on our too-narrow roads is not a good mix for trail riders. I will continue to work to figure out how we can get some trails, even if they may not be what is envisioned. What I will not do is promise that I can accomplish this, as there are still legal consequences we might face, and this needs to be something we must all figure out how to do together without consequence to landowners. These are not solely equestrian trails — they are multi-use trails.

Finally, I believe in equality for all with no special interests. There will always be issues that some residents may not like, but so long as every single resident is treated in the same manner, they should be able to accept it, even if not liking it.

My vision would be that all the residents could figure a way to work together and embrace the old and the new, creating an even better Groves than I have lived in all these years — a town of real community helping and supporting one another and figuring out what works best for all, not just a few. Perhaps it’s only a vision, but I’ll be working on it for the next three years, and with your help, it could be achieved.

Joyce Batcheler, Councilwoman-Elect, Seat 3, Loxahatchee Groves