PBC To Consider Plan To Widen 60th Street Right Of Way May 2

The Palm Beach County Commission

The Palm Beach County Commission will review several items affecting the western communities on Wednesday, May 2, including a staff-initiated proposal to widen part of the 60th Street North right of way in The Acreage from 80 feet to 100 feet.

Opponents have objected to the proposal, which would allow as many as five lanes and involve the taking of as many as 43 frontages from residential properties along the roadway.

County staff proposes to initiate the plan allowing the wider easement. According to the staff report, the plan has been coordinated with area residents.

The amendment was proposed by the county’s engineering department to increase the right of way on the county thoroughfare map on 60th Street North, between 140th Avenue North and 120th Avenue North, to reflect the need to accommodate an ultimate five-lane roadway in the future.

According to the staff report, a five-lane roadway typically fits within an 80-foot right of way, but in this instance, it is unusually constrained by the City of West Palm Beach’s M Canal, which runs alongside it. The canal encroaches into the existing 80-foot right of way on the north side, and West Palm Beach holds a canal access and maintenance easement over the existing right of way.

The additional space is needed to provide enough space for a five-lane road, as well as a required berm and guardrail adjacent to the canal, as was constructed on 60th Street North from east of 120th Avenue North to State Road 7.

Future right of way acquisition is expected along the south right of way line, impacting about 20 feet of frontage on residential properties. The construction of a three-lane paved road precedes provisions for an ultimate five-lane roadway shown on the county’s five-year plan for fiscal year 2021.

The amendment was presented to the county commission for initiation on Jan. 31, when it voted not to initiate the plan at that time, but instead continue working with the Indian Trail Improvement District and the community on local transportation issues. Two ITID representatives spoke against the proposal at that meeting and cited a need to examine transportation issues in the area on a broader scale.

After the Jan. 31 meeting, county staff met with the Acreage Landowners’ Association on Feb. 13 regarding planned road improvements, including 60th Street North, and other issues.

On March 23, county staff sent letters to each of the 43 property owners that may be affected by the roadway improvements to 60th Street North, and on March 29 sent notification letters to all property owners within 500 feet south of 60th Street North.

E-mails were also sent to ITID, the Seminole Improvement District, the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District, the ALA, the School District of Palm Beach County, and the municipalities of Westlake, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee Groves and Royal Palm Beach. This communication included notice of an April 10 informational meeting attended by about 38 members of the public, who expressed concerns about the plan, as well as the May 2 hearing date.

ITID last month approved writing a letter to the county opposing the plan.

The county’s Local Planning Agency recommended initiation of the plan in a 9-0 vote on Jan. 12.

The purpose of the formal initiation process is to allow staff to proceed with scheduling public hearings, according to the staff report.

Also at the May 2 meeting, the commissioners will consider a time extension for the 138-acre Central Park Commerce Center data center on the north side of Southern Blvd., west of the L-8 Canal about 3 miles west of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road.

County staff recommends approval of the extension. The site was granted approval in 2016 for development of a minimum of 200,000 square feet of uses unique to the site, including a data center. The applicant is requesting the amendment to extend the date to June 30, 2022 to allow a timeline that coincides with timelines established during the 2017 legislative session, which created the opportunity for a sales tax exemption for data centers.

County staff also agreed that, given there are no large data centers in Florida, the extension allows more leeway to address any unanticipated issues for the unprecedented large-scale use. Additionally, the proposed amendment does not change the future land use designation, allowable uses or development potential of the site.