Wellington’s Zoning Board Votes To Simplify Regulations

The Wellington Municipal Complex.

Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board approved a program of simplifying the village’s land development regulations in a unanimous vote Wednesday, April 11.

The board recommended that the Wellington Village Council approve a zoning text amendment to Article 8 in Wellington’s Land Development Regulations.

Wellington’s Development Review Coordinator Cory Lyn Cramer explained that the village staff managed to simplify the article down so that it is now, in its entirety, 21 pages in length, instead of the 69 pages it originally was.

Since incorporation, the Village of Wellington has followed the Unified Land Development Code of Palm Beach County as its own regulations. When the desires and necessities of Wellington’s residents proved to be unique from other municipalities in Palm Beach County, it became evident that the village’s land development regulations needed modification to fit the community’s specific needs.

Articles 2, 3, 6 and 7 will also be modified, rewritten, replaced and presented to the board within the next three months.

Repealing and replacing Article 8 in its entirety is part of the village’s commitment to modifying its land development regulations in attempts to ensure all-around safety, efficiency and welfare for the Wellington community, Cramer said.

Article 8 contains the requirements necessary for approval within subdivisions, platting and re-platting, infrastructure and property enhancements. In other words, the article contains the requirements for approval for work on roads, easements, public parks, private recreation lands, drainage, sewer systems, plats, water and other utilities.

Cramer explained that the modifications made to Article 8 did not change its context or the requirements in subdivisions, plats and infrastructure. The modifications were to clarify the document while making it accessible and understandable to the community, as the staff aims to write it so that it flows in the order of an actual approval process.

“There are no substantial changes made to the context of this article,” Cramer said. “Changes include removing duplications, simplifying texts, eliminating obsolete references and reordering the information to ensure that the article is user friendly.”

The proposed rewrite of Article 8 does have one important change — it now includes a provision that all existing multi-family units be eligible for a plat waiver. The plat waivers were added to Article 8 in attempts to encourage reinvestment in and possible redevelopment of some of Wellington’s older multi-family homes.

“In order for [multi-family homeowners] to sell individual units, they would need to create individual parcels. So allowing a plat waiver is a more simplified process to create individual lots to be able to sell them,” Cramer said.

Given the board’s approval, the council is now scheduled to have the first reading of the revamped Article 8 on May 22.

“What you are doing is really incredible. I imagine this will be an example to a lot of [other] communities,” PZA Board Chair Elizabeth Mariaca said.

Along with the other revised land development regulations articles that the board will review in the coming months, Planning, Zoning & Building Director Bob Basehart gave the board an idea of the larger projects heading their way in the future.

Basehart began by mentioning a previously postponed application of a project that included plans to build a landing strip expansion in the western reaches of the village.

Basehart explained that the applicants have received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and that the board could expect to possibly see the project proposed to them for review during the summer.

“[The applicants] wanted to go to the FAA and obtain at least preliminary approval from them before moving forward, so the council remanded it back to the Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board and the Equestrian Preserve Committee,” Basehart said.