At last Thursday night’s Royal Palm Beach Village Council meeting, several residents spoke regarding approval of the proposed “Tuttle Royale” project (200 acres, 1,100 apartments and homes, entertainment/commercial center, hotel and 1,500-student charter school located behind Lowe’s on the old Acme Ranches property). I was stunned to hear very few questions from our elected leaders regarding how this massive development will impact traffic and public safety in Royal Palm Beach.
At the end of the developer’s presentation, residents listened to Mayor Fred Pinto enter into a seven-minute soliloquy stating that residents’ concerns about traffic, public safety and the “notion we’re going to become West Palm Beach is absolutely false and should not be listened to.” The mayor also stated unequivocally that this project is going to “improve” traffic at the intersection of State Road 7 and Southern Blvd.
My question for Mayor Pinto is, who are you working for? The developer or the residents of Royal Palm Beach? It is not your job to defend the developer! It is your job to run the meeting and provide the public with information about the project! A more reasonable mayoral response might have been, “Thank you for your comments, we hear you. As we move forward with this project, I will ask the developer to schedule a meeting where residents can ask more technical traffic questions, such as how did the developer come up with his current base case (without project) condition and future case (with and without project) conditions.” What county approved developments were included in these computer model runs?
Both the developer’s engineer and the mayor stated that approval of Lowe’s Road and its associated traffic light will alleviate traffic conditions on SR 7. Several residents, including myself, are skeptical of these statements and would like to see the data and assumptions they are based on. This is public information, so I see no reason why the village would not provide this information. The developer has also said that in order for his development to work, he needs the proposed SR 7 “bypass” to allow public access to his planned entertainment center and hotel, or the project will not work. We would like to see what traffic and marketing data drives this conclusion. I am sure that Mr. Tuttle would be more than happy to share this information with our residents.
Dave Swift, Royal Palm Beach
Editor’s note: Mr. Swift is a former member of the Royal Palm Beach Village Council.