Letter: Diminishing The Quality Of Life In RPB

After several years of careful and thoughtful searching, many of us chose to buy a new or pre-existing home in Royal Palm Beach for very deliberate reasons. It may be for a retirement home or families just starting out — the place where we will live out our final days or raise children. We need proximity access to available healthcare, necessary shopping and recreation without the danger of excessive traffic and overcrowding. We also want a safe, mature community that already had the problems worked out and with well-integrated open green space.

We want a home that will appreciate in value in an area that attracts like-minded homeowners who want the peace, quiet and predictability of stable, well-seasoned neighborhoods. After studying the Village Green Project presentation to build a 450-unit residential development on the Village Golf Club, we are afraid that proposal will disrupt, change and make uncertain the very basis upon which we carefully chose to locate in Royal Palm Beach.

There are existing in-process developments that will already stress the quality-of-life in Royal Palm Beach. The Village Green Project will bring an new influx of residents to the heart of Royal Palm Beach that will add and severely stress the supporting infrastructure we all share, such as water, sewer, electricity, fire and emergency response, police protection, traffic patterns/management, evacuation routing, street maintenance, sanitation, etc.

New support services and personnel will be required, like schools, firemen and fire equipment, policemen and police equipment, village planners and code inspectors, animal control, etc. Our village is almost built out. There are limits on what can be done to solve the impacts of that development. For example, you can’t widen Okeechobee and Royal Palm Beach boulevards. The taxes on the existing residents will rise to compensate for shortages due to the impact of new developments.

Building 450 more homes at this location will add thousands of more people and cars, which can’t possibly improve the long-established environment that’s currently here. That impact as described will lead to a decrease in our home values. Those living in the proximity of the golf course paid a premium for that location, which will now be reduced in value. We have already seen an increase of unwanted activities in the area, such as vandalism, car break-ins and scammers. Adding more population through uncontrolled residential building will only add to our security worries. Added population density equals more crime, more solicitor traffic, more nefarious people and more exploitation opportunities. In total, the negative impacts of increased noise, crime, traffic, etc. will decrease value. That value will be decreased again by discouraging the discriminating buyer from wanting to settle here.

The project clearly benefits those who stand to financially gain from it. However, in all the negative implications of their plans, all we see for current homeowners and the Village of Royal Palm Beach is great loss, both in community reputation and in quality of life. We choose to live here for very specific reasons that this project now threatens. We, therefore, oppose the Village Green Project and ask the Royal Palm Beach Village Council to reject the plan and support the residents and our quality of life.

Joe Sicilia, Royal Palm Beach