Westlake Officials Approve Medical District Plan, PBSO Contract

The Westlake City Council approved plat modifications on Monday for the community’s medical pod, a residential development and a road that will serve the commercial area of the rapidly growing community.

The council also approved a reduced solid waste collection rate, as well as a $650,000 annual contract with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, although one member of the council objected to the cost on the grounds that he felt the still-small population did not warrant that expense.

Donaldson Hearing with the planning firm Cotleur & Hearing presented the medical pod plat modifications on behalf of Universal Health Services.

He explained that Pod K is currently the site of Wellington Regional Medical Center’s stand-alone emergency department serving Westlake and the surrounding areas.

“This is the balance of that parcel,” Hearing said. “It is intended to be a medical district. It has been set up so that we maintain that concentration of high-end medical services within one area. The total area is about 40 acres.”

The plat is bounded on the west by Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, on the east by Ilex Way, which is under construction, on the north by Town Center Blvd. and on the south by Persimmon Blvd.

“This sets up the opportunity for the next step, which is the development of the medical center, which we hope to see sometime next year,” Hearing said.

Vice Mayor Katrina Long-Robinson made a motion to approve the plat, which carried 5-0.

The council also approved modifications of the plat for The Meadows Phase 2, located east of The Hammocks subdivision on the northern end of the Westlake community.

“You approved this plat, however, there were some modifications made with some of the technical language of the Seminole Improvement District,” Hearing said. “We actually increased the total number of dwelling units in this parcel within Phase 2 from 204 to 213, so nine additional units, and this was achieved by reallocating some of our lots. At one point, we were looking at doing some 70-foot-wide lots, and we determined that the product that we have right now that we’re putting on the 65-foot lots were more adequate based on where we’re at in the marketplace.”

Hearing said the earthwork and land development is largely complete and the final plat will have 388 units on 132 acres, or about 3.2 units per acre.

Councilman John Stanavitch made a motion to approve the amendment, which carried 5-0.

The council also approved the plat for Kingfisher Blvd. west of the community’s recently opened water park. “This is a very important road because it creates an interconnection between Town Center Parkway South and Town Center Parkway North, as well as access to the recreation center that was recently constructed,” Hearing said.

He added that Kingfisher Blvd. will provide for future development in that area.

“It’s a fairly simple plat,” he said. “It arches in there on the west side of the [recreation area] amenity, connecting the two roadway pieces together. Interconnectivity is important. The more we can keep people off the major roads and provide alternative routes, the more free-flowing circulation not only for our roads, but for our pedestrian pathways and our other multi-mobile pathways that we have throughout the community.”

Long-Robinson made a motion to approve the plat, which carried 5-0.

Next, the council approved a solid waste disposal contract with Advance Disposal Services, which was the lowest bidder through a contract with the Solid Waste Authority for solid waste pickup in Area 2 of the county at a total rate of $423.36 per residential unit per year.

Westlake City Attorney Pam Booker said the contract is for five years with an option for two one-year renewals

“There are a few rates that were negotiated with Advance Disposal,” Booker said. “One was the trash receptacles. There was an additional fee for the residents in this area. The City of Westlake provides containers for the residents, so that fee was removed, as well as on the yard waste, with the newness of the community and the size of the lots, it is not comparable to the surrounding area. That fee doubled over last year’s rate, and we were able to get that rate reduced for our residents.”

Stanavitch made a motion to approve the contract, which carried 5-0.

Finally, the council approved a five-year, renewable contract with the PBSO at an annual rate of $650,000.

Westlake City Manager Ken Cassel said that he and his staff have worked for the last several years with the PBSO to come to an agreement.

“Technically and ideally, I wish we had signed this two years ago, but they have worked with us,” Cassel said. “Now it’s time to formally set up to have one full-time officer, 24/7, within the city.”

PBSO Major Eric Coleman said the contract covers five officers, but there are many other services included in the contract, such as around-the-clock emergency operations for the communications center and supervision through an on-duty sergeant, watch commanders and captains.

“The county is divided into three uniform operations for the sheriff,” Coleman said. “I have the west portion of the county. I have everything west of State Road 7, which is about 325 employees. We work together regionally to communicate so that those crime issues are addressed from a regional standpoint.”

He pointed out that there are also specialty services, such as aviation and canine units, as well as traffic and commercial vehicle control.

Councilman Phillip Everett questioned why Westlake, which is growing but currently has a relatively small population, would need a contract at that cost.

Coleman said that the PBSO does not know where or when incidents are going to happen.

“Crime does not pick by population,” he said. “You do have burglaries out here. You’re going to have robberies; you’re going to have a hospital and medical facilities. That brings a lot of people from outside the community into your community.”

Coleman pointed out that Lake Clarke Shores has a population of 3,500 people with a private law enforcement unit that costs $1.4 million annually.

Stanavitch made a motion to approve the PBSO contract, which carried 4-1 with Everett opposed.