ITID Approves R3 Road Plan To Improve Access To District Services

After a public hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 23, the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors approved its R3 road improvement plan to pave or put millings on certain roads that the board has deemed will benefit all residents of The Acreage.

The public hearing was before a full house with more than 50 residents attending, many of whom spoke either for or against the plan. Several wanted their particular road paved or milled.

The purpose of the plan is to improve access to schools, parks, impoundment areas, ITID facilities and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue facilities.

ITID Attorney Mary Viator explained that the R3 plan is designed to benefit all district residents, whether or not they live on one of the particular roads being improved.

“You’re probably trying to understand what the parameters are that we’re all here tonight under this public hearing,” Viator said, explaining that ITID operates under the standards of state statutes that outline procedures it must follow to improve its infrastructure. “In this case, it’s the R3 road paving plan. We’ve gone through this process of first creating the geographical areas or the lands that are going to be impacted by the road plan.”

She explained that the ITID board approved a resolution to form the R3 area after months of discussions and public input meetings.

“We advertised for objections, and then we had a board meeting where we received objections to the formation, adopted a resolution that confirmed that geographical area, the unit, and authorized the preparation of a water control plan,” Viator said.

A revised plan was presented to and adopted by the board in June, which necessitated more public meetings.

“The plan was also delivered to South Florida Water Management District for review and comments, and on Sept. 28, a notice was sent out to all the landowners that would be impacted by this particular improvement,” Viator said.

Once the board approves the plan, ITID’s engineer will prepare a report outlining the costs and benefits to the district.

“That will come back to the board, and there will be another public hearing,” Viator said. “That final plan, and the engineer’s report, will be presented publicly, and then you all as the landowners would still have the right to provide additional comment.”

ITID Engineer Jay Foy said that the district is required to prepare a water control plan prior to the engineer’s report.

“This is not the engineer’s report, it’s the water control plan that outlines the general process,” Foy said. “It notes specific roads, but it doesn’t tell you what you’re going to do. It doesn’t tell you you’re going to have swales or sidewalks or calming. The plan is a general idea of what is to proceed.”

After reiterating the types of roads previously laid out by Viator, Foy added that the inclusion of roads based on high traffic count only had not been addressed in the water control plan because it became too controversial at previous hearings, and that traffic calming had been included, but not yet defined or described.

“Traffic calming is identified only for the roads that are in the plan,” he said. “We will tell you what the traffic calming on those roads is, if any when we do the engineer’s report.”

He added that the cost of the plan has not been determined, although essentially all residents in the M1 and M2 basins will be subject to assessments based on improvements of access to parks, schools, fire-rescue and ITID facilities, excluding units in Royal Palm Beach, Bay Hill Estates and Rustic Lakes.

“The future units on Northlake [Blvd.] would be assessed, except for the school,” Foy said, explaining that the M1 and M2 basins total about 55 square miles. “Our area is bigger than West Palm Beach, so we are very, very large.”

He said roads that are not currently in the plan might be included later, explaining that some roads had high traffic counts, but had not been included because they did not meet the defined criteria of benefiting access to schools, parks, ITID facilities or fire-rescue stations.

About 30 residents submitted comment cards either wishing to speak directly or providing written comments.

Lenny Wong, who lives at 64th Place North and 180th Avenue North, said he was all for the plan.

“I have been waiting 15 years for this, and it’s nothing but a nightmare with the people blowing that stop sign… and dust everywhere,” Wong said. “I’ve got 200 feet of areca trees there to help calm that down. When I got the letter, I was all for this, but you’ve got to put speed bumps.”

Sheryl Sample of 60th Lane North said she would like 60th Street North opened.

“If we cannot get a unanimous decision by everybody who backs that property, I’m all for opening up 60th Lane North,” she said.

Mark Hawkins of 89th Place North near Hamlin House said he would like his road paved rather than improved with millings, explaining that horse trailers and heavy pickup trucks would quickly deteriorate a road that is not paved.

Tom Scott of 51st Court North said he would like to see Mango Blvd. paved.

“The trucks are speeding down there,” Scott said. “I don’t know if they are trying to avoid Royal Palm [Beach Blvd.]. It is also affected by State Road 7. With their decision not to open that, we’re just getting the extra flow of traffic. I’m for all the other paving and millings, because you have to have progress.”

Many comment cards advocated paving Mango Blvd. ITID President Betty Argue explained that Mango Blvd. had been considered for paving but had been moved to a second phase of improvements.

Supervisor Joni Martin made a motion to approve the resolution with paving for 89th Place North rather than millings, which carried 4-1 with Supervisor Tim Sayre objecting due to the lack of involvement of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, which the board recently hired to provide consultation.

Argue said ITID had been discussing the R3 plan long before the TCRPC had been retained as a consultant.

“I think we’re perfectly capable of approving an R3 plan that we have been working on for two years with staff,” she said.