Wellington Council OKs Resolution Supporting SR 7 Extension

Members of Pack 125 were on hand to thank the council, village staff and the residents of Wellington as a whole for their support through the years.

Highlights of the Wellington Village Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28 included the addition of an agenda item passing a resolution in favor of State Road 7’s extension to Northlake Blvd. and Cub Scout Pack 125 presenting the council with an invitation to participate in the pack’s annual Pinewood Derby.

During the meeting, Councilman John McGovern reported on the previous night’s meeting of the Western Communities Council, a panel made up of government representatives from across the western communities. The meeting included an in-depth discussion of the status of the long-delayed extension of SR 7 to Northlake Blvd.

The extension was dealt a setback in December when the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency Governing Board narrowly passed a resolution to remove the SR 7 extension from the TPA’s 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan.

McGovern said that the measure that passed was confusing and had many governing board members wondering what they had voted for. The item removed the extension from future consideration in the planning process. However, many who previously wanted the road seemed to have voted against it, he said.

The measure was supported by the City of West Palm Beach, which has long opposed the project. West Palm Beach has stymied efforts to complete the roadway on environmental grounds, citing concerns that an accident could endanger the city’s water supply, which is pulled from the adjacent Grassy Waters Preserve.

Supporters of the roadway note that it is a crucial connection for the local road network and that West Palm Beach agreed to the road decades ago as a requirement of the development of its western neighborhoods, such as the Ibis Golf & Country Club.

County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay has promised to bring the SR 7 removal up for reconsideration at the TPA’s next board meeting. The item will be on the agenda for a meeting to be held Thursday, Feb. 20.

In advance of that meeting, the council agreed to pass the resolution to renew its support for the extension.

Wellington restated its support for the roadway completion, also adding that it is needed for emergency transportation.

The resolution read, in part, “The council hereby supports the construction of the SR 7 extension from 60th Street North to Northlake Blvd. and further joins the Western Communities Council Inc. in its support for the same.”

In other business:

• The requirements for who may sit on Wellington’s Construction Board of Adjustments & Appeals were broadened. “This will make it clearer who is eligible to serve on a board that is sometimes difficult to fill,” Village Attorney Laurie Cohen explained.

• The council gave final approval to an updated small cell wireless ordinance for public rights-of-way after Cohen reported on meetings she held with consultants and concerned residents. There was no public comment.

• A required public comment session was held in order to be eligible for an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. The grant will be used toward the purchase of cameras for use in Wellington Dog Park. “Cameras create better behavior,” Village Manager Paul Schofield said.