A battle between the growing Westlake community and the Indian Trail Improvement District over road access appears headed to court. Developer Minto and the Seminole Improvement District (SID) have filed suit after ITID barricaded a farm road from Westlake property to 140th Avenue North a few blocks north of Persimmon Blvd.
A 76-page complaint filed in circuit court by Minto and SID, the Minto-controlled special district in charge of Westlake’s roads and drainage, against ITID asks for declaratory and injunctive relief for access to 140th Avenue North based in part on its development order with Palm Beach County to provide two east-west connections from Seminole Pratt Whitney Road to 140th Avenue North.
The complaint also contends that ITID does not have the right to install a physical barrier to prevent traffic from SID’s jurisdiction of Minto’s property from using the mutual right of way and from connecting to ITID’s roadway system.
“ITID’s roads are clearly public roads, and the general public is entitled to use such roads,” the complaint states. “However, ITID’s claims and behaviors have placed its right to close the roadway system to traffic from without its jurisdictional boundaries or to otherwise place physical barriers on its roads between SID and Minto and its roadway system into doubt.
Public records indicate that ITID had been in correspondence with SID and Minto on the topic. ITID has asserted that SID and Minto needed a permit from ITID in order to use the easement, which crosses a swale and sidewalk that ITID claims has been damaged by vehicles crossing it.
ITID President Betty Argue, whose name is mentioned in the lawsuit, said she could not comment, other than to say that ITID would be responding.
Acreage Landowners’ Association President Bob Morgan said that the traffic appears to have damaged the sidewalk with equipment going in and out of the area. Minto offered to repair the damage, but refused to obtain a permit from ITID to complete the repairs, which is required by ITID. The developer did improve the ingress/egress to make it more accessible before the barrier was installed.
SID and Minto maintain that the ingress/egress is necessary for emergency use and flood control.
The ALA Facebook page has numerous comments about an increased number of construction vehicles on Persimmon Blvd. a few blocks south of the blocked accessway.
“Construction vehicles are the problem,” Morgan said. “Once Westlake starts loading up with residents, it’s just going to become more and more of a nuisance.”
Morgan added that the barricaded farm road was not one of the two east/west connections mentioned in the lawsuit that the county required as a condition of approval.