In a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, July 7, the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council approved the development of a footprint survey of streets and lettered roads to establish a right-of-way grid for the community.
Engineering consultant Randy Wertepny said the proposed study is to tie together two proposals that have been approved by the council for several years regarding getting the town’s road footprint recorded as rights of way.
“This process would essentially take the lettered roads and other various roadways. There are about 30 roads throughout the town that are on the gas tax [map],” Wertepny said. “This would get the rest of the gas tax roads as town rights of way.”
The proposal is set up to combine major recognized roadways with other roads on the gas tax map as rights of way, including Perkins Drive, which was once recognized as a private road due to a letter sent to the town by a property owner several years ago claiming that it was a private road. However, the designation was changed following letters to the contrary by other property owners on the road.
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia asked why the proposed $6,500 was so high for Perkins Drive, and Wertepny said that street must be surveyed individually since most of the other roads had been surveyed.
Wertepny said the study would establish the limits of all the roadways in the town and the width of the roadways that the town has maintained in the past.
“It’s a starting point,” he said, explaining that some of the rights of way have been established, such as South B Road, Compton Road and Marcella Blvd., which had formal rights of way submitted when they were paved. The remaining roads to be declared that the town is maintaining total more than 27 miles and would finalize the town’s map at minimal cost and legal process.
“You are basically stating that you have right of way and ownership responsibilities within certain roadways,” Wertepny said.
Town Manager Jamie Titcomb said the survey would put the town in a better long-term position to defend itself legally if it were challenged.
Town Attorney Brian Shutt said the survey would codify the width of the roads that the town has been maintaining.
Maniglia said she felt the survey would make the town roads wider.
“Also, this is a form of a land grab without giving anybody compensation,” she said. “At this time, I am very concerned about this.”
Assistant Town Manager Francine Ramaglia said the survey would be “a clean sweep,” covering the entire town, as opposed to a more expensive alternative of getting the rights of way platted individually as they are needed.
Councilwoman Laura Danowski disagreed that the survey is a “land grab.”
“It is, as earlier stated, the town footprint and recording of what the town has to work with,” Danowski said.
“All I see is paving,” said Maniglia, who made a motion to deny the request, which failed 3-2.
Councilman Robert Shorr made a motion to approve $27,000 for the survey, but defer the Perkins Drive item to next year, which carried 3-2 with Maniglia and Vice Mayor Marge Herzog opposed.