The Indian Trail Improvement District has filed a countersuit to a lawsuit brought by developer Minto and the Seminole Improvement District (SID) demanding that it be allowed to access 140th Avenue North a few blocks north of Persimmon Blvd. in The Acreage.
ITID recently blocked off an access road from Minto’s Westlake property to 140th Avenue North that was being used by utility vehicles that damaged a sidewalk there.
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 from 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 from using the mutual right of way and from connecting to ITID’s roadway system.
ITID’s civil counterclaim filed in the 15th Judicial Circuit asserts that the plaintiffs are trying to access a private road owned by ITID.
“Defendant exclusively maintains its roads [by] using funds from assessments on and for the benefit of the landowners living within ITID,” the countersuit states.
The countersuit states further that the plaintiffs seek to gain unlimited access to ITID’s roadway system without contributing funds for the maintenance, repair, upgrading or upkeep of those roads.
“ITID’s roads are designed and maintained for low-volume traffic serving the needs of local residential neighborhoods and are unpaved in many sections,” the countersuit continues. “They are not designed to safely and efficiently handle the high-speed, high-volume traffic from outside areas that SID and Minto are seeking to allow, especially when that traffic includes heavy-duty dump trucks used in the development of Minto’s property.”
The countersuit further alleges that the plaintiff’s proposed connection to 140th Avenue North is not a necessity and both SID and Minto have numerous options to avoid the use of ITID roads altogether.
The countersuit further asserts that ITID’s action barricading the access road was justified in asserting its vested rights to the right of way in question, and consistent with the promotion of public health, safety and welfare of ITID and its residents.
The suit notes that Florida Statutes specifically permit ITID to assess and collect reasonable fees for a connection to its roadway system, and asserts that any reference by SID or Minto that they have historically used the connection at 140th Avenue North in the past would refer to agricultural uses, not the proposed heavy development use that Minto intends for the current use of the connection.
The countersuit further alleges that the plaintiffs seek to gain unlimited access to ITID’s roadway system without contributing toward the maintenance, repair, upgrading or upkeep of the roads.
“Plaintiffs are seeking to avoid paying either the county or ITID for making its connections onto ITID’s roadway system,” the countersuit states. “To allow SID and Minto access to ITID’s roadway system without contributing any funds for its maintenance, upgrade or repair would be inequitable.”