The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council supported a temporary agreement on Tuesday, Dec. 1 for residents of 43rd Road North to have temporary access to 140th Avenue North, a road controlled by the Indian Trail Improvement District, until a more lasting arrangement can be worked out.
A recent road closure left the nine residents of 43rd Road North in Little Turtle Creek without access directly to Loxahatchee Groves, since ITID recently put up a gate at the cut-through from 140th Avenue North, and the western portion of the road is gated by the property owner.
Town Manager Jamie Titcomb said his staff has been working with ITID on a solution to the issue to avoid creating another cut-through in the process. The issue has been compounded by ITID’s recent notice of its intention to gate 43rd Road as well. An earlier attempt by staff to reach an interlocal agreement with ITID was rejected by the council.
“As you know, the cut-through has been permanently gated off. It had several misstarts with vandalism and aggression on that infrastructure, but it’s pretty much holding in place now,” Titcomb said.
He added that traffic in the northern part of town has decreased more than 90 percent.
“The protocol for emergency services has been fairly uneventful. However, there have been a lot of challenges with garbage delivery services and other service provisions to 43rd Road North, which is the next proposed closure, as has been noticed to us from Indian Trail,” he said.
Titcomb and the town attorney had discussions with the property owner at Little Turtle Creek about possible solutions.
“We continue to have some issues up there,” Titcomb said. “We’ve had discussions with the property owner, and we’ve had discussions with Indian Trail.”
He asked that the council consider a temporary agreement with ITID in order to keep 43rd Road open to 140th Avenue until a more lasting solution could be found.
The owner of the property on the west side of 43rd Road with the gates had his easement taken off the gas tax map, declaring his road to be private, thereby blocking possible access by other residents to 145th Avenue North, the other possible access point.
Councilman Robert Shorr said he would support a temporary agreement under the circumstances.
“I don’t want to open the door to any kind of long-term interlocal agreement, but if we have to do this in order to alleviate the situation and insure those people get proper services, I would support a temporary [agreement],” Shorr said.
Vice Mayor Marge Herzog said she felt the nine property owners should have rights of access within their titles.
“I believe that the gate and the legislation that allowed that gate were brought forward with inaccurate or false information about the existing situation that is there,” Herzog said.
Councilwoman Laura Danowski said she would have to see exactly what a temporary agreement said. “Temporary, I’m thinking three months,” Danowski said. “Get it done. Indian Trail has caused the issue… indirectly, Westlake. It’s not the town’s choice to close these two avenues.”
By consensus, the council agreed to direct staff to proceed with a temporary interlocal agreement with ITID until a lasting solution could be worked out.