Many residents of The Acreage and Loxahatchee Groves are upset that a longstanding — but illegal — cut-through at the southern end of 140th Avenue North has been barricaded, but local officials say they have strong arguments for the action.
The Indian Trail Improvement District put up the barricade late last year, more recently barricading 43rd Road North to prevent the creation of another cross-through in that area via 145th Avenue North.
Meanwhile, on June 15, the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council gave final approval to an ordinance that prohibits private ingress/egress of vehicles from outside the town limits.
The overreaching argument that officials cite is the increasing pass-through traffic from outside The Acreage and Loxahatchee Groves via cut-throughs that were never approved.
ITID Executive Director Burgess Hanson told the Town-Crier that the ITID Board of Supervisors authorized the closure to keep cut-through traffic off district roads.
“So, we have two closures. One is the maintenance road with Loxahatchee Groves, which is commonly referred to as the cut-through, and then we also have other roads from Loxahatchee Groves, which is 43rd Road North,” Hanson said. “Last year, we were planning on closing those connections because they were unpermitted, not authorized and unassessed connections to the works of the district.”
He also pointed out that the Town of Loxahatchee Groves did not want connections there.
“This month, the town council for the Town of Loxahatchee Groves actually passed an ordinance that prohibits any multijurisdictional connection from other areas, with the exception of Southern and Okeechobee [boulevards],” he said.
ITID shut the 140th Avenue cut-through last fall because it is not a right of way, but a canal maintenance easement for the Town of Loxahatchee Groves.
“It was never meant to be a roadway,” Hanson said. “A long time ago, it was shut, and people took out the gates.”
At the recent behest of the ITID board, another gate was put in at 140th Avenue, both for public safety and to prevent the increasing pass-through traffic. In cooperation with the Town of Loxahatchee Groves, ITID kept access to 43rd Road open for residents there until the town completed a recently finished connection to 145th Avenue.
“It’s not an ITID matter, but basically, the property owner said that the only way he would give up the right of way there for them to re-open [145th Avenue], is for a permanent closure at 43rd and 140th, not a gate or anything else, so that’s why a guardrail was put in,” Hanson said, the obvious reason being that the property owner did not want to see a new cut-through going past his property.
The next area that the district and town will be working on will be 162nd Drive North, he said.
“That is the road that is west of A Road off Okeechobee. There are unpermitted, not authorized, non-assessed connections onto district roads,” Hanson said. “We’ll actually be putting up guardrails along that entire length of road. I’ve requested to the town manager that they help pay for half the cost of that guardrail installation, since they have an ordinance that prohibits that, and also to notify those property owners that it is now illegal to have a connection from their property onto another jurisdiction’s roadway.”