The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council on Tuesday, Aug. 17 approved amendments to the site plan for the 4.6-acre Town Center portion of the 90-acre Groves Town Center project located at the northeast corner of Southern Blvd. and B Road with a condition that horse trailer parking be moved to another location.
The approval was for construction of the Groves Town Center Drive coming off Southern Blvd. east of the Aldi’s grocery store to a roundabout that will have extensions to the east, north and west on the overall site. The site plan includes stormwater drainage, sewage and other infrastructure for the entire site.
“As part of that approval, we are required to get site plan approval for the Town Center pod site plan, and that’s why we are here this evening,” said Taylor Parker, engineer of record for the project. “We are requesting an equestrian parking area that will be fenced in.”
The applicant is also proposing a network of sidewalks to wrap around the pod to provide connectivity.
“The master lift station is sitting in the central northern boundary of the site,” Parker said. “That lift station will serve the overall master PUD development for sewer service.”
She also presented a conceptual landscaping plan to be included in the first phase of construction.
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia said the horse trail constructed by the developer still has some dangers. Parker said that the property owners are working with a landscaper to clean up the trail.
Maniglia also asked about the previously approved equestrian bridge connecting the development to other trails into the town.
“With respect to the bridge, it is part of the first phase of construction. It has already been designed by a premanufactured bridge company and is in the permitting process,” Parker said.
The portion of the sewage lift station that is above ground will be on a 30-foot by 40-foot tract with a 40-foot-long and 7-foot utility easement leading to it. It will service all the users in the development.
Mayor Robert Shorr objected to equestrian parking and a lift station within what he had understood was to be a public meeting space.
“I’m not very excited about this at all,” Shorr said. “I look back to the original center with a big open space [for] public functions, and now this is just getting boxed in. Who came up with the idea of the horse trailer parking? That serves so narrow a range of people, and it’s right in the middle of traffic.”
Parker said the idea came out of the developer’s meetings with town advisory committees and staff.
Shorr said he did not like the idea of a sewage lift station sitting in an area intended for outdoor enjoyment by the public.
Parker said the location of the lift station was ideal for effective gravity drainage from all the buildings it will service.
“It’s the most central location that would provide adequate flow and fall for all of the individual pod users,” she said.
Town Manager Jamie Titcomb said the idea of equestrian parking in that area came from the Roadways, Equestrian, Trails & Greenway Advisory Committee, since the equestrian bridge would lead to a trailhead.
“The layout of the parking has been engineered,” Titcomb said. “It flowed with the overall engineering of all this. Keep in mind, the town never saw a lift station on the center pod at all. It’s a new element.”
Parker said the developer thought there was a need for an equestrian parking area.
“The reason for it being placed in that location is because the crossing point, which is in the master PUD, is adjacent to that location,” she said. “That is where the entrance is.”
Shorr said he would like to approve the infrastructure plan so as not to delay the project and suggested moving the equestrian parking area to a different location on the site.
After more discussion, Vice Mayor Laura Danowski made a motion to approve the site’s infrastructure plan, adding a condition for trailer parking to be relocated and brought back to the council in another location, which carried 5-0.