County Commission To Consider Fleming Amendment

The Palm Beach County Commission will consider the transmittal of a privately initiated amendment on Wednesday, Nov. 3 that would increase the allowed density on the Fleming property, located just east of Arden near 20-Mile Bend on Southern Blvd. within the Glades Area Protection Overlay.

The transmittal will include a connector road from the future Okeechobee Blvd. extension to Southern Blvd., but residents of Loxahatchee Groves say they are concerned about the effect on local traffic of the future Okeechobee Blvd. extension itself.

Mayor Robert Shorr said he plans to attend the meeting to express his opposition on behalf of residents. “As mayor of the town, I don’t support it,” Shorr said. “I think it’s just going to increase more traffic cutting through the middle of our town.”

He said the town has no standing in the transmittal of the increased density request, since the property is not contiguous to Loxahatchee Groves, but he is very concerned about the Okeechobee Blvd. extension.

“It’s going to give the county more justification to widen Okeechobee in the future,” Shorr said. “I’m against widening Okeechobee in the middle of our town. I don’t support the extension of Okeechobee Blvd., and I don’t think it’s necessary.”

The Palm Beach County Planning Commission on Oct. 1 unanimously recommended transmittal of the amendment request to increase the density from one unit per 10 acres to two units per acre. Initiation would be the first step in the process for the county to consider a request for 892 units on the 446-acre Fleming property, which is part of the Glades Area Protection Overlay, along with Arden and other properties in the area.

At the Oct. 1 meeting, Palm Beach County Planner Bryce Van Horn explained that the Arden zoning was the result of the county’s preventing the Village of Wellington from annexing any property north of Southern Blvd. in order to protect the Everglades Agricultural Area to the west and prevent encroachment by urban or suburban uses.

“This request would be for a text amendment to revise the protection overlay to expand eastward to incorporate the subject site,” Van Horn said. “Also, concurrently, they are proposing a zoning change from the current agricultural residential zoning district to either a planned unit development, which is similar to what Arden has, or residential single family.”

The applicant also produced a thoroughfare improvement map with a connector road between the future Okeechobee Blvd. extension and Southern Blvd. to run concurrent with the applicant’s proposed amendment, Van Horn said.

“This doesn’t propose any new policy concepts,” he explained. “It’s confined to the Glades Area Protection Overlay… and also provides an opportunity for the board to consider the connector road concurrently with the proposed amendment.”