Wellington Finalizes Pedestrian Network, Housing Assistance

The Wellington Village Council gave final approval Tuesday, March 22 to amend its comprehensive plan to update the existing pedestrian network map, update the bicycle lanes map, add a multi-modal pathways map and reorder other existing maps in the comp plan’s mobility element.

Assistant Planning, Zoning & Building Director Michael O’Dell said the village had recently received letters of approval from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council since the council’s first hearing on the ordinance Feb. 22.

O’Dell said that at the council’s direction, village staff had removed plans for a canal crossing at the C-1/C-24 Canal and removed a multimodal pathway through the Palm Beach Point neighborhood between the C-1 and C-2 canals.

Mayor Anne Gerwig explained that the maps are long-range goals for the village and improve the village’s chances of obtaining grants to help fund the projects.

O’Dell said that village staff would be updating the plan every five years.

“We will move forward with our plan of improving our pathways and improving our trails within the village,” he said.

Vice Mayor John McGovern made a motion to approve the ordinance, which carried 5-0.

In other business, the council approved the final reading of an ordinance that would obtain federal and state funds to aid homeowners in home maintenance through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s State Housing Initiatives Program (SHIP).

Wellington is projected to receive about $414,125 annually for three fiscal years, for a total of $1.24 million.

Wellington SHIP, as outlined in the Local Housing Assistance Plan, would assist an estimated six owner-occupied rehabilitations, eight emergency household repairs and 11 tenants with rental assistance. 

O’Dell said the ordinance establishes a local housing trust fund and an affordable housing advisory committee, whose members will include one council member and others who are actively engaged as a for-profit provider of affordable housing, actively engaged as a not-for-profit provider of affordable housing, actively engaged as a real estate professional in connection to affordable housing, actively serving on the local planning agency, a citizen who resides in the jurisdiction, a person who represents employees within the jurisdiction, and one who represents essential services personnel, such as firefighters or sheriff’s deputies, nurses or public works staff.

“This group of people will provide advice to us as we move forward,” O’Dell said, adding that if the council approved the ordinance that evening, money could become available in July.

Gerwig pointed out that if the village had not established the program, that portion of money would have become available to county residents in general.

“I know it’s a lot of work for your department, and I appreciate that, but it’s money that’s coming back to the community that would otherwise be lost,” she said.

Councilman Michael Drahos made a motion to approve the ordinance, which carried 5-0.