Lox Council OKs Party At Paintball Park As Future Plans Loom

The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council on Tuesday, Oct. 18 approved a special event request for a Halloween-themed party at Piquet Entertainment & Race Park, better known as Paintball, on Southern Blvd. west of A Road.

The party is planned for Saturday, Oct. 29. Starting at 7 p.m., the party will run until 1 a.m. Town code requires that the facility close by midnight without the approval of a special permit.

During the discussion, the council also briefly got an update from Joni Brinkman of Urban Design Studio on Piquet’s redevelopment plans for the facility. Brinkman has been working with the new owners on the planned redevelopment of the old paintball facility into a more modern park.

When the council got an overview of the plans for the Halloween party, Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia questioned the plans for alcohol sales and wanted extra security for the party. She also wanted to know where Piquet was in regard to the redevelopment.

“Can I ask staff where they are with all their permits for their go-karts?” she asked. “I’m a little confused, because I thought that they were not in compliance, and weren’t working with the town, and now they want something from the town. And, by the way, this is a little short notice.”

Village Manager Francine Ramaglia said that the company has been in discussions with the town over the larger project, but there are some things that the town must do with its code first. It is being worked on at the staff level at this time, she said. “They have been working with the town for quite a while,” Ramaglia said. “The timeframe is dependent upon us doing a few things with our code, while they do a few things to come into compliance.”

Ramaglia also noted that the town has been in discussions with them on the Halloween party since the summer, but it took a while to get the permit documents in place. Also, if they did not require the additional hour, council approval would not have been necessary.

Vice Mayor Laura Danowski thanked the park’s representatives for coming forward and asking for permission for the extra hour, rather than having the event and then begging for forgiveness after the fact.

“I realize that this is big event, and you have thought about having private security and the PBSO,” she said. “Good luck. I hope it is a smashing success.”

Learning more about the plans for the day, there will be a Halloween party for kids from 2 to 5 p.m., followed by the evening party at 7 p.m., which is geared toward adults. It is basically a costume party with music, food and drinks, which will serve as an introduction of the park to the neighborhood and investors. Several hundred people are expected. The facility’s normal entertainment options, like paintball, will not be operational during the party.

Mayor Robert Shorr said he would support the extra hour but wanted additional security measures in the approval. He also asked that Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue evaluate the plan and that the town’s building official visit the site to ensure safety.

The permit for the extra time was approved 4-1, including Shorr’s additional conditions, with Maniglia dissenting.

Brinkman thanked the town for its support, adding that she expects to have the redevelopment plans ready shortly.

“I want to thank staff. We have been working with them for quite some time on this development,” Brinkman said. “We are excited that we have a time schedule now. We will be coming before you again with more requests for the final site plan approval and the ultimate development program.”

In other business:

• After rejecting a previous sign code variance for the Culver’s Restaurant now under construction on Southern Blvd. in the Groves Town Center project, the council unanimously approved a request for a smaller variance. The vote allows an increase of the menu board sign face from 12 square feet to 16.76 square feet, and an increase in the sign structure height from 5 feet to 5 feet, 3 inches. The council felt this request was more in line with requests granted to other restaurants with drive-throughs.

• After approving the first reading of an ordinance 3-2 earlier this month to put forward a charter amendment next March changing the signature requirements for ordinances and resolutions, allowing the mayor alone to sign the documents after they have been approved by the council, the council backtracked, and voted 3-2 to drop the proposal.

• The council agreed to hold a Veterans Day Parade & Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 5.