Landowner Submits Plan For Homes On Polo West Golf Course

If the owner of the long-unused Polo West Golf Course gets his way, the 150-acre parcel of land will one day be the site of up to 125 new homes.

Wellington Equestrian Estates LLC last month submitted a comprehensive plan map amendment to the Village of Wellington asking to modify the land use of the existing Polo West Golf Course from Open Space Recreation to Residential C, which would allow between one and three dwelling units per acre.

According to village reports, this is expected to be followed by a master plan amendment to add up to 125 residential dwelling units, and a site plan amendment to permit residential uses on the property.

According to Planning, Zoning & Building Director Tim Stillings, 125 homes is the maximum number. He has seen several different variations, with a low of 80 units to a high of 125 units. That number will not be specified until the master plan amendment is submitted.

“Right now, all we have in terms of an application is the comprehensive plan future land use amendment,” Stillings said. “We are waiting on an application for the master plan amendment because it is in the Wellington PUD. That will solidify the number of units that will be requested.”

As of now, no public hearings have been scheduled to discuss the proposal, since Wellington rules require both parts to run concurrently. “Until we receive the master plan amendment, we can’t schedule it,” Stillings said, noting that at this point, no village meetings on the issue will be held before the end of 2022.

Located north of South Shore Blvd. and east of Greenveiw Shores Blvd., Polo West was originally known as the Greenview Cove Golf Course. It was later purchased by Palm Beach Polo CEO Glenn Straub, who changed the name. However, it has not been run as an active golf course for at least a decade.

The most recent redevelopment proposal for Polo West was submitted by Staub in 2017. At that time, he requested changing the designation on the land from being a golf course to a more expansive form of commercial recreation, which would have allowed more equestrian events and other field sports on the land. Straub also asked for an additional access point from Greenview Shores Blvd. concurrent with the entrance to Wellington High School. The Wellington Village Council unanimously rejected those changes.

Since that time, Straub has sold the land. Well-known veterinarian Dr. Scott Swerdlin, founder of the Palm Beach Equine Clinic, is the current owner of the property, and Swerdlin is listed as the contact for this latest proposal.

Swerdlin hosted listening sessions with residents in early 2020, during which he proposed residential use for the land. However, no redevelopment application was submitted at that time.

Agent Jon Schmidt of the planning firm Schmidt Nichols submitted the comprehensive plan map amendment to the village on Oct. 5 on behalf of Swerdlin’s company, Wellington Equestrian Estates LLC.

The 2017 proposal brought out overwhelming opposition from neighbors. It remains to be seen how the new proposal fares.

Stillings said that residential could be considered an appropriate use for the land, but that would be for the council to decide.

“Single family is not an incompatible use as to what is around it, but we will need to see what the impact would be on our infrastructure and how we mitigate that potential impact,” Stillings said. “This golf course, among others in Wellington, is part of the Wellington PUD, and part of the open space in the community. We need to evaluate what this change would do to our overall inventory.”

There are bound to be objections to this type of change, he added.

“There is always going to be some pushback to that,” Stillings said, adding that a few residents have inquired as to the status of the application, and a handful of web site comment forms have come in with objections.