Wellington Council Drops Plan To Pave Portion Of 50th Street

The Wellington Village Council.

With Hurricane Nicole threatening Florida’s east coast, the Wellington Village Council held a brief meeting on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 9. At the meeting, the council approved a number of time-sensitive consent agenda items but postponed all public hearings to the council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Items postponed to the Dec. 13 meeting included: a comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning for the Lotis II parcel on State Road 7, changes to Wellington’s rules regarding cell towers and a master plan amendment to allow a home at 977 Cindy Drive in the Little Ranches neighborhood.

After approving the consent agenda, Village Manager Jim Barnes gave council members a brief update on storm preparations, noting that Wellington was prepared for Nicole’s arrival. However, the storm came ashore on the Treasure Coast and did not pose much danger here in central Palm Beach County.

Among the consent agenda items approved was a decision to indefinitely postpone plans to pave an approximately one-half-mile section of 50th Street South between Ousley Farms Road and South Road near the Wellington Classic Estates neighborhood.

Acting as the Acme Improvement District Board of Supervisors, the council supported staff’s recommendation to withdraw the proposed plan of improvements and revised engineer’s report for the 50th Street Unit of Development.

Last year, Wellington responded to a landowners’ request to form the unit of development to serve about 119 acres, including Wellington Classic Estates on the south side of 50th Street and a 59-acre parcel on the north side. That started the ball rolling on the paving plan, which was to continue with the approval of the engineer’s report.

The council postponed that approval in September when equestrian landowner Mark Bellissimo, who owns the 59-acre parcel, objected to the funding scheme, which would have had him pay for half of the project.

Deputy Village Manager Tanya Quickel told the Town-Crier after the meeting that the decision to shelve the work was due less to Bellissimo’s objections and more to the rising costs of the project.

“Unfortunately, in this economic environment, the prices have escalated,” Quickel said. “We started working on this over a year ago with the residents. Since then, the engineer’s cost estimates have essentially doubled. It is no longer feasible for a small group of residents at this point in time.”

The decision was made by village staff after further discussions with the residents of Wellington Classic Estates.

“They discussed their concerns about the rising costs, and it was much more than they initially planned on,” Quickel said. “That is where staff took it under consideration and withdrew our recommendation to move forward.”

The residents may request that the work be considered during the village’s regular budgeting process.

“It is certainly an option for that, but I don’t know how viable that is,” Quickel said regarding the village picking up the cost.

She added that in the future, the village may be able to find other funding opportunities, such as grants, for the work.

“Until then, 90 percent of the road design is done, and that will just sit, and the unit of development has been formed, and that will also just sit,” Quickel said.