ITID Sets Special Meeting To Discuss County Road Proposal

The Indian Trail Improvement will hold a special meeting Tuesday, March 12 at Acreage Pines Elementary School (14200 Orange Blvd.) where the gloves are expected to come off regarding proposed Palm Beach County changes to 140th Avenue North and 40th Street North.

The public meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. and focus on a plan to remove Persimmon Blvd. from the Palm Beach County Thoroughfare Identification Map (TIM) and add 140th Avenue North and 40th Street North. Doing so could put both roads on the path to extensive widening and a major increase in traffic volume.

ITID is charged with building and maintaining roads, drainage and parks in a large swath of area west of State Road 7 and north of Southern Blvd., including The Acreage and the area surrounding the roadways in question.

“Those are district roads, not county thoroughfares,” ITID Executive Director Burgess Hanson said this week. “They were never meant to be county thoroughfares.”

ITID Engineer Jay Foy and attorneys for the district are expected to make presentations at the Tuesday session.

Representatives from the Palm Beach County Planning, Zoning & Building staff were scheduled to present details of their plan to county commissioners Friday morning at Vista Center on North Jog Road. Indications are that 80-foot rights-of-way would be required for 40th Street from 140th Avenue to State Road 7, where a connection would have to be created; and on 140th Avenue from 40th Street North to 60th Street North.

In some cases, it would almost quadruple the size of existing two-lane roads.

District 6 County Commissioner Sara Baxter, who represents the area, said she would only support the changes to the TIM if the roads remained two lanes with a possible turning lane and 60 feet wide or less. She admitted, however, that some acquisition of homeowners’ property along the route would be necessary for the rights-of-way.

Baxter suggested that a multi-purpose path alongside the road could be part of the plan.

“I would never want us to lose our rural lifestyle,” said Baxter, an Acreage resident. “Anything done to 140th or 40th would only happen after 60th Street North is done.”

However, that day may not be that far away.

The City of Westlake’s largest developer and property owner, Minto Communities USA, is in negotiations with the county to extend 60th Street North from 140th Avenue North some two miles west to Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. That would give Westlake and Minto the east-west road access it has been seeking for years. Presently, the only major access to Westlake is north and south along Seminole Pratt Whitney between Southern and Northlake.

“I’m hoping to see something on our [county commission] agenda soon,” Baxter said regarding 60th Street. “We need a connection.”

How, where and if Minto is to connect with ITID roads has been a contentious issue for years. So much so that in 2020, Minto and the Seminole Improvement District, which provides most of the infrastructure for Westlake, sued ITID for access across a small canal onto 140th near Persimmon, which runs all the way to State Road 7.

In October, a judge entered a preliminary decision in favor of ITID and denying access to Minto. However, a connection across the same canal at 60th, a county road that also runs east to State Road 7, likely will give Westlake residents access to 140th Avenue, 40th Street, Persimmon and all connecting ITID roads.

Meanwhile, the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 28. During that meeting:

  • The board awarded a contract to Ranger Industries Inc. for $1,859,096.01 for the paving of Hamlin Blvd. from 190th Street North to Calamondin Blvd., and Hamlin from Calamondin to 180th Avenue North as part of the R-3 Road Construction Program. Each of the two sections is approximately half a mile.
  • The board invited the community to the grand re-opening celebration for Nicole Hornstein Equestrian Park, which will be held Saturday, March 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature riding exhibitions, food trucks and more. The park, located at 14780 Hamlin Blvd., east of Hall Blvd., recently underwent more than $500,000 in renovations.
  • The board heard from a representative of the accounting firm Grau & Associates that the audit of ITID’s fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023, came out clean with no modifications. “I want to thank our staff for working very hard to keep us in line and making sure the money is spent appropriately,” Supervisor Patricia Farrell said.

Hanson said that the most important aspect of the report is that it helps the district maintain its AA credit rating, “Which is very impressive considering our size and revenue.”