Palm Beach County Commissioners Reject Changes To Acreage Road Plan

The Palm Beach County Commission.

The Palm Beach County Commission voted 7-0 late last month to reject a controversial proposal to add 140th Avenue North and 40th Street North in The Acreage to the county’s Thoroughfare Identification Map (TIM).

The TIM is a long-term planning map designed to identify roads that the county may need to take over for future expansion.

A number of Acreage, Loxahatchee and Royal Palm Beach residents and officials attended the Thursday, March 28 commission meeting to voice their opposition to the plan, which was to investigate the possibility of adding 140th Avenue and 40th Street to the TIM while removing Persimmon Blvd.

Despite assurances that the two roadways would never be more than two paved lanes, District 7 Commissioner Mack Bernard said, “If we put it in the TIM, a new commission can make changes… that could impact the residents. We can look at [traffic issues in the area] comprehensively without adding it to the TIM.”

Several commissioners quickly agreed. They also expressed concerns about taking any action on the TIM while several lawsuits related to roads in the western communities still are being ligated.

“If you put this on the TIM, then developers can rely on it,” Indian Trail Improvement District Supervisor Betty Argue told the commissioners. “This is about destroying our community for development and to save developers money.”

ITID provides roads, drainage and parks to some 50,000 residents in the semi-rural area.

District 6 Commissioner Sara Baxter, who lives just off 40th Street North, said she requested the changes to the TIM so that traffic flows in the area could be studied by county staff. Additionally, removing Persimmon from the TIM would ensure that the county could not use the 80-foot right-of-way it already holds there to create a five-lane thoroughfare through the heart of The Acreage, she said.

In the end, however, Baxter made a motion that 140th and 40th be taken out of consideration and that Persimmon be removed from the TIM. The motion died for lack of a second, leaving the current TIM unchanged.

Baxter and ITID officials agree on one thing — the best option for relieving some congestion on local roads and giving Westlake residents a long-promised east-west outlet is 60th Street North. The road, which is paved in some areas and dirt in others, belongs to Palm Beach County and runs beside the M Canal from 140th to State Road 7 and could accommodate five paved lanes.

Minto is negotiating with the county to build a two-mile extension to 60th Street from 140th west to Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. The extension would run along the northern edge of Westlake, but it is not without opposition within the Westlake community.

“We need traffic relief,” Baxter said this week. “I was trying to provide a solution that would not have a large amount of traffic driving through the middle of our community [on Persimmon].”

However, J. Michael Burman, road attorney for ITID, called the proposed TIM changes an attempt by Minto to gain a secondary east-west road connection aside from 60th Street.

Opposition to the plan was vocal and sometimes emotional.

During public comments, Acreage resident Veronica Meeks fought tears while asking the commissioners to protect her way of life.

“It’s easy for people in Westlake to demand we open our roads for their comfort… and that we lose our way of life so they can get east 15 minutes faster, while they sit at home behind closed gates on peaceful streets that will not be altered,” Meeks said. “Making our roads corridors for Westlake will destroy our way of life.”

Several Westlake residents were as firm in their belief that their community deserves more access to major streets than only Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, which runs north and south connecting Southern and Northlake boulevards.

Gayle Kesselman of Westlake told commissioners that Acreage residents have shown no willingness to compromise.

“They didn’t want us here. They don’t want us his here, but we are here… and more people are going to be here,” she said. “[Westlake] is growing by leaps and bounds.”

Westlake Councilman Gary Werner, speaking as a private citizen, told the board, “Your [county] planner identified Westlake as a hub. If it is a hub, it needs spokes. The spokes would be the roadways.”

In other road-related matters:

  • Lawyers for ITID and Minto Communities/the Seminole Improvement District made final arguments Monday, April 1 before Circuit Judge Richard Oftedal in a suit filed by Minto/SID in 2020 seeking to connect a Westlake road to 140th Avenue North near Persimmon Blvd. Oftedal issued a preliminary judgment in October rejecting the request. Burman said he expects a swift ruling from Oftedal, perhaps as early as this week. Whatever the ruling, it is likely to be appealed.
  • West Palm Beach attorney Christopher Mills said Tuesday that he expects to file a lawsuit next week on behalf of big-rig owners now living in The Acreage and parking their trucks at their homes. On Feb. 22, the county commission rejected a proposal from Baxter to allow two semis on any residential lot in The Acreage. Trucker homeowners were given until July 1 to find parking elsewhere for their rigs or to file legal action.
  • On Saturday, April 6, there will be an informational meeting for truckers at the Acreage branch library (15801 Orange Blvd.), Natalia Melian, one of the leaders of the “Save Our Truckers” group, said Wednesday. A session in English will be held at 10:30 a.m., and one in Spanish will take place at 11:30 a.m. Melian said that she and a number of trucker homeowners have been meeting with representatives of the county’s Planning, Zoning & Building Department in hopes of working out a solution. “But it’s complicated,” she said.


  1. Westlake should have planned better, and should have been honest with the prospective customers about the lack of roads. And yes we didnt want westlake here in such volume.
    Have Lox groves six lane okeechobee blvd it is a heavily traveled road and needs to be expanded.

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