Wellington Council Postpones Vote On The Islepointe Residential Project

The Wellington Village Council.

The Wellington Village Council took an initial step this week to allow one set of new homes near 120th Avenue South while postponing consideration of another plan, amid debate about whether roads and sidewalks are sufficient to handle it on the village’s south end.

At a meeting Tuesday, May 28, Mayor Michael Napoleone expressed concerns about a proposal to put 27 homes on land that has no sidewalk connections to the rest of Wellington. It sits on 10 acres at the northeast corner of 50th Street South and 120th Avenue South.

“I don’t want to approve a car-only community,” Napoleone said.

The land, which sits at the southwest corner of the Isles at Wellington community was previously zoned for commercial equestrian activities that never came about. Called Islepointe, it is part of the Orange Point Planned Unit Development.

Sidewalks and paths for bicycles and children to walk to schools have represented a signature emphasis in most of Wellington, though in this case, the property is somewhat walled off from other residences by a wide landscape barrier.

The applicant, SIWBG2 LLC, seeks a land-use change from commercial to residential, with up to three homes per acre. After discussions, representatives, including agent Jerrod Purser, signaled they were willing to put off a vote to work on solutions for various issues. The council agreed 5-0 to take the item up again on Tuesday, June 25.

One challenge is finding places to put sidewalks or multi-modal paths in this part of the village, or for that matter, turn lanes to widen roads.

In spots, answers may involve culverts, or built-up areas over canals. Still, the cost for such projects could run into seven figures, officials said.

Who pays what share of that is likely to remain a topic of discussion going forward.

Neighboring residents asked council members to look at a bigger picture.

“No one is taking a larger look at how does all of this come together,” said resident Kevin Turner, who lives near the proposed developments.

He called it an “ad hoc” approach where smaller development proposals might seem reasonable enough on their own, but together, add up to more congestion and safety issues than the village has acknowledged and addressed.

Another nearby resident, equestrian Maureen Brennan, agreed.

“The density is far too high, and there’s no ability to safely walk or bike to school,” she said.

The prospective homes would land on pockets of territory once zoned for something else, but now emerge as coveted space for home builders in a mostly built-out village.

Similar issues arose with Pulte Home Company LLC, though it proceeded through a first step in its process at the meeting. Pulte wants to build 42 single-family homes on 22 acres it arranged to buy from the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach, near the existing St. Therese De Lisieux Catholic Church close to the southeast corner of Lake Worth Road and 120th Avenue South.

The council gave unanimous approval on first reading for a land-use change from church-related functions, such as schools or day care, to residential. The plan requires a second approval and master plan amendments, probably in June.  

Again, paths and sidewalks came up, particularly safe road crossings for school children. Several council members said they wanted to hear more about those issues.

Wellington is considering several possible road projects in the area, including a roundabout involving 120th Avenue South, but these are not yet in formal village budgets.

In other business, Wellington wants builders to pay a new “public facilities impact fee,” in addition to existing charges for parks, recreation and multi-modal paths.

A unanimous vote on second reading by the council on May 28 sets up a new stream of money to help pay for new or expanded public facilities, which in the recent past have included things like enhanced village offices and an amphitheater. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office facilities and public works buildings have been mentioned as possible upcoming projects that could benefit from the fee.

A study presented to the village in January set recommended fees as $1,250 per new single-family home and $935 for each multi-family housing unit.

The analysis by Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc. also set rates for non-residential construction: $0.74 per square foot of industrial space, $906 per hotel room, $1.63 per square foot for office space, and $3.87 per square foot for commercial and retail space, among others.

The study set projections based on what it understood to be village needs by 2033.

The population, now a little under 75,000, could grow to about 79,100 in a decade, researchers calculated. The impact fee is designed to capture the cost of facilities and services to care for more people.

The new fee would apply to builder applications filed on or after Oct. 1, 2024.