Follow up on the Planning Commsion meeting pertaining to the Ag Preserve.

A follow up on the meeting with the Palm Beach County Planning Commission.

So today I (Brendhan Horne) attended the planning commission meeting at 2300 Jog Rd (Vista Center).

The meeting started at 9am and ended a little after 1pm.

I went there as the owner of an apiary as it would be improper to represent the Palm Beach County Beekeepers association in an official capacity and this is a meeting with the planning commission. The Board of County Commissioners will meet in two weeks and that will require a lot more input.

Some notes here. The planning commission votes to make recommendations to the county on the approval or denial or development ideas. The county is not bound by those recommendations but does take them seriously.

Back in the 90's large swaths of land were purchased and designated for agriculture and preservation. Literally a barrier between the eastern part of the county and the federally protected everglades. Much of that land in addition to the government land is owned privately and used for farming, nursery's, and landscape companies. Some of them going back many decades.

Over the years due to issues with farming, development, the placement of water mains, and other issues, many of the small farmers have sold their land as it is not financially viable for them to continue to farm.

Developers have purchased these lands and used them to create housing developments. However they were forced to abide by the mandates of the ag reserve and had to limit the number of homes, the density placement, and they were forced to set aside land to maintain the preserve.

With all of this there are still many farms out there and there are many beekeepers out there who work with these farms. Myself included.

Three issues on the docket for today were developers looking to develop land and get around the restrictions. That means no preserved land, ignoring the limit on housing density, and the restrictions of what can be built there (variance).

The developers all spoke, proclaiming how great their plans were and how wonderful they would be for the community and why the restrictions were bad. Issues such as industrial business development, retail, and of course expensive housing.

Issues that were downplayed were traffic, parking, congestion, property taxes, and of course any rule that came into conflict with their plans.

Eventually public comment time came, web meeting attendees spoke, some representing environmental groups, neighborhood associations, and others spoke. I came to the podium as a public commenter.

I explained my position as the owner of an apiary that does live bee removal for the county. How this is done as a safety measure for the public and the employees of the county and because of the large amount of work done like this that I am not the only one doing it. I explained how my office is located by 95 and okeechobee, by my hives have multiple locations out west in the ag reserve. How I use to have hives behind the polo museum on lake worth and lyons but that has now been turned into a housing development. That bees from the local beekeepers help make the local fruits and vegetables we all like to eat and see on store shelves.

On the flip side several of the people who own the land looking for the exemption also spoke, explaining how farming was no longer a viable option for them. That so much development had already happened that it was for them a lost cause. I understood their plight and felt their pain.

In the end result the planning commission voted on all three items individually. The vote for all three was 12-1 to deny the exemption. So the planning commission will send a recommendation against the approval to the county. This is a good thing for beekeepers and farmers. It is however not the end.

In 2 weeks, date to be determined. The county votes and they can do whatever they want. So there will be a much more important meeting that will need to be attended with a stronger presence. Information on that to follow.

Views: 6

Reply to This

© 2022   Created by Palm Beach County Beekeepers.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service