GL Homes Land Swap in Palm Beach Agri Reserve Moves Ahead

GL Homes Land Swap in Palm Beach Agri Reserve Moves Ahead

GL Homes President Misha Ezratti & Palm Beach County Agricultural Reserve (LILA PHOTO via GL Homes, County government of Palm Beach County, Wikimedia Commons)

Palm Beach County commissions narrowly voted to move forward with a proposal that would allow a developer to build on preserved land — but it’s far from a done deal yet.

The commission voted 4:3 on Wednesday to have county staff work with GL Homes to create a text amendment to Palm Beach County’s growth plan. The commission will vote on that amendment later this year, according to the Palm Beach Post.

In GL Homes’ latest version, the company wants to build 1,250 residential units in the Agricultural Reserve, west of Boca Raton. More than four years ago, the Sunrise-based homebuilder withdrew a controversial proposal to build 2,420 homes on the 22,000-acre farming area.

GL Homes would build on 653 acres of preserved land in exchange for 1,600 acres in Indian Trails Grove, in northwest Palm Beach County.

Commissioners Maria Marino, Melissa McKinlay, Gregg Weiss and Mayor Robert Weinroth voted in favor. Dave Kerner, Maria Sachs and Mack Bernard voted against. Weiss said he would vote against the amendment if it returns to the commission in its current form.

GL Homes also agreed to develop and possibly pay for a water resources project in Indian Trails Grove that would benefit all of Palm Beach County, the Post reported.

The agricultural reserve’s rules of development require builders to leave 60 acres untouched for every 40 acres they develop.

GL Homes is among the builders that have been active in the Agricultural Reserve, which has seen a major influx of housing development over the past few years.

Environmental groups and major civic organizations, such as the Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associates (COBWRA) oppose the plan. COBWRA submitted more than 1,500 digital signatures from people opposing the proposal in three days.

[Palm Beach Post] — Adam Farence

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