The Politics Of Planning In Florida's Citrus Groves

Local residents of rural Palm Beach County learned how growth management laws and grass-roots opposition to a 10,000 unit major development can be trumped by lobbyists in the state capital.
August 18, 2006, 7am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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With citrus on the decline, the owners of the Callery-Judge Groves in western Palm Beach County went to Tallahassee for a special law to allow a 10,000 unit 'new town' in a remote area where only 400 homes would have been allowed otherwise.

Local residents oppose the development because it will not only overwhelm rural roads with traffic, but will also open the door to thousands of homes on other groves and pastures. Already this month, the developers of Indian Trail Groves, 5,000 acres just west of Callery-Judge, increased their proposal from about 4,000 homes to more than 12,000.

"There is not going to be anything left but asphalt," said community activity Nancy Gribble of the unincorporated village of Loxahatchee.

State Senator Rod Smith, a candidate for governor, was one of the leading supporters of the Callery-Judge bill, but said he supported it because of the potential to help other growers stay in business.

The new law will allow major projects in remote areas, despite the current growth management laws already on the books.

Thanks to Sheryl Stolzenberg

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Published on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 in Sun-Sentinel
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