How one community holds the key to annexation’s ‘Holy Grail’

Whichever city winds up with Hidden Key has the inside path to Lost Tree Village.

Palm Beach Gardens’ massive annexation of 1,350 acres east of Interstate 95 has spawned a fierce competition with neighboring North Palm Beach over a single, critical spit of land called Hidden Key.

Hidden Key holds another key, the key to the greatest annexation prize of them all, the gated, uber-private, golf course community, Lost Tree Village.

Possessing the 70-home waterfront community of Hidden Key brings Lost Tree Village into reach. 

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Inflatable canopy may be out at Tiger Woods-backed golf arena

TMRW Sports Group confirms it will rebuild in meeting with Palm Beach State College trustees.

The backers of a new indoor golf arena rising in Palm Beach Gardens are rethinking their commitment to an inflatable dome after a storm last week ripped the parachute-like canopy to shreds.

Meetings in the next few weeks with architects and engineers will determine if the Tiger Woods-backed TMRW Sports Group changes course and rebuilds with steel or concrete walls instead of an inflatable canopy. 

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Tiger Woods’ golf canopy shredded after power loss, high winds

Construction disaster could delay January start date for indoor golf league planned for Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens.

A shambles.

The dream of a Tiger Woods-led golf league playing by January in front of ESPN cameras under a massive air-filled dome in Palm Beach Gardens got tossed to the wind this week by the twin hits of a temporary power outage and a wicked, windy Wednesday.

The rush to complete construction of the 1,500-seat arena in time for the new indoor TMRW Golf League, or TGL, to tee off on Jan. 9 now looks impossible to meet.

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Despite opposition, annexation passes first test toward March referendum

One neighborhood vows to sue as Palm Beach Gardens pursues annexation of 8,300 residents on 1,300 acres east of Interstate 95.

They came to Palm Beach Gardens City Hall roughly 200 strong Thursday to speak against annexation.

Most left without hearing the City Council’s response.

They would have been disappointed.

The council countered neighbors’ statements, saying there was no reason for hostility or panic and the city had no hidden agenda.

Also, the annexation proposal shouldn’t come as a surprise, council members asserted, as there have been talks about annexation for decades.

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Palm Tran director dies shortly after presentation to Gardens City Council

Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton Forbes gave his final presentation Thursday night to a crowd of 200 at a Palm Beach Gardens City Council meeting. 

Most were not there to hear him explain how he was streamlining bus service in Palm Beach County. But as always in a presentation by Clinton Forbes, he got the crowd’s attention.

Forbes, 55, left the meeting in Palm Beach Gardens around 6:30 p.m. with two Palm Tran colleagues. He died later that night, apparently of a heart attack.

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Wetlands in peril: County in bidding war for Pal-Mar preserves

Private ownership, dispute over value jeopardizes county’s ability to salvage untouched properties on Martin County border.

When Palm Beach County set out to buy land in the north county wetlands known as Pal-Mar, two appraisers hired by the county independently reached the same conclusion about the land’s value: $25,000 per acre.

The county didn’t want to pay that much.

“I need your help,” county Project Manager Ben Williamson wrote to both appraisers in June 2022. “Consider a downward adjustment.”

The appraisers did what the county asked. 

To county officials, intent on buying as much land as possible with $4 million in federal money, telling its appraisers to consider other recent land sales seemed a justifiable adjustment, a “common practice,” as one official said.

To landowners who want top dollar for their land, the county’s rejection of its first appraisal mars its credibility. The appraisers didn’t work with new information when they lowered the values by about 40 percent, the landowners said. The only thing that changed, is that the appraisers relied on nearby sales that they initially had rejected.

The clash raises questions about just how far the county can go to get the best deal for taxpayers — even if it comes at the expense of landowners, many of them out-of-state residents whose families paid little for the land decades ago.  

And it underlines the flaws inherent in the appraisal process, flaws that captured national attention when unrealistic valuations laid the groundwork for the nation’s 2008 housing bust.

At risk is the county’s ability to buy and preserve hundreds of privately owned acres in northern Palm Beach County, where wetlands have flourished as the county has fended off development since the 1970s.

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