Palm Beach Gardens pitches massive annexation

City could grow by more than 10 percent if neighboring residents agree in March referendum.

Palm Beach Gardens rolled out a massive and ambitious effort Tuesday to annex more than 1,350 acres containing more than 8,300 residents, a move that ultimately would be decided by voters after a potentially divisive campaign.

The city has sliced the properties, all east of Interstate 95, into five zones. A majority of residents in each zone would have to vote yes on the March 19 ballot for their respective zone to enter the city.

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Total rebuild proposed for PGA Marina

Marina owner Port 32 proposes three new buildings, eased entry road for River House restaurant.

The marina at the foot of the PGA Boulevard bridge is in line for an $80 million overhaul.

For boaters, it means 57 more dry storage docks, a 15 percent expansion. And, to satisfy neighbors worried about the way exposed boats look, nearly all the boats will be indoors, some stacked on racks five levels high.

For patrons of the neighboring River House restaurant, it means an end to the confusing entry road it shares with the marina. A new road dedicated to the restaurant will run along the property’s north side.

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‘We want to help:’ D.R. Horton explains $650,000 payment

While the Rustic Lakes Property Owners Association took the money, many residents remain opposed to plan for 111 townhomes on Northlake Boulevard.

The lawyer for one of the nation’s largest homebuilders drew derisive laughter Thursday as he explained a $650,000 payment to a homeowner’s board at a Palm Beach Gardens City Council meeting.

Brian Seymour, attorney for D.R. Horton, said the developer had made many concessions to the Rustic Lakes Property Owners Association but in the end the association had needs that concessions just couldn’t meet.

“So, in addition … there is some monetary payment that goes to them being able to fix some of the problems that they have,” Seymour said. 

“We want to help our neighbors,” he concluded, drawing laughter from opponents who made up the bulk of a crowd of about 90 at the meeting.

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Exclusive: D.R. Horton, local landowner offer community $650,000 to back townhomes

Agreement calls for Rustic Lakes Property Owners Association to get the money if Palm Beach Gardens City Council rezones site on Northlake Boulevard.

One of the country’s largest home builders and a local landowner have agreed to pay the board of a rural Palm Beach Gardens community $650,000 to withdraw its opposition to a plan to build 111 townhomes on Northlake Boulevard. 

The money would be paid only if the rezoning passes. The Palm Beach Gardens City Council is scheduled to take up the matter Aug. 3.

But not everyone in the community of Rustic Lakes supports the deal, and many residents who still oppose the development said they had no say in their board’s decision. 

“You’re trying to stack up little boxes, 111 of them, in front of a community of only 62 homes. It doesn’t fit,” resident Vanessa Saridakis said. “The majority of this community — I’m trying to find the right words — is dead set against it.”

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Gardens trims tax rate, moves proposed pickleball courts

Most homeowners won’t be paying the city more when their tax bills show up in the fall.

The rapid rise in the value of homes in Palm Beach Gardens created a happy quandary for city officials: Take in more money than spelled out in a 10-year forecast or trim the tax rate?

Staff recommended trimming the rate and on Thursday night City Council members agreed.

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The mystery man behind $29 million BallenIsles buy

Maryland biotech business owner takes control of prime parcels on PGA Boulevard at BallenIsles entrance.

He owns not one but two multimillion-dollar homes in north county.

He graduated from MIT at age 19.

He got his start running a life-sciences company with the help of his father, whose company later sued him. 

His company was selected to participate in Operation Warp Speed to respond to the COVID pandemic. He holds numerous patents. But his name does not even appear on his own company’s website. 

And now, property records show, he has paid nearly $30 million for vacant land outside one of the most prestigious addresses on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens — BallenIsles.

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How Palm Beach Gardens reached so far west

City’s recent annexation flowed from a massive annexation more than 30 years ago.

With last week’s Palm Beach Gardens City Council vote finalizing the decision to annex 300 acres along Northlake Boulevard, we look back on how Palm Beach Gardens spread so far west in the first place, a story first told on the Palm Beach Gardens Historical Society Facebook page.

What is now Avenir and the Sandhill Crane Golf Club came into the city in a 5,638-acre annexation in March 1991. 

The biggest piece was the 4,763-acre ranch owned by Charlie Vavrus, who at the time proposed a city for 42,000 residents. That land is now called Avenir, approved in 2016 for nearly 4,000 homes. And they’re rising rapidly.

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Gardens 300-acre land grab riles Acreage

Backers say move harms effort to form new village: ‘They’re basically grabbing all the commercial property.’

To Palm Beach Gardens leaders, it’s a natural step, squaring off the city’s western boundary by adding 300 acres of valuable property to the tax rolls.

To the residents who want to create a city in The Acreage, it is a near-death blow. 

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The City Council nobody voted for 

All five Palm Beach Gardens City Council members won their current seats without facing voters.

Three Palm Beach Gardens City Council members started new terms Wednesday, rounding out a council in which all five members won their current seats without a single vote cast.

Mayor Chelsea Reed and new council members Bert Premuroso and Dana Middleton assumed the seats handed to them in November when no one filed to run against them.

A year earlier, Marcie Tinsley and Carl Woods started three-year terms under the same scenario.

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Gardens taps loan to renovate Burns Road Community Center

$20 million loan to pay for work at Burns Road and widening bridge near new FPL campus, as well as 12 pickleball courts.

The 40-year-old Burns Road Community Center is in line for a $30 million renovation, one of four projects that will benefit from a loan approved by the Palm Beach Gardens City Council Thursday night. 

The council agreed to a proposal from City Manager Ron Ferris to borrow $20 million without raising taxes to pay for the improvements. 

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