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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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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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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