Acreage shops coming despite push back

THE ACREAGE, FL (WFLX) Three minutes is how long each Acreage resident had to tell the Palm Beach County's Zoning Board how they felt about a plan to build a strip mall in their neighborhood.

Two banks, a gas station and a grocery store are part of the project.

On the clock and over many loud objections, the board listened and then decided to still put the project in. "Does the Acreage need development in certain places? Yes," Gert Kuhl who lives across the street from the property said. "In this? Absolutely not!"

If you're wondering why not, dozens came up and said so. One person told the board in three minutes how they can't have their kids walk or ride their bikes to school anymore if it comes. "It's stupid putting two lights within a block of each other is ridiculous," another resident said. 

"I'm looking at a traffic light right there on Northlake Blvd. All of us who live out there when we see a traffic light it gives us anxiety," another resident said at the podium.

"I moved out here to be away from all the booms of the city and the city following us out here," one more resident added.

Dozens spoke and they were all against the development of a gas station, two banks and more shops at the corner of Northlake and Coconut boulevard continues.

"We don't want gas stations in the Acreage," one woman said. "We realize gas stations and well water don't get along. It doesn't take a lot of gasoline spill to poison somebody's well water."

"We can't even support a Winn Dixie (Grocery store), it shut down," another woman said at the podium. "The Publix will probably be boycotted and that'll be really good too! Put them out of business."

An entire room erupted in applause after this woman said that and even still the board said people supported the project to be completed.

"The zoning advisory board supported it," District 6 County Commissioner Jess Santamaria said. "It had recommendation of Indian Trail Improvement District and it had the recommendation of the landowners."

"The people that are part of these associations are four people, and they do not represent 17,000 homes," said.

Despite push back,  the motion passed unanimously and Commissioner Santamaria said it's because he felt the group who come out and spoke in opposition were a small segment of a 45,000 population.

"But where were the people from the Acreage who support it today," Anne Kuhl said. "We didn't see them. Only saw people that opposed it."

And that's why they left angry feeling unheard.

"What's the point in staying," One resident said after the motion passed. "They aren't listening to us."

Some changers were made today to the project.  There will be additional buffering around the center, additional plants on backyards of residents on Hamlin Boulevard and commercial vehicles won't be allowed on that road either.

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