Residents weigh in as Palm Beach Gardens seeks to annex 5 zones
Thursday night’s city council meeting on Palm Beach Gardens’ annexation plan has people debating. The annexation plan would include thousands of residents who now live in unincorporated Palm Beach County pockets.
The city is trying to incorporate five geographical areas.
In various areas of unincorporated Palm Beach County, there are hints an election of sorts is brewing.
"We are going to go up and down and have everybody sign petitions," resident Lola Hammer, said. "We want to be our own little community."
It's over Palm Beach Gardens' proposal to make five zones or groups part of the city. In Cabana Colony, resident Shanna Walker leads the charge against becoming part of Palm Beach Gardens.
"We are a workforce community," Walker said. "We have residents that live paycheck to paycheck. Even if it's just a slight increase in taxes for year one, what is going to happen in subsequent years?"
On the other end of Zone 1, near U.S. Highway 1, rental property owner Charles Hollings is also organizing opposition.
"If annexation for Zone 1 passes, (Palm Beach) Gardens has a green light to come right over the Intracoastal as I understand it for next time," Hollings said highlighting his fear that this is just the beginning. "Because there are some very lucrative neighborhoods from a tax basis now that they could reach out to."
A short drive away to the Monet Woods area, Peter Banting, a retiree, who said he worked for Palm Beach County for 35 years, believes this annexation is positive.
"The first being roadway maintenance, we have nobody taking our road," Banting said. "The other is to have a voice at the local level being right here in Palm Beach Gardens for the projects and the different things going on all around us."
A representative for the city of Palm Beach Gardens said the next steps include a second public hearing on Dec. 6 at the city council. If that passes, the city said, the items will be on the March 19, 2024, ballot for residents to vote on. WFLX asked the city for an interview, which was declined. Instead, the city referred WFLX to its website.
On the website, it said, "Most property owners across the annexation areas would save money and receive improved public safety, storm/emergency response, infrastructure and recreation services."
It also details how the vote would take place, stating, "If the majority of each area's voters choose to annex, the area becomes part of Palm Beach Gardens. If they decide against annexation, everything stays the same as it is now."
A man, who didn't want to show his face on camera, said he believed annexation would be a win for Cabana Colony, bringing more amenities and resources.
"I'm all for it," he said. "I want more police, better code enforcement. It will make this place a better, safer place to live."
Scripps Only Content 2023