Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Myth vs. FACT about the Ag Reserve by a former Palm Beach County Commissioner

You can read the entire article by former Commissioner Shelly Vana* in the July 14th edition of The Lake Worth Herald. Below is an excerpt—Myth vs. FACT:

Myth – The County’s $150,000,000 bond referendum purchased the entire Ag Reserve.
FACT – The County originally invested about $110,000,000 into the Ag Reserve and purchased 2,530 acres and over 40 million dollars was used to buy 3,610 acres of environmentally sensitive lands outside the Ag Reserve (northern Palm Beach County).

Myth – The County has allowed too many homes to be constructed in the Ag Reserve.
FACT – The Master Plan contemplated that approximately 14,000 new units would be constructed in the Ag Reserve. This did not include the 1,385 homes that existed or were approved before the creation of the Master Plan.

Myth – The Ag Reserve was supposed to be off limits to building.
FACT – Builders are required to preserve 1½ acres of land for every acre they want to build on therefore, developments have been the engine and the reason that additional land has been set aside for preservation.

Myth – No residential developments are allowed west of 441.
FACT – Residential communities are allowed to be built west of 441, but building can only take place on 20% of the site and 80% would be preserved.

Myth – If the County allows any rule changes there could be a shortage of fresh vegetable during the winter months.
FACT – Most farmers grow on significantly more acreage outside the Ag Reserve then they do inside the Ag Reserve . . . Farmers have estimated that approximately 70,000 peppers can be grown on a single acre of land and 95% of what they grow is not consumed in Palm Beach County. In fact fifty percent of food grown in the USA is wasted – never eaten by humans, according the information presented by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putman.

*District 3 Commissioner Vana was term-limited this year and could not run for re-election. Dave Kerner ran for that seat and won in a landslide. In the primary he beat Drew Martin in another landslide victory.