Article is courtesy of The Palm Beach Post
After months of preparation and four hours Tuesday of presentations, comments from more than 40 residents and a contentious debate, Wellington Council members voted 2-1 at around midnight to reject the six proposals submitted to buy and develop K-Park.
Mayor Bob Margolis, with support from Councilman Matt Willhite, said he did not want to see the 70 acres at the corner of Stribling Way and SR 7 sold for development.
Willhite said voting to keep the property a park “doesn’t mean we still can’t come back in a week or two, have some town hall meetings” and hear more about what residents want. He drew scorn from audience members Tuesday when he said he felt residents had “contradicted” themselves through their comments at the meeting.
However, there appeared to be consensus from the more than 350 residents in attendance Tuesday, which officials said was a record turnout for a Wellington Council meeting.
The proposal from Wellington Gardens Partners was overwhelmingly the crowd favorite of the six ideas, although some residents noted they would like to see improvements made to the submitted plan.
The Wellington Gardens concept garnered many rounds of applause, a standing ovation, praise from most of the residents who spoke and endorsements from homeowners associations of several nearby neighborhoods, including Oakmont Estates, Olympia and Versailles.
Several residents chastised the council for ranking local development team Bainbridge-Brefrank as their collective top choice two weeks ago. Many residents said they opposed the 780 apartments proposed in that plan — the most residential of any of the six proposals.
It wasn’t immediately clear what Tuesday’s vote means for the future of the property, but it appeared village leaders are back at the drawing board — a place they’ve been several times before, including this same time last year.