Petition wants vote on PBSC west campus; Council worries about costs

Petition asks public to vote on PBSC west campus

LOXAHATCHEE GROVES, Fla. - What's now a site full of overgrown trees off Southern Boulevard and B Road Is soon expected to be a new Palm Beach State College campus.

A group of residents in Loxahatchee Groves is saying, not so fast though, and has started a petition.

"We want it in the area," Thais Gonzalez said. "Just not in Loxahatchee Groves."

Gonzalez said the campus and the surrounding proposed commercial property are a threat to her small town life.

Now she's collecting 210  signatures opposing the campus.

With that, she could get a referendum which would allow taxpayers to vote on the issue.

We asked her how many signatures she already collected and she wouldn't tell us.

"I really don't want to give a number now because I think that's for us to know," she said. "I have  to say that we're doing very good."

Town council member Ron Jarriel said council has already held public hearings on the issue.

Jarriel said a referendum will cost about $10,000 and worries what message the idea of a referendum will send.  
"I personally don't even want to take a chance," he said. "It makes the town look bad and it makes the college think twice about why are people giving us such a hard time?"

A document obtained by NewsChannel 5 from the college's lawyers said if the residents do bring it to a vote and win, the town will have to reimburse the school for the land.

That's $4.5 million and council members estimate that would cost each property owner about $4,800 extra during the next five years.

When we asked Gonzalez about this her response was, "First of all, I don't know where that information is coming from. I heard some rumor about it and if it's true we'll see and again if that is the case then it's up to the people of Loxahatchee Groves to decide."

Council members met at 7 Tuesday night.

The mayor of the town said if they were able to start the petition then they'd need 210 signatures in 60 days for a referendum to be created.

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