NewsProtecting Paradise


Wellington City Council denies zoning change near mall for development

Two weeks ago water district refused to release builder from conservation easement
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Posted at 7:06 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 19:06:41-04

WELLINGTON, Fla. — The Wellington Village Council has denied a request to rezone two parcels of land on designated wetlands near Wellington Mall for development.

On Tuesday, the board voted 3-2 against a Wellington Green Order Amendment and Wellington Green Comprehensive Plan Amendment regarding parcels of 17.62 acres from conservation and 25.96 acres from residential both to commercial/large scale mixed use.

On March 11, the South Florida Management District's Governing board voted 2-2 on a request by builder Brefrank Inc., to not be bound to a 1997 conservation easement on land west of the Mall at Wellington Green. The tie vote means a change isn't approved.

And they determined the fate of the parcel should be decided by Wellington officials.

Although the parcels are in designated wetlands, Brefrank, one of two original developers of the Wellington mall, says the area now includes exotic plants and isn't receiving water that made it a wetland before farmland surrounded it, then homes and stores.

Brefrank had promised to clean up 8.9 acres of wetland adjacent to the proposed apartments and purchase 10 acres of freshwater forested wetlands east of Lake Okeechobee.

In 2019, Brefank originally sought the change but his application was put on hold.

However, an application for the 185 multi-family units to expand the Axis apartment complex was recommended for approval by the planning and zoning board in 2019. The council has not voted on this request.

Environmentalists had attended the water and council hearings.

"This mall is called Wellington Green, Wellington Green Mall," Drew Martin, conversation chair of the Sierra Club Loxhatchee Group, said at the meeting, according to the Palm Beach Post. "It's an important part of your branding. This is far more important to you as green space than as development."