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Judge rules water ski park can't be built in West Boynton Beach

Valencia Reserve residents protested project
Jet ski park under construction in West Boynton Beach
Posted at 12:21 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 18:37:15-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Residents of a neighborhood in West Boynton Beach are celebrating after a judge ruled Thursday a water ski park cannot be built at a lake constructed in the area.

During a hearing before a grand magistrate, the county code enforcement argued the lake was built without permits and approval from the county.

The construction near West Boynton Boulevard and US 441 prompted a protest of more than 200 area residents Monday.

Residents of nearby Valencia Reserve fought the project, saying a lake was built without permits or approval from the county. They feared a water ski park was being constructed.

Competitive water skier and local businessmen Darin Montgomery applied in 2019 to build the lake for water skiing, but the project was denied.

Over the last year, the county said Montgomery built the lake on the property without any permits or approval from the county.

Darin Montgomery, water skier and businessman
Darin Montgomery, a local water skier, argued the lake would be used for fish farming, not a water ski park.

During the Thursday hearing, Montgomery's lawyer argued before a grand magistrate that the lake was never going to be used for water skiing and will now be a fish farm.

Montgomery also testified he will never use the lake for water skiing.

"This property has maintained a bonified agriculture use and is taxed accordingly," Montgomery's lawyer said.

Representatives with the county said they issued more than four stop-work orders after a home was demolished without permits and construction of the lake began.

Many of the neighbors who held Monday's protest also attended Thursday's hearing and hope the magistrate puts a final stop to the construction and use of the lake.

After hours of testimony, the grand magistrate ruled the developer cannot use the lake to water ski, and they have multiple compliances they must meet over the next six months or face several thousand dollars in fines.