The Real Deal Miami

It’s preservationists vs. developers in row over farmland

Battle lines drawn in fight over Palm Beach County's Agricultural Reserve
March 24, 2014 04:30PM

Palm Beach County’s Agricultural Reserve

Palm Beach County’s Agricultural Reserve

Preservationists and developers are butting heads over Palm Beach County’s Agricultural Reserve, 22,000 acres of farmland.

Tomorrow, the Palm Beach County Governmental Center will consider allowing more commercial development on the site, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“It’s just time to sit down and take a look at it,’’ said County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger, who called for the workshop in December. “I’m not saying we should develop and I’m not saying we should not develop. I’m saying we need to have dialogue about it.’’

Preservations worry that the talks could lead to violation of a 1999 voter-approved referendum to spend $100 million on 2,400 acres of farmland, which the county leases back to farmers.

Some farmers want to cash out and sell their land to developers, however.

“I’m hoping the county commission will listen to my clients because they are really the stakeholders in this,’’ attorney Mark Perry said. Perry represents about 20 farmers and nursery owners who are interested in selling a portion of their land. [PBP]Christopher Cameron