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Bill could allow GL Homes to build on 4,900 acres in Palm Beach County

County officials and land preservationists are fighting legislation
March 23, 2015 11:15AM

A residence in GL Homes' development in West Palm Beach

A residence in GL Homes’ development in West Palm Beach

A bill in the Florida Senate could allow homebuilder GL Homes to develop a 4,900-acre patch of land in Palm Beach County — but county officials are reportedly less than enthusiastic.

The bill (SB 1244) would allow the development of unincorporated agricultural land under certain scenarios, even though local law might restrict it, a publication reported.

GL Homes owns a massive horseshoe-shaped tract of land in Palm Beach County west of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. County officials are fighting the bill to preserve their home rule, and land preservationists are protesting the development of less-populated areas in the western part of the county, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Under the current law, agricultural parcels that have been used for farming for at least five years, are 1,280 acres or less, have access to public services and are 75-percent bordered by existing or future urban development can be developed.

The new bill would eliminate the public services requirement, raise the maximum size of parcels to 6,400 acres, increase the proximity to urban development by one mile and require three-quarters of the land to be used for agriculture for three years.

An accompanying bill in Florida’s House of Representatives has been filed, but neither bill has been scheduled for committee hearings.

GL Homes recently purchased 242 acres in the county for $17.5 million. [Palm Beach Post]Sean Stewart-Muniz