Jupiter community withdraws cash-and-land offer to build on conserved acres

The Bear's Club had requested that the county lift an easement blocking home construction on 15 acres of the Jupiter community's property

Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus

A north Palm Beach County residential community founded by golfer Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara withdrew its bid to remove a conservation easement and allow home construction.

Bear’s Club, an invitation-only residential community in Jupiter with about 80 homes, a golf course and clubhouse is also habitat for such endangered species as the gopher tortoise.

Bear’s Club wanted to build as many as eight homes on 15 acres it owns, but the plan was precluded by a 1993 conservation easement barring development.

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In exchange for lifting the easement, Bear’s Club offered Palm Beach County a $1 million donation to a county fund for maintenance of natural areas. Bear’s Club also offered to donate other another site spanning 20 acres for habitat conservation.

County commissioners, who had been expected to vote Oct. 16 on the proposed swap, received more than 100 emails from residents who opposed the proposal.

Opponents circulated a petition on the Change.org website called “NO to Jack Nicklaus Land Swap.” The Audubon Everglades organization and the Sierra Club’s Loxahatchee also opposed the proposal. [Palm Beach Post]Mike Seemuth