By Jill Fox
This summer, more than 150 Parkland residents voiced their concerns via emails to the city commission about the plans for development in an area located at the edge of Loxahatchee Road.
Called “Gator Acres” by owner and developer Brian Tuttle, the land, which borders the Everglades, is one of the last remaining pieces of vacant land and is causing alarm for residents in the vicinity.
In June, the city opposed the proposed land use plan (see below), which put over 100 apartments on the nearly five-acre property. But, the land in question resides in unincorporated Broward County, not Parkland.
The residents believe the property should be annexed into Parkland, like previous parcels in the area.
There were three main concerns presented by the residents: the potential safety issues from added traffic on Loxahatchee Road, the mid to high-rise buildings, and styles that do not adhere to the current look and feel of the nearby homes, and the possible overcrowding of schools due to the overdevelopment and lack of infrastructure.
Norman Marcus, a Broward resident for 45 years, said he and his wife moved to The Four Seasons at Parkland because they were fed up with traffic congestion.
Commissioner Stacy Kagan, who serves District 1 — closest to Gator Acres, said the goal is for the land to be annexed back into Parkland to have as much control as possible over potential development.
She has been speaking with residents in the surrounding communities to educate them and said their input had made a difference.
“I feel like this will be a positive outcome because the lines of communication have been opened, and the residents were crucial in getting the conversation started,” she said.
Her goals are for lower density and for the development to have the same look and feel of what Parkland should be.
The majority of the emails came from residents of Parkland Bay and The Four Seasons at Parkland; however, Heron Bay and Watercrest were represented as well.
Four Seasons resident Jerry Sobel wrote that it didn’t make sense to have a very small portion of the wedge be Broward County administered land when the overwhelming part is in Parkland.
“We all make mistakes from time to time, but the commission has the last opportunity to do what makes sense now,” he wrote.
Residents Miriam and Phil Comer wrote, “Had we known that more traffic and a delay of the road construction were going to be happening, rest assured, we would not have moved to Parkland.”
The next step in the process is for Tuttle to go before the Broward Planning Council on September 17.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.