SUN SENTINEL: How Palm Beach County might waste $100 million, and more

Sun Sentinel: Written by Randy Schultz. June 27, 2017.

The biggest threat yet has emerged to the trust that Palm Beach County voters placed in their elected officials nearly two decades ago.

In 1999, voters approved $100 million for the purchase of land to stabilize the Agricultural Reserve Area west of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. It is the last coastal farming region in South Florida — productive, diverse and nearly immune from freezes.

It was understood the reserve would include some development. The master plan allowed two shopping centers. The promise, though, was that the county commission would not tip the reserve far enough toward suburbia that agriculture would become incompatible with the Agricultural Reserve Area.

Unfortunately, successive commissions have approved change after change to the original rules. Collectively, those changes have placed the reserve at greater risk. But the new proposal, according to Everglades Law Center attorney Lisa Interlandi, would "kick open the door" for development to drive out farming.

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