Developer withdraws request for covered arenas in Wellington equestrian neighborhood

Article Courtesy of  The Palm Beach Post

By Kristina Webb   

Published November 15, 2020


WELLINGTON — A proposal for covered arenas in a Wellington equestrian community has been withdrawn.

The Village Council tentatively approved the application to allow roofs over equestrian rings in Winding Trails in July, although officials asked planners and the developers, Tricia Holloway and Jim Ward of W&W Equestrian Club LLC, to do more public outreach and bring renderings for the second and final review.

In an Oct. 1 email to Wellington’s planning department, Holloway said she was withdrawing the application that would have created a zoning text amendment allowing covered arenas in the neighborhood on the northeast corner of Aero Club Drive and Greenbriar Boulevard.

“Thank you so much for your help, please call me if you have any questions,” Holloway wrote in the brief email. She did not return a request for comment from The Palm Beach Post.

Winding Trails was a former executive golf course that sat inactive for years before W&W Equestrian Club purchased and proposed development there.

The project faced opposition from neighbors and challenges to its approval as it moved through Wellington’s development process in 2016 and 2017. Holloway conducted extensive public outreach, going door to door and meeting with nearby homeowners associations to negotiate and discuss the project.

Officials were so impressed by Holloway’s work that they have referred to it as an example to follow for subsequent proposed development projects.

But council members in July expressed concern that not enough public outreach had been done with the proposal to add covered arenas.

“This was the greatest community outreach I’ve ever seen,” Councilman Michael Drahos said, later adding, “We are woefully short of that tonight.”

Because the application requested to change the zoning text and not the zoning itself, signs were not required on the property and letters were not required to be sent to properties within 500 feet of the project, the village staff said at the July meeting.

The proposal met all requirements for approval of a zoning text amendment, Wellington development review coordinator Cory Lyn Cramer said.

At the July council meeting, there was one comment in opposition and several supporting, including people under contract for properties in Winding Trails who said they would like their already approved arenas to be covered.

The original plans for Winding Trails did not include roofs over arenas as a concession to neighbors, Cramer said.

Two village boards reviewed the project before the council, with both voting to recommend approval: the Equestrian Preserve Committee voted 5-2 in favor on June 3, and the Planning Zoning and Adjustment Board voted unanimously June 10.