South Florida Wildlands Associaton
1314 E Las Olas Blvd #2297
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
October 4, 2023
Village of Wellington Council
12300 Forest Hill Boulevard
Wellington, FL 33414
South Florida Wildlands Association (SFWA) appreciates the opportunity to provide these comments on the proposed Wellington North and South developments for your consideration. SFWA was founded in March of 2010 to protect wildlife and habitat in the Greater Everglades. We ﬁrst learned of this project from Wellington residents who were concerned about environmental impacts from the proposed development of a large tract of wetlands and open lands in their community. We agreed to look at the project and conduct an analysis of possible impacts.
Based on our research presented in this letter, we respectfully ask the Wellington Village Council to deny the applicant’s request to construct massive equestrian showgrounds and luxury homes and villas on the unique Wellington South site. We believe this project will bring an assortment of direct and indirect negative impacts to Wellington, its unique Equestrian Protection Area, its wetlands, aquifers, nearby public lands, and its wildlife. And due to a recent Supreme Court ruling (Sackett vs. EPA discussed below), the development of Wellington South could also carry implications for the way the U.S. Clean Water Act is implemented in wetlands across Florida and the entire United States.
As an integral part of land use changes being proposed for Wellington South, and as a project which itself adds severe ecological impacts to the project, we also object to the village lifting the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD) on Wellington North to allow for dense residential construction.
That change from residential to commercial future land use in Wellington South is necessary to move the equestrian showgrounds from Wellington North to Wellington South, clearing Wellington North of its existing equestrian use and allowing this same applicant a major expansion of residential development on the north site (300 residential units). However, Wellington North’s envisioned level of development would require council to eliminate the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District from that site – something we strongly believe should not take place if this unique part of South Florida is to be protected. It sets a very dangerous precedent for one of the most unique and successful zoning districts in Florida. Any developer eyeing other parts of this same area will inevitably request the same consideration and ask, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” Dense development begets more dense development – that has been the case throughout Florida’s modern history. The Wellington North and South proposals are a single complex and convoluted project that should be denied in its entirety. We will discuss this facet of the project in more detail when we return to the zoning issue.
Based on the environmental impacts outlined below, we believe both requests – the dropping of the EOZD zoning on Wellington North and the land use change from residential to commercial on part of Wellington South – should be denied by the Wellington Village Council.
South Florida Wildlands Association
This is the introduction to a 27-page report provided by the South Florida Wildlands Association.