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Gated Golf Communities Balk at Neighborhood Ballpark Plan

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Copyright 2013 The Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Palm Beach Post (Florida)
October 30, 2013 Wednesday
FINAL EDITION
LOCAL & BUSINESS; Pg. 1B
318 words
Old Palm lobbyist to fight stadium;
Golf club community's association also plans to hire land-use lawyer.
By Willie Howard Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

While some residents of the Shady Lakes and Bent Tree communities sign petitions against the proposed spring training baseball complex off Central Boulevard, homeowners in the luxury Old Palm Golf Club community west of Central Boulevard are hiring professional help.

Old Palm Foundation Inc., the community's homeowners association, has hired lobbyist Don Mathis to argue their case against the spring training complex, which they fear would bring unwanted noise, light, traffic and security problems to the gated golf community, where most homes sell for more than $1 million.

Mathis said he will work to educate Old Palm homeowners about the spring training proposal and to make their case -- essentially that they support keeping spring training baseball in Palm Beach County but not at the proposed location east of Central Boulevard.

"You can't embed a Major League Baseball complex in the middle of a number of housing developments," Mathis said.

Old Palm homeowners also are looking for a land-use attorney to argue their case against the proposed spring training complex for the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays.

As proposed, the $100 million complex would include a stadium on the east side of the property, near Interstate 95, and a dozen practice fields flanked by grass parking areas west and south of the stadium.

Whether Old Palm homeowners would sue over the stadium proposal will be decided after consultation with the attorney, said Mark Auerbach, a board member of the Old Palm homeowners association who recently distributed a letter to residents opposing the complex.

Auerbach said he worries that other uses for the spring training complex could bring noise and traffic to the area year-round, even though spring training only lasts about six weeks.

"What's to stop them from doing a rock concert?" Auerbach said. "That path is a very slippery path."

whoward@pbpost.com Twitter: @PBPostWillie

October 30, 2013

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