Purpose of the Agricultural Reserve

The Agricultural Reserve is established in the Future Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan, under Objective 1.5. The purpose of the Agricultural Reserve is to preserve unique farmland and wetlands in order to enhance agricultural activity, environmental and water resources, and open space, by limiting uses to agriculture, conservation, low density residential development, and non-residential uses which serve the needs of farmworkers and residents of the Ag Reserve Tier.

2014-2015 Workshops of the Board of County Commissioners

In March 2014, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) held a workshop to discuss issues and policies affecting the Agricultural Reserve Area, in response to requests by farmers and other property owners seeking to expand the development options available in the Agricultural Reserve.

Following that workshop, the BCC directed staff to meet with various interest groups, to prepare a "roundtable" discussion of representatives of each interest group, and to bring the results of the Roundtable process to the BCC for discussion and direction at a future workshop. Additional information regarding the roundtable process can be found here

This subsequent workshop was held in March 2015. The outcome of that workshop can be viewed here.

On July 30, 2015, the Board took action or provided further direction on several items related to the Agricultural Reserve.  (The complete agenda item for the July 30th meeting can be viewed here.

Contiguity Requirements for 60/40 Planned Development Preserves:

Summary: At the March 2015 workshop, the Board directed staff to prepare Comprehensive Plan and corresponding Unified Land Development Code amendments for Board consideration that would allow free-standing preserve areas of less than 150 acres to serve as preserves associated with Agricultural Reserve 60/40 planned residential developments. Currently preserve parcels less than 150 acres in size must to be contiguous to other preserves or conservation areas that aggregate to at least 150 acres.  At the July 30th BCC meeting, staff recommended approval these amendments.

Contiguity/Comprehensive Plan:

MOTION: Transmit Comprehensive Plan Amendment, motion by Commissioner Taylor, seconded by Commissioner Valeche passed in a 6-1 vote (with Commissioner Burdick dissenting). 

Implementation: Amendment has been transmitted to State for review as required by Statute, and a public hearing to consider adoption has been scheduled for October 26th, 2015.

Contiguity/Unified Land Development Code:

MOTION:  Motion to approve on Preliminary Reading and advertise for Adoption Hearing for ULDC amendments related to AGR Preserve Contiguity Requirements for Planned Developments passed with a vote of 4-1 (with Commissioner Burdick dissenting, Commissioners McKinlay and Valeche absent) at the July 30, 2015 BCC Public Hearing. Under Board discussion, the Board directed staff to look at possible approaches to prevent large acre preserves from being swapped for smaller preserves by establishing associated language in the Comprehensive Plan and/or Unified Land Development Code.

Implementation: A public hearing to consider adoption of the ULDC changes related to contiguity is scheduled for October 26th, 2015. Staff will present a summary of options for Board discussion regarding the swapping of large acreage preserves.

Non-Residential Land Uses & Private Amendments:

Summary:   At the March 2015 Workshop, the Board directed staff to address the pre-existing commercial and institutional properties and to return with information regarding allowing additional neighborhood commercial opportunities in the Ag Reserve.  Previously the Board had directed Staff not to process private amendments in the Ag Reserve.  At the July 30th BCC meeting, staff recommended that County-initiated amendments for the pre-existing commercial and institutional sites be processed in Round 16-A and that prior Board direction to not process private amendments in the Ag Reserve be extended for a period of three years.

MOTION:  Initiate County Initiated text and FLUA amendments for the eight pre-existing commercial and three pre-existing institutional sites (acres, names and locations as presented in the backup), motion by Commissioner Taylor, seconded by Commissioner Abrams passed in a 4-1 vote (with Commissioner Burdick dissenting, Commissioners Valeche and McKinlay absent). Under discussion, staff clarified that the County initiated FLUA amendments would be limited to corrective amendments to the pre-existing sites as presented, and that any additional land area would be following submittal of private applications.  The motion and discussion included direction to: 

  • To provide further analysis of commercial floor area ratio (FAR) in the Ag;
  • To process the private FLUA and text amendments received and to continue taking applications in order for site specific properties to be reviewed on a case by case basis; and
  • Consider 'squaring off' of intersections as part of the private FLUA amendment application review process.

Implementation:  The Planning Division will be proceeding with a text amendment to the Comprehensive Plan to address the commercial language in the Ag Reserve Tier, including the maximum floor area ratio (FAR) and related provisions.  The Planning Division is now accepting privately proposed text and FLUA amendments for proposed future land use changes in the Agricultural Reserve and will examine each application considering the concurrent text amendment to FAR and Board direction to consider 'squaring off' intersections.  Interested applicants may contact Stephanie Gregory, Planner II, at 561-233-5388 or sgregor1@pbcgov.org to set up a pre-application meeting and/or visit the following link for additional information: Comprehensive Plan Amendment Info

Farm Residences:

Summary:  At the March 2015 Workshop, the Board directed Staff to return with additional information regarding a request from property-owners to permit owners of parcels with a residence to sell development rights from all but 1 acre of a property, on property having a land use density of one unit per 5 acres.  At the July 30th BCC meeting, staff recommended that no changes be made to current policy.

MOTION:  Postpone, motion by Commissioner Abrams, seconded by Commissioner Taylor passed in a 6-1 vote (with Commissioner Burdick dissenting). The motion included direction for staff to work with stakeholders (particularly the hardship cases) and, if there was an acceptable solution, to return to the Board at a later date.

Implementation:  The Board did not initiate Comprehensive Plan Amendments for this item at this time.  Planning staff is available to meet with stakeholders upon request.  Please contact Maria Bello, Senior Planner, at 561-233-5314 or mbello@pbcgov.org.

Agricultural Reserve Master Plan and PDD Maps

The maps below depict publicly owned lands and approved/pending planned development districts (PDDs). Due to the file size, downloads may take several minutes to process depending on the internet connection speed.

Agricultural Reserve Master Plan and PDD Maps:
Ag Reserve Master Plan  
Ag Reserve Small Map - 11 x 17
Ag Reserve Large Map - 22 x 36

If you cannot view PDF files, you can download Acrobat Reader for free from Adobe Systems, Inc. In order to use PDF files, you must have Acrobat installed on your computer.