Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Flagler Memorial (North) Bridge

The Flagler Memorial Bridge will reopen to two lanes of traffic on Saturday, Nov. 1. There will be one lane of traffic in each direction with no restrictions. The north sidewalk will reopen for pedestrians. 

The ramp from northbound Flagler Drive to the eastbound Flagler Memorial Bridge is permanently closed. Drivers going north on Flagler Drive who want to go east over the bridge should go west on Banyan Boulevard to N. Dixie Highway, take N. Dixie Highway north N. Quadrille Boulevard, and take N. Quadrille Boulevard east across the bridge. 

Royal Park (Middle) Bridge 
Left turn restrictions are in place at the intersection of Flagler Drive and the Royal Park Bridge. Drivers going south on Flagler Drive cannot turn left to go east over the Royal Park Bridge and drivers going west over the Royal Park Bridge cannot turn left to go south on Flagler Drive. The following detours are in place: 

Drivers going south on Flagler Drive who want to go east over the Royal Park Bridge should take S. Dixie Highway to Okeechobee Boulevard and go east on Okeechobee Boulevard to cross the Royal Park Bridge. 

Drivers going west on the Royal Park Bridge who want to go south on Flagler Drive should continue west to S. Dixie Highway, go south on S. Dixie Highway to Okeechobee Boulevard, and go east on Okeechobee Boulevard to Flagler Drive. 

Bridge Openings 
As of Nov. 1, Flagler Memorial Bridge opens for marine traffic as needed once per hour at 15 minutes past the hour. Royal Park Bridge opens for marine traffic as needed twice per hour on the hour and at half-past the hour. The Southern Boulevard Bridge opens for marine traffic as needed twice per hour at 15 minutes past the hour and 45 minutes past the hour. In case of an emergency, these bridges open on demand. Bridge information is published in the Coast Guard Local Notice to Mariners at www.navcen.uscg.gov

Remember, you get a chance to turn back time this Sunday at 2 a.m.

Coming up November 5th...at Little Munich


Wise


FYI - An example of Public Information - Emails to elected and public officials


Lake Worth's proposed panhandling ban is too broad | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

The Post's editorial board weighs in on the anti-panhandling ordinance up for second reading this coming Tuesday. Click title for link. I have some concerns about its ability to be enforced and with that comes some vagueness, and they pick up on that. Here is a bit from the editorial:
City attorneys say Lake Worth’s ordinance, which faces a final vote Tuesday, is modeled on similar panhandling bans in Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg. Lake Worth’s ordinance wouldn’t ban panhandling across the board, but it would do so in many of the places where people are most likely to congregate: bus stops, cafes, parking lots and within 15 feet of the entrance to any business or government building.
That would seem to eliminate nearly all of downtown Lake Worth’s main strip, whose sidewalks are lined with small stores, cafes and bars. The rule may not officially impose any blanket bans on panhandling downtown, but that very well could be its practical effect.
The proposed rules would also impose a sweeping ban on all “aggressive panhandling,” which is defined as repeated or intimidating requests, including those accompanied by physical contact or verbal threats. Since much of this sort of behavior is illegal already, it’s doubtful that this prohibition will raise many hackles. It’s the bans on simple panhandling that seem more problematic.

New York's Citi Bike Announces Major Changes - CityLab

Interesting article about modifications to the Citi Bike program in New York City. It will be expanded and some of the kinks worked out by new management. There might be changes to other city bike-sharing programs too. Click title for link.
Citi Bike, the hugely popular New York City bike-share system that has been plagued with technical and financial problems, is getting a fresh start, thanks to a new investor with deep pockets and a high-profile change in management.
The deal was announced yesterday at a press conference outside the Queensbridge housing projects in Long Island City, one of several neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan where the system is now slated to expand over the next three years. By the end of 2017, if the new management keeps its promises, the city will have 700 stations with 12,000 bikes, with 1,000 new bikes coming online next year.

Ticker Tape Parade in Greenfield, CA today


[CPNA] College Park supports Box Tops 4 Education

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Please visit this website www.boxtops4education.com for a complete list of all the many useful and popular products that offer coupons which earn 10 cents each for our local schools.  You can sign up on the webpage to keep track of how the school you selected is doing or just turn them in to the school. As an example, North Grade Elementary has earned $499 so far just this year. Most of us already recycle our packaging - Here's a super easy way to add a little cash to our local school before we toss the box in the recycle bin!

Thank You.

Some pictures from yesterday...

Commissioner Amoroso reminding us that the LW Farmers Market starts this Saturday.
And here are some pictures from last night's Thursday Night Peddlers group. Welcome back Mel and Vinnie!





The next Sister Cities meeting is coming up

That is between other cities in Palm Beach County which share many of the same issues. From Eliot Kleinberg we have this news release from the Palm Beach Post:
The next quarterly “sister cities” meeting of leaders of West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Shores, Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, Mangonia Park, Lake Park and Palm Beach is set for 4 p.m. Thursday in the Flagler Gallery on the first floor of West Palm Beach City Hall, 401 Clematis St. Call 561-822-1400.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Charlie Birnbaum - Film Director and Stonzek Theatre Manager 10/31 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Entertainment Podcasts

We will be welcoming Charlie Birnbaum into the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. Charlie is the film director and Stonzek Theatre manager for the Lake Worth Playhouse. He will be sharing information on the Stonzek Theatre itself, as well as information on upcoming films and performances in Lake Worth's own "black box" theater. You can check out some of the recent and upcoming attractions there by clicking here.

Click title for link to live show between 12 and 1 p.m. on 10/31 or after the show airs for the archived version. Leave questions as comments below.

PUBLIC RECORDS NOTE:

Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from local officials, employees, or the general public regarding city business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your e-mail communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.

I don't need to tell you from where this comes...


A new Halloween adventure!

The truth makes a rare appearance on the other blogger's site...

If the other bloggers readers can see the problem with Commissioner McVoy, why can't she? Is she obtuse? Unaware of McVoy's behavior on the dais? Here are two comments that were left on the 'other bloggers' site that sum up pretty well the problem with McVoy. For the people who actually go to that blog and expose the truth, I thank you for your service to the community - and your luck getting through the Maginot Line. And I am sure Mayor Pam Triolo and Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell thank you as well.


What a fun weekend ahead in Lake Worth!

Lot's of things to do this weekend starting tonight with the Thursday Night Peddlers. They meet in front of the Gulfstream Hotel at 5:30 and the ride starts at 6:00. If you've never met AnnaMaria and the Peddlers this would be a good time to come out and introduce yourself. For a description of all the events going on this weekend visit AnnaMaria's blog here!

Timely PBP Editorial given my trip to the northern part of the county...

Click title for link. Some excerpts:
Palm Beach Gardens has the sort of problem most cities would like to have: Too many people want to live there. Its population of 50,000 could very well grow by an additional 10,000 in a decade’s time, as developers put up condos, homes, offices and town centers. City leaders profess to be “very concerned.”
But the city should be encouraged. With one notable exception — the proposed Avenir development on the Vavrus Ranch property out west — most of the projected growth seems to be good growth. Empty or underused spaces in the city’s core are being filled in with smart-sounding mixed-use developments and more “intense” residential projects like apartment buildings and condos.
[Later in editorial...]
There’s also an expansive development plan for the nearly 700 acres of woods on the Briger property along Donald Ross Road, where developers envision thousands of town homes, apartments, offices and shops across the street from Scripps Florida.
Those are only the highlights. There’s a proposal to build another mixed-use development along RCA Boulevard. There’s an expansion of The Benjamin School underway, not to mention the recent opening of the Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute. At least six assisted-living facilities are making plans to open in the city.
Already, as The Post reported Monday, city officials say 3,040 homes and 5.5 million square feet of commercial buildings have been OK’d and await construction.

Summary of events, one week later...

Last Wednesday (10/22) there was a protest in Lake Worth against the PBSO, or at least against excessive force used by law enforcement agencies. It happened to coincide with a national day of protest, so it wasn't supposed to be a secret, you would think. Maybe you heard about it? If you are late to the discussion or are otherwise unsure of what happened, here are the facts about the protest and what happened THAT DAY here in Lake Worth. All of these facts are verifiable.

Prior to Wednesday morning only a select few individuals were aware a protest was being planned for the afternoon at 5:00. I read the newspapers, many blogs (except one in particular), stay updated on Facebook and also have many friends and colleagues who would routinely inform me that a protest or other event was being organized in Lake Worth. The truth is that no one did simply because no one knew. It was a well-kept secret until Wednesday morning, October 22nd.

At approximately 10:00 that morning I received a note from a reader of my blog. I was directed to an article in the Broward New Times by "Fire Ant". Fire Ant is Lake Worth resident Steve Ellman. Here is the story he submitted on Wednesday morning.

At the end of the article was a link for contact information. You can see that link here.

I gathered the information available and posted the information on this blog. You can read the original story here.

Then things all got a little unusual, maybe due to Mercury being retrograde at the time. All I did was make public information available to my readers. The fact is Mr. Ellman is a sympathizer for the Anarchists in Lake Worth and has been for many years. Lynne Purvis, aka Elle Purv, promoted the protest on a Facebook page. Lynne Purvis has worked along with former commissioner/Anarchist as can be seen here. In the video you can see both Lynne Purvis and Cara Jennings (this is soon before she gave birth to her child).

Many of the people "invited", "going", or "maybe" to the protest that afternoon were avowed Anarchists/activists or former political operatives such as Cara Jennings, Panagioti Tsolkas, Annabeth Karson, the EarthFirst! Journal, members of TWAC (an affinity group of EarthFirst!), and others who have opposed PBSO for many years.

Shortly after the 'protest' began a group of Guatemalans joined the group. Reverend Frank O'Loughlin, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of the Guatemalan-Maya Center (GMC) organized twenty to thirty of his congregation to join the Anarchists et al. Why didn't Reverend O'Loughlin contact his neighborhood association and let them know of his intentions? Why didn't Reverend O'Loughlin reach out to the city beforehand? If this problem was real, there were many other avenues to pursue its correction.

There is much anger about the 'protest' on Wednesday, October 22nd from many different perspectives. On Thursday, October 23rd the Lake Worth Herald printed an editorial about this protest. Somehow the protest the previous day is no longer the issue, Mr. Ellman for one is attempting to make the LW Herald the issue and not the protest which started this whole thing rolling.

Question, would we have all this upheaval in the community had the GMC and Reverend O'Loughlin not aligned himself with the Anarchists? What if Reverend O'Loughlin had reached out to his Lake Worth neighbors and community about his concerns with PBSO? How about talking to the sheriff's office directly?

This 'protest' was done with the absence of community involvement, set in motion by its organizers, the GMC and Reverend O'Loughlin in particular. Many others in our community, experienced a deep sense of betrayal last Wednesday. Our clergy in Lake Worth should be working to heal our community, not further divide us from our Guatemalan neighbors.

So, no good deed goes unpunished. Making people aware of an "action" I guess is an "invitation only" event here in Lake Worth. Even though many traditional media outlets were there, the organizer's made sure that a side counter to their claims should not and would not be heard or present at the event.

Our Everglades EarthFirst! friends from 2011

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For some reason, I am being blamed for the "failed protest"


This just by taking pictures of their protest and creating a non-editorial collage of the event. I would suggest to the organizers of this event that, if they want it to be successful, they should make sure that they have better control of their message and be clearer in their objectives. If taking pictures of a protest causes its failure, then it wasn't much of a protest.

Here is an example of a more successful protest, in the same theme, that was held in East Lansing, Michigan on the same day.

Something else to think about. Some people make better friends than enemies.

Is spring training in Avenir future? | Northern Palm Beach County

Click title for link to article. Note the line at the end of the excerpt below: "John Prince Park near Lake Worth is considered by many to be too small." Note that John Prince Park has not been completely eliminated yet as the site for spring training baseball! From the article:
There’s talk around county hall that the old Vavrus Ranch, on the western reaches of Palm Beach Gardens, might make a good site for the spring training complex the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are seeking.
But so far, talk is all it is, according to County Commissioner Hal Valeche and the property owners, Avenir Holdings.
“People have mentioned it to us, that maybe it should go there,” E. Daniel Lopez, a principal of the Coral Gables development firm said Tuesday. “But we have not talked with anybody about it in any serious way.”
The teams have been hard pressed to find a winning site. Palm Beach Gardens ruled out a more easterly property off Central Boulevard; West Palm Beach’s 160-acre site south of 45th Street is under consideration for a mixed-use complex with townhouses instead; and John Prince Park near Lake Worth is considered by many to be too small.

My trip to the northern part of Palm Beach County...

Yesterday, I pointed my compass north for business purposes and happened to have my camera with me. It had been a while since being in that part of the county and ended up getting off at the Donald Ross exit. If you head east on Donald Ross Road, you will pass by the Abacoa development on the north side of the road. This is where Roger Dean Stadium (Palm Beach County's current location for spring training facilities for major league baseball), as well as a branch of Florida Atlantic University.

It turns out that just to the east of Abacoa are the headquarters for Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Institute. Both of these facilities were products of state and local economic development efforts to create a base for biotech research facilities in Palm Beach County. Having never seen this campus environment before, I took the following pictures.




 From time to time I report on the antics of Anarchist-EarthFirst leaders Cara Jennings and Panagioti Tsolkas. Now and then I get queries from my readers about this legendary "Briger Forest." Questions as "Where is it?", "What's the big deal?", etc. I thought, well, I'm in the area, why not visit the legendary Briger "Forest" and take a few pictures?

So, just to the south of Donald Ross Road is another piece of property known as the "Briger Tract" of about 700 acres. It is largely undeveloped at this time, but is slated for a mixed use development project that would include residential, commercial and uses related to further development associated with the Scripps Florida facility. Here is the general layout of this part of the county:
Hood Road runs along the south side of the Briger parcel, ending at I-95. There is already some development along the southern and eastern edges of the property. The Mandel Jewish Community Center, located at the #1 above, takes up the southwestern corner of the property. It is a newer building that backs up to I-95 and its parking area runs alongside the building to the east. There is also an equestrian facility immediately east of the Community Center that goes further north into the Briger property. Here is a picture of a small portion of the horse stables and grounds.
Below are pictures from Grandiflora Road denoted by the number '2' on the map above. Note the menacing sign for people thinking of trespassing! Apparently, Grandiflora Road is going to be extended in the near future. This also happens to be the campus for the Upper Benjamin School and they have some major construction projects ongoing, including a new theater, I was told.

Sign posted at the current western end of Grandiflora Road. We know why.


Notice of the possibility of the presence of the threatened Eastern Indigo Snake and related instructions if encountered in the area.
As you can see, the Briger 'Forest' is east of I-95. There are many places like Briger that can be used for homes, condos and apartments to accommodate our new residents flooding the state of Florida. Tracts as Briger and many others would put less pressure on developers as they proceed westward. One example of those western projects is the Minto West development currently under consideration by the County Commission. 

There are also a number of gated communities along the eastern side of the property, along the west side of Central Boulevard.

Thus ends a little peek at part of the county that you may not be familiar with, but others in our city are.

Master and Commander in Greenfield, CA

Coming attraction...

I spent some time wandering around northern Palm Beach County yesterday while on business. Some of the places I visited included Scripps and Max Planck headquarters, the Briger tract area and Harbourside Place in Jupiter. Here are just a few of the pictures I was able to grab. More to follow.




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"The scale of civility starts at the top with Christopher McVoy as the most civil."

This just in, from Facebook...


Where was the outrage when the other blogger posted...





The 5 most valuable pieces of property in Palm Beach County | Real Time

Interesting list...Click title for link.
Here are the top five:
5. Office Depot’s headquarters: $149 million
4. Boca Raton Resort & Club: $159 million
3. The Breakers: $174 million
2. Gardens Mall: $220 million
1. Town Center at Boca Raton: $365 million

Lake Okeechobee waters rise - Sun Sentinel

Lake Okeechobee may turn out to be Florida's equivalent of the Hawaiian volcano. Both are slumbering giants of a sort who have the ability to wake-up and change the landscape. Click title for link.
South Florida's dry season may have arrived just in time to avoid dumping more Lake Okeechobee water out to sea.
Last year, flooding fears from rising lake waters triggered the dumping of hundreds of billions of gallons of lake water out to sea — with damaging environmental consequences on coastal fishing grounds.
Last week, rising lake levels raised concerns that more lake dumping could resume, but a return of drier weather may instead enable the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the lake floodgates closed.
"They are trying to hold on and not discharge [lake water] if they don't have to," said Mark Perry, of the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart, where waterways have suffered from past lake draining. "It would just make matters worse."

Happy Birthday, New York City Subway! - CityLab

Just a year after the formation of the City of Lake Worth, the New York City subway began operation. Its existence and continued transformation, expansion, led to the ever-changing New York City that we know today. The system allowed a density and intensity of development that still astounds today, but somehow it all seems to work. Click title for link to a story heralding the anniversary. Here's a bit and an interesting video from the time.
By the end of the 19th century, New York City's Lower East Side housed overhalf a million people per square mile. With vermin-infested tenements and rampant disease due to bad sanitation, “Staying clean in a neighborhood filled with horse stables, brothels, slaughterhouses and saloons was impossible,”writes transit historian Doug Most. Also difficult: Commuting to work to another neighborhood by horse.
New York needed to move and breathe. In 1894, the city signed the Rapid Transit Act into law, and began planning its first line, boasting to constituents that they'd be able to travel "from City Hall to Harlem in 15 minutes."
The time estimate may have been a bit of a stretch, but the city kept its promise of a better transit system. On October 27, 1904, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company debuted nine miles running through 28 stations to the public. For five cents a ride, travelers could skip from City Hall in lower Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal in midtown, head west along 42nd Street to Times Square, or hop north all the way to 145th Street and Broadway in Harlem.

West Palm Beach downtown board goofs on All Aboard support | West Palm Beat

Well, this happened. Sometimes you can be a little quick to forward on an email without thinking of the message it might portray to the people who are receiving it. That happened with the West Palm Beach DDA regarding All Aboard Florida. Click title for link.
Last week, when an All Aboard Florida representative asked the board of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority for a resolution of support, authority chair Howard Pincus said the board would study draft wording and plan a vote for the November meeting. It would demur for now.
That’s why Pincus was surprised Monday when told by the Palm Beach Post that an email, sent Monday via the authority, urged people to come to a town hall meeting Wednesday and “show your support for All Aboard Florida!”
Within minutes, Pincus called back to say that the email was a mistake. The notice had been written by supporters of the rail project, and the DDA had forwarded it for informational purposes, without realizing it would appear the authority was endorsing All Aboard.

7th Ave. S road proposal and other road improvements

For many years past commissions in Lake Worth have neglected or postponed investment in the southwest part of the city. This area is known as District One (represented by Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell). This is not to say that other areas of the city have not been neglected, but this area stands out over others. On the October 7th City Commission agenda, the final steps in improving road rights-of-way that had never been improved - ever - were finally being funded through long-unused Community Development Block Grant monies. The present commission led by Mayor Pam Triolo and City Manager Michael Bornstein, when learning of this money available, went to work to find how this CDBG money could be best utilized. The federal money, channeled through Palm Beach County, sat there through previous City Commissions. The city had to re-assure the County that it did intend on using this money after being dormant.

A series of four neighborhood presentations by Public Services Director Jamie Brown, an assessment completed by the county and DOT, four previous discussions at public commission meetings, and lengthy discussions with neighbors in the area near 7th Ave. South were all accomplished while Commissioner McVoy was in office, taking in everything that was happening and thought to have been keeping tabs and displaying tacit approval of what was going on. Not until nudged by his narrow group of supporters, did he protest about the lack of community engagement and need for more planning and study - prior to the money being spent. Money already simmering on the back burner for years.

From the minutes of the October 7th meeting: "Commissioner McVoy commented that there was a lot of support in the community for greenway; however, he [Commissioner McVoy] said he did not know if the 7th Avenue South neighborhood had any input." McVoy's observations are dishonest and untrue.

Here is the link to the minutes of the October 7 city commission meeting from the agenda on the October 21 city commission meeting. The subject matter begins on page 17.

The crowd at the city commission meeting on October 7 included former commissioner/Anarchist Cara Jennings, Anarchist Panagioti Tsolkas. Former Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden (and Cara-clone) had her comments read into the record in absentia, a petition was presented from "23 mothers in the area", and neighbors claimed they had no idea a road was being proposed. (At this point you may want to re-read the second paragraph above.) Some neighbors had become accustomed to having 7th Ave. South their private park for walking dogs, a playground for children, their neighborhood "green" space, etc.

The need for a road on 7th Ave. South can be demonstrated quite easily. Following is a map and some pictures of the area in question.

The map above shows the new La Joya Villages project, 6th Ave. South (a major thoroughfare), the FEC tracks, and it's relationship to what would be an improved road along the 7th Ave. South right-of-way. This improvement can alleviate congestion and give the neighborhood improved access, as a reliever of traffic on 6th Avenue South (called a "demilitarized zone" by Commissioner McVoy during the meeting due to its lack of safe pedestrian crossings north and south of the roadway). Having a 'greenway' (no vehicular traffic) on 7th Ave. South doesn't solve the problem. Some neighbors suggested a traffic light at 6th Ave. South and 'F' St. Having a traffic light that close to the FEC tracks is problematic and would likely not be approved by the county.

Now let's examine some pictures of the area in question:


La Joya Villages, currently under construction, is a new residential development at the southeast corner of 6th Ave. South and 'F' Street. Along with the new road proposed new water lines and drainage will be addressed. Note that 7th Ave. South is not an "avenue" at at all; it is a neglected dirt path overgrown with foliage and littered with trash and debris. It is not the Garden of Eden some would have you believe.

There was concern expressed at the meeting about the excessive width of the new road. It was thought that the paved area of the street would contain 12 foot travel lanes. Recent evidence and research suggests 10' lanes are safer because they encourage lower speeds and increased driver awareness, especially in urban areas where walkability is important.

It turns out, in the actual plans shared with me by Jamie Brown, the city has designed the vehicular lanes at 11 feet. This was done in order to accommodate 4 foot bike lanes on either side of the road, and a sidewalk on one side of the road. See below:


Some time in the near future (I am told in November), another meeting will be held with the neighbors about the 7th Ave. South road construction. This will be the fifth neighborhood meeting. I will do my best to be there and record the meeting for those of you interested in these proceedings. On a final note, the tactic employed by Commissioner McVoy, Cara Jennings, and Panagioti Tsolkas on October 7 is not a new one. Some of the faces have changed but the tactic is an old one us veterans of Lake Worth politics have seen many times. One of the desired outcomes of this tactic is to cause anger and frustration by elected officials and staff - usually at the last minute, after multiple opportunities to be tuned into the process earlier. Thus we are left with a spectacle of finger-pointing and "how could you let this go so far" verbiage. All this to spend long dormant monies that could improve this area of the city.

Let's hope this next meeting is productive and compromise is not something to avoid. Two words of advice: stay calm.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Here comes the President's second term, mid-term elections!


We all know that Governor Rick Scott does not answer questions. Here's proof.

All Aboard Florida Public Hearings Begin this Week




West Palm Beach's former City Hall property eyed for redevelopment

Critics say council OKs too many variances

Variance requests are quite common in the Town of Palm Beach. Usually that is a symptom of a zoning code that needs updating and perhaps some of the standards do not reflect the realities that property owners face. It also can be perceived that granting of variances is a way to garner support, or to thank for support given, during election. I don't believe that is the case, but it does create the perception that it could be. And, then you also have to ask what good are the regulations in the zoning code if so many variances are granted. I was alarmed recently when reading an edition of the Shiny Sheet that the variances scheduled for one Town Council meeting took up an entire half page of the paper, in a vertical format with very fine print.

Apparently, the Planning and Zoning Commission thinks things have gotten too permissive and are talking about changes to the process. It doesn't look like that is getting too far. Click title for link.
“They [Palm Beach Town Council] want to be good guys, so they end up granting more than they should,” she [Commission Chairwoman Susan Markin] said. “If someone took a strong line on variances, you wouldn’t get so many of them being applied for, which right now, I have never seen the variance applications as great as they are now. It is totally out of control. We’re deteriorating our zoning code every month.”
Zoning Administrator Paul Castro said the number of zoning requests hasn’t changed much since the 1990s, and that 99 percent of variances are approved. “Maybe one a year is denied, maybe,” he said.
“There’s been this evisceration of the zoning code, variance by variance, so it’s almost as if we don’t have a zoning code anymore if it’s so easy to get a variance,” Vice Chairman Michael Scharf said. “If these were looked at more carefully and came from us with a recommendation, yay or nay, it might slow down this process that’s going on right now.”

Fire Ant won't be considered for the Pulitzer Prize in Journalist Diplomacy anytime soon

His response to one of his readers:

How Palm Beach Gardens grows: Nearly 30 projects on the runway

From what I hear, development activity is picking up in Lake Worth. William Waters is predicting fuller Planning and Zoning Board agendas. Here is one development proposal that was advertised in last week's Lake Worth Herald that is larger than what we have seen recently.

It's actually a mixed use project, that will include approximately 104 residential units, along with an amount of professional office space. This is on the north side of 2nd Avenue North, west of Boutwell Road, near the canal.



This "pick-up" in development and investment activity pales in comparison to Palm Beach Gardens, however. Click title for link for a quick summary of all that is going on there. Remember 700 people per day are moving to Florida now and more than half are moving to south Florida. From the article:

A baseball’s throw from [Palm Beach Gardens] city hall, the Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute last week opened a 39,000-square-foot acute care, therapy, MRI and physical training center that has fielded injured athletes from the city diamonds next door, among hundreds of other patients each day.
Across town, workers hammer away at the Benjamin School’s $11 million performing arts hall, aiming for a grand opening this spring for an auditorium that will be a focal point for the prep school’s 1,100 students, their parents and faculty.
The two projects are among nearly 30 cropping up citywide as the economy thaws, enhancing the city with sought-after features but challenging officials to maintain the quality of life that attracted the growth.
[Later in article two of the major proposed projects...]

Briger: The 681-acre tract, bordering I-95 south of Donald Ross Road, already has approvals for thousands of houses, townhomes and apartments, in addition to office and retail buildings, all meant to support growth spurred by the nearby Scripps Research Institute.
FPL: The council this past year approved a master plan for a NextEra Energy/Florida Power & Light campus with 913,000 square feet of office space, for a site east of I-95 and north of PGA Boulevard.

Editorial: Jupiter’s Harbourside is an asset, not an eyesore

The Palm Beach Post gives praises to Harbourside, the new development at the corner of Indiantown Road and U.S. 1, referring to it as Jupiter's "downtown." They point out the discrepancy between its height and mass and those buildings around it, especially along Indiantown Road. The message seems to be sent to detractors of the project: Simmer down, you'll get used it. I'll have to head up there and check it out once more places open, which seems to be after the first week in December. Click title for link.
But now construction is complete, businesses are starting to open, and people are parading in to check out Jupiter’s newly minted “downtown.” The end product leaves a lot for the town’s residents to be happy about.
To be sure, Harbourside Place is big and dense. Built hard against Indiantown Road, it greets passing drivers with a four-story parking garage and commercial buildings lurking behind it. Passing it on Indiantown Road, many find its presence jarring.
But visitors who pull into the complex are greeted by a pleasant streetscape: tidy, urban, spacious and walkable. The buildings, which will house about 20 stores and several eateries, are designed with varying heights and a mix of eye-pleasing fa├žades and colors to minimize its impact.

LAKE WORTH - Sneak preview

The Monochrome Exhibition Preview Party is set for Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. Monochrome — using a single color in art — seems simple, yet it creates many challenges for the artist. The exhibit runs from Friday through Dec. 6. 601 Lake Ave. $20. 561-471-2901; www.palmbeachculture.com.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Remembering the glories of past battles...


Pick up a copy of this week's (10/23) Lake Worth Herald...

In addition to many other interesting articles, you will find this editorial about last week's protest by the Guatemalan/Mayan Center and other well-known members of Lake Worth's activist community.
Perhaps if Cara [Cara Jennings, former two-term City Commissioner] and company could take up teaching hygiene and culture adaptation, there would not be a need to protest the PBSO. The sad part is, they wish the whole world lived in chaos. Maybe it's because they can't cope with a bar of soap.
     FB chatter said GMC [the Guatemalan-Maya Center] was going to stage the protest. Lo and behold, right there leading the way was Cara and her boy Peter [Panagioti Tsolkas, leader of EarthFirst], and a few other familiar faces, you know, the ones who all live on 7th Avenue South, and showed up to protest improvements in the neighborhood.
     How dare they, or anyone protest PBSO, who is doing a job none of them would or could do. These regular protesters just want a reason to stand and hold signs.
     Next they will be in the commission chambers protesting the ordinance against Panhandling. They approve anything that makes others uncomfortable.
     Obviously they don't approve of life in a clean safe society and would prefer communal living, and that is ok, just take the commune to an area where others around them don't care about safety or sanitation.
     One has to wonder if the GMC actually wanted to file with the Justice system [U.S. Attorney General complaint] or did the perpetual protester have a hand in it.
     It is time she and her sympathizers found another neighborhood on the planet to ply their trade and leave the people of Lake Worth alone.
To read the entire editorial go to LWHerald.com. If you too would like to register your displeasure with the Guatemalan-Maya Center you can contact Reverend O'Loughlin directly: frankogmc@yahoo.com

Future of U.S. 1 in Tequesta: repaving or remodeling?

Trend being pushed by Jeff Speck that promotes shrinking of traffic lane widths to 10 feet from 12 feet is catching on in other communities. He was hired to do a walkability study for the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. Many of his recommendations come from what is called the "complete streets" view of transportation, one that accommodates all modes of travel: pedestrian, bike, car, transit. All of these modes of transit can be accommodated in urban locations, safely, with the narrower lanes. Now the concept is being applied to the U.S. 1 corridor in some places. Don't be surprised to see such a revamp on Dixie Hwy. in Lake Worth eventually. Click title for link.
Skinnier is better, say proponents of a plan to shrink a 2-mile section of U.S. Route 1 to four lanes from six.
Slimming down the main roadway that goes through the 5,800-population village would be safer, improve business for local merchants and entice visitors and to walk and ride bicycles, say supporters of the plan to reduce lanes from County Line Road south to Beach Road. Reducing the speed limit to 35 mph from 45 mph is part of the plan.
“Drivers come whizzing down U.S. 1. They don’t even see us,” said Kevin Sealy, owner of Left Bank Arts, a picture frame shop in the Tequesta Shoppes on U.S. 1.
Smaller lanes also are being considered for Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach. Besides narrowing the eight driving lanes from 12 to 10 feet, the plan calls for reworking crossings, sprucing up landscaping and adding bicycle lanes separated from traffic by an 18-inch barrier.

Florida population surging again

The gate is open again and about 700 new Florida residents, from domestic and foreign places, are moving here per day. That's not quite the rate it was when I moved here in 1989. I remember it being estimated that 1,000 people a day were moving here back then. Miami is turning into more of an international city and its prosperity helps us as a region. We just need to find a way to tap into the wealth and resources represented by this growth and find a way to help us out of our problems here in Lake Worth. Click title for link.
People from other countries and other states are pouring into Florida again, a sign of the state's recovery from a long period of economic doldrums and slow growth.
Recently released U.S. Census numbers show that Florida's foreign-born population increased by 140,000 from 2010 through last year. And movement within the United States left Florida with a net gain of 105,000 residents last year and 109,000 in 2012 — 84 percent more than in the previous two years.
The population surge has accelerated this year, according to state estimates, growing at a rate of about 700 new residents a day. That's a healthy increase, though still less than the big migrations during the Sunbelt boom of past decades.
For many job seekers, South Florida has become a hip beachside destination with a nexus of entrepreneurs, investors, a big consumer market and a gateway to Latin America.

Changes to PBC Ethics Commission coming

Time for some fine tuning. Click title for link to the Sun-Sentinel article.
One proposed change would allow someone facing an ethics violation to ask for an independent officer to handle the case instead of the county's Ethics Commission.
Another proposed change calls for creating a way to speed up the process for handling ethics complaints filed during campaign season. The idea is to quickly take care of allegations that might have been filed for purely political purposes.
Those were among the possibilities that the Ethics Commission discussed Friday as local officials are looking into updating county standards and the board's role. The oversight board was created to enforce rules against conflicts of interest and other wrongdoing involving local government or elected officials.

Cultural Council’s Smartbiz to be at Convention Center

Access to programs like these is why it is important to have an institution like the Palm Beach County Cultural Council in our downtown. A picture of the building they occupy accompanies the article. This is yet another asset lured to Lake Worth through the CRA. Click title for link to story.
Local business leaders will team up with professional artists and non-profit groups next week as part of a daylong summit designed to raise awareness about the importance of arts and culture in Palm Beach County.
The event, which is organized by the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, will focus on building partnerships between businesses and the arts community to help boost the local economy.
Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, will open this year’s SmARTBiz Summit. In his role with the foundation, Cameron supervises a $13 million grants program focusing on performing-arts presenters and artists.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Good Times...


Lake Worth Pool Hours and Information


Thank you City of Lake Worth for printing these attractive cards. You can pick some up to distribute at the pool cashier window.