Friday, June 23, 2006

New PZHRPB Appointments

Last week, the City Commission met and made its annual reappointments to the PZHRPB, and to other City Boards. Quick background: The seven regular members of the PZHRPB have staggered 3 year terms. The two "alternate" members (full members of the Historic Resources Preservation Board) only vote on items relating to projects that are not in historic districts when a regular member of the 7 member P&Z Board are absent. Are you confused now? I hope I made that clear enough.

First of all, Jon MacGillis chose not to re-apply this year and his term will end at the end of July. We will miss his background in landscape architecture and experience in administering a large zoning department in the form of the Palm Beach County Zoning Division. Jon has been a stable and reliable presence on the board for many years. Unfortunately, our meetings were always on the eve of either his Zoning Commission or Board of County Commission meeting so I am sure the need to focus on his "paying job" played a role in his decision. Good luck to Jon and I hope to see him still involved in matters pertaining to Lake Worth in the future.

Unfortunately, the City Commission chose not to re-appoint Herman Robinson and Helen Green to the Board. In doing so, we lose the active involvement of people that live in two of the City's historic districts and who live near the downtown commercial center of Lake Worth. We also will miss the sensitivity that both of them gave in considering Certificates of Appropriateness and the proper role of redevelopment in the future of the City. I will miss chiding Herman in getting his point across and translating "Hermanese" to English - he is a great guy that made a tremendous contribution to the Board. And with Helen, we will miss her encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Lake Worth and her kind manner displayed in her support for the work of City staff and concerns of the neighborhoods.

We will have a reception before our July 19th meeting, starting at 5 p.m., in the City Hall Conference Room. Please plan on joining us in recognizing the contribution of our departing Board members and welcoming the new members.

As for the new appointments: We have been crying for an architect to serve on the Board for years and now we have one in Ed Le Blanc. Ed will be a full voting member of the Board and we look forward to his input, especially as it relates to design and harmonious, compatible development within the City. Anne Hoctor will be the first alternate - Anne has a private planning practice and well help fill the void left by Jon MacGillis leaving the Board.

Regarding the last appointment, Vincent DeVito, I am not sure what the City Commission was thinking. This is a gentleman that instead of moving a house to make way for his development project, tore it down "by mistake". We ended up fining him for this violation. I sincerely hope that he brings more than just a pure developer perspective to the Board. Time will tell. As said before, and contrary to the article in PB Post, he will be able to vote on COAs regardless of anyone being absent.

I understand that the last choice was between Mr. DeVito and Trip Cioci - I would have been preferred Trip's appointment in that it would be an appointment from the under-represented western portion of the City and he has proven to be an intelligent contributor in the political process. Do I necessarily agree with his point of view? Probably not, but that voice needs to be represented during our deliberations.

"Political advertisement paid for and approved by Wes Blackman for Commissioner – District #3"