Thursday, January 3, 2008

Palm Beach County's Planning Effort - Urban Redevelopment Area

It's always wise to know what is going on in the geographic area known as unincorporated Palm Beach County. In many ways, it is the three ton gorilla that may just roll over on you if you're not careful!

This meeting being annouced through the above flyer is part of a complete Urban Redevelopment Area plan for a 30 square mile area that skirts the western edges of the City of Lake Worth - it actually includes the majority of the Lake Worth Park of Commerce.

This is a particular troublesome area for any jurisdiction to address. It is made up of a low-density, automobile friendly (read: SPRAWL) development. Through the process, they want to encourage the redevelopment and intensification of properties along the Congress Avenue and Military Trail corridors. Some of the tools they will be using include the concept of mixed-uses (like our city's Gateway District) and "liner roads" that will provide parallel and joint access along each side of the corridor. Additional greenspace would be added along the edge of the roadways.

I personally refer to it skeptically as the "Champs Elysees Plan" as it represents a grand plan. But, as pioneer urban planner Daniel Burnham said, ""Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized." (Moore-1921)

The County used Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council staff to assist in the development of the plan. How practical it will be to implement (with the amount of established uses along both corridors) and the large amount of relatively small properties, has yet to be seen. I know that it has already complicated the efforts of many property owners in blocking the redevelopment of their properties - many of which are eyesores or vacant.

And, let's not forget the "real" Champs Elysees - the wonder of city planning that it is: