Saturday, December 12, 2009

Interaction with Commissioner Mulvehill...(Re-Post)

This is a post from last September. I thought it would be good to bring it forward as Commissioner Mulvehill has put together an early campaign-like "Seasons' Greetings" e-mail.

Last Friday, while at Park(ing) Day, Commissioner Mulvehill stopped by where I was sitting and started talking about an e-mail she sent around regarding how some historic districts in Florida are threatened due to incompatible new development and she was worried about Lake Worth losing our historic designation. You can see a copy of her e-mail by clicking the title to this post.

She then mentioned an 82 foot high building in downtown as a prime example. I asked which one that was. She pointed and said, "The Lucerne." I told her that I knew that building was 65 feet to the inch and many decorative elements had to be removed in order to make it come in at that height. Buildings do not usually grow by themselves after they are built, but apparently can in the minds of elected officials if it suits their purpose. If you want to raise hysteria about height, make up the height of a building so people think its 17 feet taller than it actually is.

I am listening to the CD of the meeting this past Monday and that figure comes from Commissioner Jennings at the 49:05 minute mark. She said, "We don't want more Lucerne Condos...which by the way I found out that it's eighty-two feet tall, not 65 feet. I don't know how it got up to eighty two but look how that happens."

Note: The Lucerne turned out to be 65 feet - the 82 feet was the height as measured from sea level. This was never corrected on the public record.

Back to Commissioner Mulvehill's e-mail, in it she cites downtown St. Augustine as an example. Apparently, this oldest city in the U.S. - founded in 1565 has had new and incompatible construction within the district recently. It is NOT in jeopardy of losing its status, it is simply being resurveyed and restudied "in order to help the community of St. Augustine deal with new development."

She also cites the Pensacola Navel Air Station. As a result of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the Navy demolished all but 16 of 55 historic structures. This is no way relates to what has happened or what could happen in Lake Worth - save for a devastating hurricane or Act of God.

She also mentions Ybor City - in the Tampa area as a district that is threatened. But it turns out that is due to new construction and relocation of buildings due to a highway project - again not applicable to our circumstance.

Her Preserve America designation proposal is one that is worth pursuing, but it is more of an honorary title and would not add any additional layer of enforcement. In fact we are a Certified Local Government (CLG) and meet many of the requirements already.

I meet with Commissioner Mulvehill tomorrow regarding the proposed changes in the Comprehensive Plan. I hope to at least ratchet down the level of hysteria a couple notches.