Friday, June 5, 2009

Tropical. Ridge Neighborhood Association - Crime Walk | June 5, 2009

This evening, June 5th at 6:00pm, the Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association will be meeting at the First Church of the Nazarene, located at 1422 Lucerne Avenue for a Crime Prevention Walk. We will be spending approximately one hour walking the streets of our neighborhood meeting neighbors, promoting association activities and making our presence known to the community.
There will be deputies from the PBSO that will be accompanying us on our walk. Please come out to show your support for our association and to make it clear that the residence of Tropical Ridge are caring, thoughtful and will not tolerate crime and blight.
For more information regarding upcoming TRNA events please visit
Upcoming Events
- ROLOH Crime Walk – June 15th – 6:30pm – West end of Collier at Lake Osborne
- Vegetation Amnesty – June 15th-19th – Hurricane preparedness
- Security Expo – June 20th – 12:00-4:00pm – First Church of the Nazarene
- Raft Race - July 4th – Please volunteer to row!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wisdom of Buddha

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

DCA Hosting Two Events to Explain Impacts of SB 360

June 12 Virtual Forum with DCA Secretary Tom Pelham on Senate Bill 360

The Florida Department of Community Affairs will host an on-line event on June 12, 10:00 AM – Noon on the subject of Senate Bill 360, which became law on June 1, 2009.
· The program will focus primarily on the provisions of SB 360 relating to transportation concurrency and how these provisions affect local governments.
· The Secretary will present remarks and information about the new law, including DCA's interpretation and implementation plans.
· The floor will then be opened to questions from statewide participants.
· Questions may be submitted in advance of the event on-line or by email, through June 11. Questions may then be submitted live on-line.
· The event is free to the public and advance registration is encouraged but not required.
· Those who wish to listen in by phone rather than taking part on-line may do so as well. Speaker phones and cell phones are permitted.
To register for this timely event, go to: There you also will find an on-demand replay of the Secretary’s May 21 virtual forum on planning and growth management.

The registration link provides the opportunity to submit your questions early and to access information on the phone-in option. In addition, you will receive an automatic reminder by registering in advance.

Mark your calendars and register now to be a part of this important event on legislation affecting Florida communities.

June 25-26 DCA Growth Management Implementation Workshop

DCA is holding its 2009 Growth Management Implementation Workshop on June 25-26 at the Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, and will include information on how the agency will implement the provisions of SB 360. The cost is $115. For more information regarding the workshop or to register, please visit
and click on the registration tab under the "Spotlight" header. AICP (10 hours), PE (12 hours) and CLE (hours TBD) continuing education credits have been applied for with the respective associations. Approval is expected prior to the workshop.

ALL TIME RECORD DAY! Thanks for visiting!!

Link to Neat Piece on Lake Worth Bike Night - thanks Adam!

Lake Worth moves ahead with water treatment plant

From last night's meeting, click for link to PB Post article. This from the article:
On Tuesday, commissioners deadlocked 2-2 on a recommendation that the city spend $510,000 to buy supplemental drinking water from West Palm Beach through Sept. 30. After much discussion, commissioners agreed 3-1, with Retha Lowe dissenting, to buy supplemental drinking water from Palm Beach County and West Palm for the next week.
Are we buying water from the County and West Palm from week to week? What level of insanity have we reached?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The 1939 World's Fair - GM's Futurama Vision of 1960

This is a re-post from about this time last year. I thought I'd bring it to the front in light of GM declaring bankruptcy yesterday. In many ways, I see this as a turning point that moves us further away from the single passenger automobile as the primary mode of transit - one step on a very long road. These snippets from GM's Futurama remind us of what the auto companies' vision for land use was. A scary vision in retrospect.

Fascinating look back at what the future looked like almost 70 years ago. Many of the themes and paradigms shown here helped to shape the post World War II United States. Oh, but for the unintended consequences! I found these fascinating.

Part 1:

Part 2:

The hyperbole is so thick towards the end of the Part 2 you might need an air sickness bag. These really represented GM's vision of the future - traffic first, tons of their cars on the road, etc. Separation of industrial, commercial and residential uses for efficiency - yeah, get in that GM car and drive to each one rather than park and walk or bike or take mass transit anywhere.

Click here for a brief background on Alfred P. Sloan - GM's Chairman of the Board at the time. Click here for more information on the elimination of the streetcar nationwide and GM's likely role in it.

What's done is done. What this shows is that land use decisions that discourage the use of the automobile and encourage other modes of transit are the way of our future. We have a long way to go to make up for the sins of the past.

What do you think? Think of the ubiquitous role the automobile has played in the growth and development of our nation. Think about its role in the laying out of all of the post World War II subdivisions and its contribution to urban sprawl development patterns. Think about the current "echo" energy crisis and the $4.00 + we are paying for gasoline. Think about how Lake Worth can lead in the turning of the tide against the automobile. Think about our future 20 years from today.

EDITORIAL: The governor can't hide

Click title for link to PB Post editorial on Governor Crist signing SB 360 which would severely weaken growth management laws in the state of Florida. From the opinion:
Supporters say that Senate Bill 360 will improve the state's growth management efforts by removing unnecessary restrictions in urban areas. But the bill creates a ridiculous definition of "urban area." Tiny towns, such as 400-person Briny Breezes, qualify. So would rural areas along State Road 7. In all, eight counties and 245 cities qualify, including all cities in Palm Beach County along with Stuart, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie on the Treasure Coast.
This is the worst part of the legislation - including a very liberal interpretation of what are considered "in fill" areas. We should be promoting in-fill development, but rural areas have no place in this legislation. Elimination of the Development of Regional Impact process is another major problem. Even though I am against the enactment of this legislation, I am sure that a certain "Princess and the Pea" blogger will find somehow to make it seem like I endorse it. So it goes.

Too bad for the future of the state of Florida.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant

The above was in an e-mail from the city's grant writer that was sent to the Commission, most senior staff and others. It introduced a fairly open-ended grant program that is funded with Federal Economic Stimulus dollars. You can read about the specifics if you wish by clicking the title to this post. This is potentially a BIG money grant that perhaps could be used to re-establish our trolley system or another imaginative transportation-related program in the city. The deadline is September of this year. Is anyone going to bite on this?

This is a section on grant programs from the city manager's report that's part of the agenda for this week's City Commission meeting.

I guess responsibility for grants will be going to the Assistant City Manager for coordination. Hmmmm.

Can we please make an attempt at additional grant money? The grant application would essentially write itself given our profound needs.

Tax rate/ increment calculation for CRA budget given revised (lowered) taxable value...

From Joan Oliva today to CRA members:

CRA Board Members,

Many of you have seen the recent headlines whereby the Property Appraiser has indicated a significant loss in values in the City. The CRA is predicted to have an even higher loss. As you can see from the calculation below, our increment dropped from $411 M to $254 M – a loss of 38%. New construction taxable value was less than $10M.

CRA - Current Year Increment Value $ 254,995,256

" - 2008 Actual Increment 411,323,015

Decline in CRA Tax Increment 156,327,759

Percentage Decrease =38%

This significant decrease in value, coupled with the City’s lower millage rate due to the County Fire Rescue merger, lessens our TIF revenues by almost 50% compared to last fiscal year. In 08/09, the CRA received $4.3M from both the County and the City in TIF. This year, that number will drop to approx. $2.2M.

We anticipate the City will report a tentative millage rate to the County before the end of July. Communication between the CRA and the City will be vital as we prepare our 09/10 budget. The availability of any supplement will determine the future of many CRA projects and programs.

I look forward to working with you all.


Robin McGehee's Msg to President Obama - "Show Me You Have The Courage"

Robin McGehee was forced to resign from her position as President of a P.T.A. board after she attended a "No on 8" rally. This rally was in Fresno, California this past weekend after the California Supreme Court's ruling to uphold Proposition 8 which banned marriage between same sex couples.

Live near an abandoned home with dangerous debris? If hurricane threatens, call your city

Click title for link to Sun Sentinel story. Today marks the first day of hurricane season. Here is an excerpt from the article regarding hazards and remedies for unkempt, vacant and foreclosed properties:
There aren't a lot of options for homeowners in this situation beyond relying on local code enforcement departments.

Municipalities discourage civilians from entering private property because to do so violates trespass law. Inspectors have to respect that restriction too, and are limited to taking action on what can be seen from a yard's border. But if a place is unsafe, officials can inspect and secure a property immediately. They also use code enforcement boards, special masters or magistrates or the courts to levy liens and pressure an owner, if one can be found, to clean up a site.
Can we rely on the city of Lake Worth to do this?

2009 America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

A little more on Miami Marine Stadium...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Commission Work Plan"

This was an unsuspected surprise that's found at the end of the current City Manager's report. It lays out the topics that will be addressed by the City Commission on alternate Tuesdays (2nd and 4th) in a workshop format - separate from their regular meetings. Unfortunately, this schedule conflicts with CRA board meetings, so maybe another regular date can be chosen that doesn't conflict.

Nonetheless, it is interesting to see when the various topics will be addressed - and more importantly, what the topics actually are. On June 9th, they will be talking about the beach and the estimate for renovations and clarification of the scope. They will also be talking about the Treasure Coast Transit Oriented Development plan - YEAH!

On the 23rd, more on the beach with a "public improvementss" RFP on the agenda, along with discussion of the Comprehensive Plan future land use element - that's where all the discussion about height and density could take place.

Look here - on July 14th there is talk about a referendum on height - surprise, surprise! Also lots of other hot topics like golf course operations, etc.
Nice to be aware of these coming topics and to be able to monitor changes/progress.

Derelict, Foreclosed and Abandoned Properties

This is an excerpt from the City Manager's report that is included in this coming City Commission agenda. I encourage you to read it in it's entirety since it is the most exhaustive assessment of what is going on behind the walls of City Hall that I have seen - ever. In a city that treats any information like golden nuggets, this is a refreshing change!

I've been following one particular property at 1203 S. Palmway. The long-time owner sold it a little more than two years ago after having trouble convincing the city that demolition and the work she was going to do to build a new structure was a good idea. They weren't going to let her tear it down. The property is in a historic district and somehow that caused an insurmountable problem. Nothing in the Historic District ordinance says that you can't tear a structure down. The owner got tired of the hassle, sold the property to someone else - the real estate agent listed it then as "land only" which acknowledged that the house was essentially not there. Even though today it still is very much there and in the same or worse condition than it was 2 years ago.

The new owner defaulted on the loan and it is now foreclosed and owned by the mortgage holder. There are code fines running on the property to the tune of $35,000+. According to the Mayor, the city has no money to demolish structures like this - even though the city can lien a property for the expense. Palm Beach County had a program, I am not sure of its existence still, that would pay for demolitions here in Lake Worth. One enterprising member of the Historic Resource Preservation Board took advantage of that program in demolishing a contributing property on North O Street. I also understand that the city is trying to foreclose on the property as well - this on top of the mortgage holder who also must eventually be satisfied.

According to the excerpt above, there are 40 properties that have been red tagged (as this one has.) To date, six have been demolished by the owner, one by the city and 23 are in permitting. This doesn't add up to 40 - adds up to the 30. Either that is a misprint, or there are 10 other properties here and there that are in another sort of limbo.

Here are pictures of the property at 1203 S. Palmway as it appeared last week. The building sits at a prominent corner in the neighborhood.

Can we come back to a point where we can entertain requests for demolitions and approve new construction that is sensitive to the historic context of a neighborhood? If not, we are going to have even more of these sorts of properties springing up around the city - especially in light of the mortgage foreclosure crisis we are experiencing now. And, what is the city going to do with this property if they do foreclose? How is that any better than what could have been permitted two or three years ago?

I have more back-up information. If you are interested, please e-mail me.