Saturday, November 26, 2016

Worth another look. . . An easy target for myth-makers: Re-zoning (or upzoning) to allow ‘home occupations’ and that mythical city called Key West

Zoning can be a confusing thing to understand. And it doesn’t help when some who purport to “know the code” get the facts wrong. There remains a persistent buzz about zoning in Lake Worth that continues to churn in the rumor mill, albeit quietly of late, about some elected’s desire to change zoning to allow for ‘home occupations’ throughout the Citylike some other wonderfully ‘tolerant’ cities do—Key West is always on that short-list.

There's just one problem: it’s not true.

It’s easy to get carried away with what you think a situation may be in another city. The viewpoint you hold may be influenced by anecdotal evidence, word of mouth, tourism advertising, political manipulation, etc. There’s the belief by some that Key West is a thriving place for artists and crafters working out of their homes akin to a Garden of Eden and Lake Worth should follow their example.

Well. I checked their code and Key West is as strict or moreso than Lake Worth’s when it comes to home occupations in residential neighborhoods. So the image some have of Key West’s ‘progressive’ artsy mystique is untrue as it relates to what you can do. It’s also easy to not know what is zoned residential and what is zoned commercial if you are just visiting a town and you don’t have a zoning map with you. How many people carry zoning maps around with them?

There are other cities around the nation that can serve as models for such an ordinance if it ever does become a legitimate topic of debate, but I caution everyone not get carried away with romantic notions that may not be based in reality. I know that can be a challenge here in the charming little City of Lake Worth, especially for those such as Commissioner Ryan Maier who. . .

. . . prior to being elected complained about traffic and congestion in their own particular Downtown neighborhood. And also complain about traffic and congestion in other neighborhoods throughout the City. So. . . ‘home occupations’ with employees, visitors, customers, and deliveries is a good idea? Try to square that logic.


Anonymous said...

There seems to be this pervasive desire to be just like key west with its perceived freedoms for all and lack of big development. I wonder how many of the pro key west concept people have looked at its property values. I would wager none of the anti progress crowd who look so fondly upon key west could afford anything at all in lake worth if we became like key west.

Greg Rice said...

The above commenter is correct.

Tourism in KW is it's main economic driver. Millions of visitors per year visit KW spending Billions of dollars while there. The parking is very limited, traffic is heavy in the downtown district and rents are high, it's very expensive in KW. The medium home price in KW is $435,000. Zillow says in LW, 33460 it's $133,600. I also wonder just how much people know about KW when I hear them say LW is like a little KW. About the closest real comparison between LW & KW is land mass, KW is 7.4 mi/2, LW 6.46 mi/2. Many of the things that those of us that visit KW often, the things that make up the fabric of KW are there because of tourism. I remember KW back in the late 60's. It wasn't like it is today. They were struggling financially. They had to decide what there options were and where their future lies. They decided tourism was their best opportunity. They welcomed their first cruise ship in '69 but it wasn't until 1984 when the city upgraded its cruise docks; and some asked why taxpayers should spend their tax dollars on infrastructure improvements to help privately owned cruise business make money? Sound familiar to some who say the same thing about the POC? Well look at KW now. Is LW like a little KW? Maybe yes, but very little.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot we can learn from Key West and other historic towns in Florida that have maintained their uniqueness and their historic structures. But, when it comes to home occupation and rental laws, KW is super strict.