Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Gulf Stream hotel re-zoning was big news. . .but did you miss another zoning ("Up-zoning") story in Lake Worth?

Below is an excerpt from a blog post in July, 2015, that got a lot of attention in Lake Worth and it later faded into the background during the Gulf Stream hotel re-zoning. Every now and then this issue about re-zoning (or "up-zoning" some call it) rears its head again vis-à-vis neighborhoods outside commercial districts here in Lake Worth.

Commercial businesses that are not currently allowed, if this re-zoning did ever occur, would be permitted within neighborhoods along with the traffic and added burdens on City services to name just two. To say there was some push-back against this idea is an understatement. Here is the excerpt from the blog post cited above: 
     I [Wes Blackman] could see certain areas identified where an overlay zoning district (something like the Arts Overlay District, but designed to a specific neighborhood or two) that would allow for an expanded and relaxed standard for home occupations, perhaps targeting particularly blighted areas. Or, one suggestion by ACE, a pilot "roll out" where only a limited number of these licenses are issued and there is more of an opportunity for close monitoring of the results (both positive and negative) with the City's limited resources in mind.
     I suggest further study at a very deliberate pace to allow a thorough vetting by everyone, including those that would be adversely impacted by these proposals. I believe the group plans a series of presentations before neighborhood groups. This is a good thing! Remember though, many of our Lake Worth homeowners bought a property in a residential neighborhood for that specific reason, it is residential, and they expect the City's zoning code to protect their investment.
If you recall the news about the Gulf Stream hotel re-zoning, this only concerned a very small area in downtown Lake Worth:
The tiny white dot is the Gulf Stream hotel and proposed project area.
A re-zoning of residential neighborhoods, if that is ever seriously discussed in the future, will affect neighborhoods throughout the City:
The entire City zoning map. Can you see the little white dot?
There is no need to be concerned about this now. However, if you think or someone else you know thinks that this sounds like a good idea remember how another 'good' idea turned out: The City's Casino building at the beach is still losing money after all the promises and projections that first began in 2010.

If you're wondering how the Gulf Stream hotel re-zoning to save the historic hotel fared at the Lake Worth City Commission here is the final result: