Friday, December 16, 2016

Explained: Building height limits in the little City of Lake Worth.

The image below is a nice recap. Please remember this next time you hear “Knock Knock” at the door and then get handed a flyer (like the one later in this blog post), and that smiling face says a high-rise is going to be built down the street from you:

Our height limits keep our little City “charming”. Isn’t that a lovely word? But it’s true. Lake Worth will never be like downtown West Palm Beach or Boca.

Let’s take a look back to what many people found on their door back in 2013 leading up the ‘heights vote’ that had nothing to do with keeping “Lake Worth LOW RISE”:
Lake Worth was already “LOW RISE” in 2013. The ‘heights vote’ was about one thing: Making sure our City would never have viable, successful hotel in the Downtown.

As we continue to deal with the twisted ‘facts’ let’s examine the propaganda above from the ‘Respectful Planning’ PAC that tricked people into voting to reduce the Downtown height limit to 45′:

“Provides clear, community-supported guidelines
What “community” are we talking about? It would have been imposed by a small minority within a City of 35,000+ residents.
“Increases tax base without burdening City services
No evidence whatsoever for this claim. How does reducing building height in the City’s core increase the tax base? The height limit in the Downtown hotel district is 65′. Lowering that to 45′ would increase the tax base? What additional infrastructure would be required for a 65′ structure that would not be required for a 45′ one?
“Promotes reinvestment in historic and vacant properties
How does a height limit ‘promote’ reinvestment Downtown? Vacant properties are less likely to be built on if they are made less economically attractive.
“Protects the Gulfstream
Yes, we all Love the Gulfstream. But a 45′ height limit would have made redevelopment of the Gulfstream less likely because it seriously reduces development capacity (i.e., land value) on the adjacent properties along Lakeside Drive. These lots are an integral part of the Gulfstream property. Let’s get real. The Gulfstream may be an iconic property but it is not economically designed for modern standards. If it were it would have been restored already.
“Allows construction of a new boutique hotel
A meaningless statement. What exactly is a boutiquehotel? Where exactly would it be built in the Downtown? Is one of the characteristics of a “boutiquehotel that it is no taller than 45′? Who devised that rather convenient rule?
“Does not limit development in the Park of Commerce
An irrelevant and gratuitous statement.
“Supported by residents during the Master Plan process
Completely untrue and patently dishonest. Height limits city-wide were discussed as part of the Master Plan process (you may recall the multi-year process squandered $1.2 million in public funds). The proposal to limit heights Downtown was never discussed in any way and would undoubtedly have been rejected had it been proposed.
“1700 registered voters signed the petition
So what? What were they told? What scare tactics were used to get signatures? Its less than 5% of the City's population.
“Follows the low-rise trend of many Florida coastal communities
Trendin coastal communities? Some are high rise, some are low rise and everything in between. Each community has its own vision. Also keep in mind our coastalcommunity is limited to the length of the beach. The communities cited by Respectful Planning’ are communities with actual oceanfront coastlines. Many of these cities are struggling with redevelopment where existing single family neighborhoods exist. That is not Lake Worth’s problem.

Once again, the lies, mis- and disinformation continue. The names of the PAC’s may change but the goal is the same: to confuse the public. Don’t be fooled again.

The view west from Golfview and 1st Ave. South? This is one of the images passed out in 2013 to trick people into voting to limit heights in the Downtown.

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