Thursday, April 27, 2017

Still waiting for a response from the environmental activists in Lake Worth.

The blog post below, first posted in November of 2016 and re-posted several times since, continues to be unanswered and ignored by the environmental community here in the City of Lake Worth. The questions posed below could have been addressed by Drew Martin last year, or any one of a number of experts, or self-described experts, in the field of environmental science including a former commissioner with a PhD.
But no one ever did step up to the challenge. Why? Probably the prospect of reading more excerpts from the book, “Eastward Ho!” would be too much to bear, let alone try to answer.

At a recent Lake Worth City Commission meeting Mayor Pam Triolo, again, expressed frustration with what are called “County impact fees”. These are fees developers, builders, etc., have to pay to move forward with a project. The amount of money these developers, et al., had to pay was not insignificant — dollars that were then sent by the County to communities, some far out west near the Everglades — and the City of Lake Worth received just pennies on the dollar in return.

You can understand now the frustration of Mayor Triolo. And you’re probably more unhappy, or maybe even angry, many of you had to vote for a $40M bond to fix our roads.

Without further ado. . .

Thirty-one per cent of the vote in the primary last year surprised no one.

We need to have an open conversation about development in Lake Worth. But that’s a difficult task when so many in the environmental community just say “No” over and over again to development along the I-95 corridor and east towards the coast. Cities like Lake Worth are being severely hurt by urban sprawl out west, taking much-needed tax dollars needed to fix our crumbling infrastructure, ergo the $40 million that Lake Worth voters agreed was needed last November 8th.

Below is “Eastward Ho!” with highlights from Yours Truly:

From page 13, “Eastward Ho! Development Futures: Paths to More Efficient Growth in Southeast Florida” published in 1999, an excerpt:

“This approach [sprawl development] to development often takes land in subdivision-scale parcel sizes to accommodate detached single-family homes and strip nonresidential centers along the outer beltways and spokes from the core of the metropolitan area. Lands are skipped over en route to rural and exurban locations as inner-core city lands are left behind. This pattern is not purposeful or intentional; it has developed because of the belief that there are no societal consequences for consuming land in this way: Land is cheaper there and it can and should be consumed. New infrastructure must be built to accommodate a scattered pattern of low-density land uses, while older infrastructure is undermaintained and abandoned.

Typical features of sprawl are as follows:
  • Very low density new residential development
  • Automobile dependent
  • Uneconomical for utility expansion/extension or other public services
  • Scattered rural subdivisions
  • Strip residential development along county roads
  • Diminished rural character and small-town atmosphere
  • Suburbanization of landscape
  • Loss of unique character; transformation to ‘anytown’ U.S.A.
  • Reduced retail shopping opportunities downtown
  • Strip commercial development at the edges of town
  • Land consumption
  • Inefficient energy storage
  • High ratio of road surface to development served
Take note, this document is almost 300 pages. And special thanks to an old friend who decided to clean out a closet and found this important, and very timely, information.