Monday, October 9, 2017

UPDATE: From NBC5/WPTV reporter Alanna Quillen, “Lake Worth neighbors hit roadblocks in upgrading historic homes against hurricanes”.

The news report from WPTV is below.
Here’s the latest update:

Stay tuned for these two items to be addressed by the Lake Worth City Commission some time very soon:
  • RFP 17-210, “Lake Worth Historical Resources Survey Update, Phase 2”.
  • RFP 17-211, “Lake Worth Historic Preservation Design Guidelines”.
[RFP  =  Request For Proposal.]

There has been an “Intent to Award” for both items and last Thursday (Oct. 5th) an evaluation meeting with the City’s Community Sustainability Dept. on RFP 17-210.

We’re going to need a lot of neighborhood and community involvement in this process. 

This is an opportunity to fix all the problems with the Historic Preservation program, once and for all, and maybe even expand the program west of Dixie Hwy. to save our City’s history “on the other side of the tracks”.

The news from WPTV:

This WPTV news segment is datelined Sept. 29th
(see below for excerpts from text in this news report).

In the video below Anthony Marotta, president of the Parrot Cove Neighborhood Assoc. and District 2 Commissioner Omari Hardy are interviewed by reporter Alanna Quillen (following a brief commercial message):

No City staff or management was interviewed which is not surprising considering what happened at the Commission meeting last August 16th following the “tipping point” reached in January 2016 and the “boiling point” in June of that year. If the City staff was hoping the mood of public anger and frustration with the management of the City’s Historic Preservation program would just go away or dissipate they are very mistaken.

If anything, Hurricane Irma reinforced in many people’s minds the need for change, a different approach from City staff. Ordinances are one thing. How they are interpreted is another thing altogether.

At the City Commission on August 2nd this year is the exchange that summed up the situation perfectly:

Mayor Pam Triolo asked City Manager Michael Bornstein, “You live in College Park. You don’t
live in a historic district do you?”

Bornstein responded, “I intentionally did it that way.”

Without further ado, excerpts from the text of the news segment on WPTV:

LAKE WORTH, Fla. — We still have about five weeks left in hurricane season, five weeks left of fear for some homeowners that a storm may significantly damage or destroy their most important investment.
     If you think its costly to secure your own home, people who live in homes designated as “historic” face not only cost, but also red tape.
     Anthony Marotta and some of his Lake Worth neighbors want to protect their treasures from hurricanes but history and beauty comes with a hidden cost.
     Marotta, who serves as president of the Parrot Cove Neighborhood Association, lives in a 105-year-old home but because the home has been designated “historic”, he has faced some roadblocks in installing storm shutters.
     “Things that should be very simple such as hardening ones homes against hurricanes, we’re being hamstrung by decisions people made 100 years ago,” he said. [emphasis added]

and. . .

     Marotta said people are spending thousands of dollars on costly upgrade requirements, permits and push back from the board on what you can and can’t do.
     “There are people in favor of the historic program but they just want it balanced better to where the costs are so high and the challenges aren’t as great,” he said.

the last excerpt. . .

     “The hurricane’s not enough for them apparently,” said [Commissioner Omari] Hardy. “That was really disappointing for me because here at local government, we hear from the people a lot more than those bureaucrats in Tallahassee.”
     Hardy believes Lake Worth will appeal the state’s rejection [of rewriting Historic Preservation ordinances].
     “If we have a solution, that helps make people’s lives better in Lake Worth, we should be allowed to do that,” he said. “Don’t handcuff us and tie our hands when we’re trying to help the people who elected us.”

Well put. Our elected leaders will ultimately be the ones to fix all this and am fully confident they will.