Tuesday, February 12, 2019

UPDATE: Today. Seven days late. The Palm Beach Post finally got around to reporting big news from last week.

Here is that undramatic headline,

Lake Worth considering downtown
parking garage

This headline and story appears in the print edition, below the fold on p. B1 and jumps to p. B4. On the front page are two decidedly negative quotes in opposition to a new parking garage which is to be expected. On the jump page there finally comes a quote in support:

“I think parking between Lake Avenue and First Avenue South will buffer the Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Association,” she [Barbara Resch] said. “We can do it creatively and it doesn’t have to be hugely tall. Parking is needed.”

Also quoted in the story is a former commissioner. The reporter, however, neglected to mention that Chris McVoy has a PhD. One reason why Chris McVoy, PhD, is a former commissioner is because the editor called him a “gadfly” two years ago in the endorsement for current Commissioner Omari Hardy.

And then there is this quote by City Manager Michael Bornstein:

“There’s nothing nefarious here.”

To learn more about how non-nefarious this story actually is, at the end of this blog post is a video of Bornstein explaining what is happening. In fact, most if not all of the quotes in the Post come from the City’s YouTube video from last Tuesday.

The vote at the City Commission was 4-1 in favor with Hardy in opposition. So now both the former and current commissioner in District 2 oppose a parking garage in the Downtown. Makes one wonder what the formerly former District 2 Commissioner Cara Jennings thinks about this development.

For more information about this issue. . .

Below is the news in last week’s Lake Worth Herald and also last week there was a very brief news account on the TV news by WPTV’s Tania Rogers as well.

Here is the headline in the Herald above the fold on the front page last week:

CRA to Get Sales Tax Dollars for Parking and Development

In the accompanying photo was this caption:

The CRA now has the money to acquire the properties to the south of their existing parking lot and develop a parking garage.

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The major story last week in Lake Worth Herald is below. A good summary of what is going on. At the end of this blog post is a YouTube video of a significant portion of the meeting where this topic was discussed at the City Commission.

This topic became news on WPTV last week which is about as helpful as trying to explain the quantum field theory in about thirty seconds.

But Director Joan Oliva of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) did her very best. To see that news report datelined Wednesday, Feb. 6th click on this link.

Here is a short excerpt from that news report on WPTV:

Joan Oliva, Executive Director for the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency told WPTV parking in the downtown area can be a problem.

"We hear over and over again from the downtown property owners specifically the merchants that there are not enough places for parking,” said Oliva.

Once again sadly this issue presented an opportunity for political grandstanding at the Lake Worth City Commission. And worse yet, there are two more scheduled Commission meetings coming up on February 19th and March 5th.

But because terms for elected officials are now three years there will be no election of candidates in 2020. Hallelujah! Hang on folks, March 12th is Election Day. That is only twenty-eight (28) days away and after that everything will return to normal.

Briefly, before we get to the Herald what happened is Mayor Pam Triolo was late in arriving. The Commission meeting began at 6:00 and the mayor took the gavel from Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso at 8:00. Prior to the mayor’s arrival there were several motions and votes that took up a lot of time due to split 2-2 votes. Taking an agenda item off Consent is usually a very easy thing to do.

But anyhow. . .

The public once again had to sit through another display of political theater which is very unfortunate because presentations and proclamations many came to see were delayed including the much-anticipated one for Messrs. Kevin Addison and Sam Hamilton.

Finally it was decided, with help from City Attorney Glen Torcivia and Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso, to move the item on the Consent Agenda to Item C under “New Business”:

Interlocal Agreement with CRA for acquisition and development of downtown property for a public parking area.

What became Item 12C finally passed on a 4-1 vote at 9:30 with Commissioner Omari Hardy being the lone “No” vote.

Now on to the news in The Lake Worth Herald, two substantial excerpts:

After several attempts to pull the item from the consent agenda, the CRA and City have an agreement approved by the City Commission. Several people were upset the item was on the consent agenda and attempts to remove it met a roadblock at a vote of 2-2, Mayor Pam Triolo was not in attendance.

The Interlocal Agreement provides funding to the CRA for the acquisition and development of downtown property for the purpose of a public parking area in the amount of $547,140.

The City has been partnering with the CRA to acquire and assemble parcels in and around the downtown area in order to provide for public parking areas and future development. The city believes parking areas are needed to stimulate investment and redevelopment in the downtown area.

The CRA has purchased 16 S. L Street, the property adjacent to two CRA-owned parking lots. In partnership with the City, the CRA was purchased lots 24, 26, 30 and 32 S. L Street. These rental units were owned by one individual and bought as a bulk purchase. In October of 2018, the City and the CRA also purchased 17 S. M as well as 23 S. M.

The CRA owns 1.40 acres in the Downtown area. According to City staff, this assemblage of properties could provide desired and needed public parking spaces, and an opportunity for a redevelopment project. In an effort to assemble downtown properties to provide for future parking and development needs, the CRA proposes to purchase two properties at 1st Avenue South and K Street, just south of the City-owned lot at 19 S. K, with sales tax funded money from the City. The City-owned lots are 0.5424 acres and the two additional lots, if purchased, include a total of 0.18 acres, for a total of 0.722 acres or 31,450 square feet.

The acquired property in this area gives the City enough area to build a future parking garage on K Street and provide additional public parking called for in the recent parking study conducted by WGI. The L and M Street properties can be developed for additional housing and commercial units.

City Manager Michael Bornstein said, “The addition of residents and supporting businesses will spur further growth in the downtown, increase activity for our local businesses and provide much needed units within walking distance to the downtown further enhancing the walkable, livable lifestyle for which Lake Worth is known.”

and. . .

The agreement between the City and the CRA includes that the transferred funds and purchased parcels must be utilized consistent with the requirements for the City’s surtax funds or the CRA will be required to transfer the surtax funds back to the City or transfer the parcels to the City.

The City agrees in the Agreement to process the moving and/or demolition of the existing structures on the parcels to be purchased by the CRA in accordance with the City’s code of ordinances for such structures. Further, the parcels will revert to the City when the CRA dissolves.

To read the entire article you can pick up the print edition at the City’s newsstand located at 205 N. Federal Hwy. The Herald is still just ¢50.

And lastly here is a YouTube video of City Manager Michael Bornstein explaining the situation quite succinctly prior to the vote which was 4-1 in favor:

Hope you found this information helpful and as always, Thank You for visiting once again.