Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The City Commission asked what we can do to bring in more revenue for the general fund.

I took these pictures back in January of 2010.  They are of vacant lots along South Federal Hwy.  This area of the city is outside the CRA and tax dollars from these now unimproved properties would go directly to the city's general fund.  Granted, market forces have played a role in keeping these properties unimproved, but what has the city done to find an economically viable and environmentally sustainable land use pattern for this part of the city?  After over $1 million spent on the Master Plan process, we still have a Comprehensive Plan that is not in full compliance (The final ruling from the administrative hearing officer is due out anytime now.)  We have an artificial height limit that was put in place to win an election - so that those who won could keep Lake Worth a "low rise" city.  How about a "no rise" city?  Or a city fallen?  The three story limit in some areas acts as a de facto moratorium on redevelopment - which is perfectly fine for the majority on the dais.

In the meantime, we find that we cannot maintain basic levels of municipal services.  The City Commission is about to lower levels of service for public safety - in police, fire and lifeguard services - which would imperil people and property along the way.  Apparently we are learning the costs of pandering to the voting public.

The "Gateways" - 6th and 10th Avenues - are ready for mixed use redevelopment which encourages the assemblage of property for a cohesive development pattern that provides a buffer between the high volume roads having exits on to I-95 and the interior neighborhoods.  This is the other half of the Gateway projects that have yet to happen.  With the city's other current pock marks, this is a hard sell.

A well-staffed, professionally run planning department would be a good place to start, but the chance of that happening now are slim.