Saturday, August 11, 2012

Railway company to build passenger service from Miami to Orlando | Reuters

News on the high speed rail line linking Miami and Orlando.  This looks like it's going to happen folks.  Click title for link.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Resiliency in Lake Worth

If you could distill one message from Commissioner Mulvehill's presentation Tuesday night on her presentation and attendance at the ICLEI conference - emphasis on if you could - it would likely be that if you are in charge of building new public infrastructure, it better be up to the task to handle the every-increasing risks presented by natural disasters.  It is cheaper to spend money ahead of time in order that a public project is done correctly and in a state-of-the-art manner - including being up to current building code standards.

The beach and casino redevelopment project is an example of a significant amount of public money being spent on public property.  It is also adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean which has been known to spawn strong hurricanes that can do massive damage to buildings built along the coast.  That is why the state of Florida has something called a Coastal Construction Control Line.  When you build something seaward of that line, you must adhere to stricter building code standards - if it is considered new construction or, in the building code's lingo, substantial improvement - meaning more than 50 percent of the value of an existing building is being replaced.

The city tried to dance around this issue and say that the casino building was not considered a substantial improvement so that it could claim it was a renovation and make the political claim that it was saving the building.  So besides deciding to leave the building essentially where it was and ignore other opportunities for less risky locations to be found on the same property, it also decided not to harden the structural essence of the building - putting the building on pilings so that if the land underneath it washes away, that public investment would still be there or at least have less damage than otherwise.

Remember the Inspector General's report on the casino building?  It found that 96% of the building represented a substantial improvement - or new construction.  The report also recommended that research be performed to determine what other code issues may come into play given this building code classification - something that the city attempted to get around.  Going back to the building code requirements, if the building that is being built does not include the required pilings, it must be protected by a seawall that is up to the task.  Here is the code language:

 FBC 3109.4:

a.      The top must be at or above the still water level, including setup, for the design storm plus the breaking wave calculated at its highest achievable level based on the maximum eroded beach profile and highest surge level combination, and must be high enough to preclude run-up overtopping.

b.      The armoring must be stable under the design storm including maximum localized scour, with adequate penetration and toe protection to avoid settlement, toe failure or loss of material from beneath or behind the armoring.

c.       The armoring must have sufficient continuity or return walls to prevent flanking under the design storm from impacting the proposed construction.

d.      The armoring must withstand the static and hydrodynamic forces of the design storm.

The city contracted for a study of the seawall.  It didn't address any of these items - whether or not the existing seawall met any of the above requirements.  It chiefly deals with aesthetic issues and saltwater damage and not much more.

We are now aware that the pool itself is settling or was damaged in some manner.  After 30 years of discussion, we are finally doing something to improve the beach - but could it all just be a waste of money should we have a big storm.

Resiliency seems to be a reason to go to international conferences but it is something different if you actually have to apply the principle locally.  Eh hem....

Can we have an adequate study of the seawall to determine if it is sufficient to protect our new investment in our beachfront property?  It is my understanding that doing the superficial improvements recommended in the "study" have already been submitted for building permit approval. Are the improvements that are being done going to have to be re-done if the seawall is found inadequate for the protection of the casino building?  What sort of cost is involved in a more exhaustive study and what are the cost and time implications for the actual work to upgrade the seawall should the new study recommend that?  There are some people that think that the building shouldn't get a certificate of occupancy before the seawall is addressed.

Resiliency...fine to talk about in Germany but impossible to practice in our own hometown.

WPEC-TV CBS12 Treasure Coast News - Police arrest man for stealing 57 campaign signs in Stuart

Held on $14,250 bail.  Click title for link to article.

Reopening of South Ocean Boulevard delayed two weeks

Click title for link to article.  The opening is now planned for August 24th.  This is the section of the road between Southern Boulevard and Sloan's Curve.

Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day...

Excerpt of Commissioner Mulvehill's presentation from the 8/7/12 City Commission meeting on what she learned during her trip to Bonn, Germany.

For your information...

Mark Parrilla has decided not to run for the District #2 City Commission seat at this time.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

From Historic Palm Beach County! FaceBook Page

U.S.1/ Dixie Hwy, at Lake Avenue looking northeast.  Date unknown.  Photo by Elliot Adcock.  Note architectural details on building back gound.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

For those of you who missed it...

This is the editorial which appeared in the August 2, 2012 edition of the Lake Worth Herald.  It is re-published here with permission:
Building Heights in Lake Worth have become an issue once again and it is the same players on both sides. Some of the players are, as usual, in the public, but the most dangerous players are behind the scenes. If those in the public could think for themselves, the wedges of division would not run so deep.Lake Worth needs responsible growth and the movement to change the charter is bent on no growth, without compromise. This group thinks their way is the only way and there is no room for compromise. This is the same group that spent nearly 9 million dollars from the fund balance with no effort to replace it, and then added Fire assessments. The same group that says $25,000 is too much to spend to hold an election in March, but $100,000 was not too much to spend an a worthless study to undo one of the best decisions made in Lake Worth’s history, the hiring of PBSO. The present commission repealed the assessments, by a 3-2 vote.
Lake Worth needs to build to heights east of Federal that can accommodate a hotel to increase the tax base and attract visitors.Commissioner Scott Maxwell asked that a moratorium, or whatever is legal, be placed on any development in the downtown district that exceeds the heights specified in the charter amendment until after the March 2013 ballot results are counted. This was a compromise put forth to give time for the ballot question to be explained to the general public in an honest way.The petition has been mired with accusations of misrepresentation, slanted to indicate over building. Petitioners use the Lucerne as an example, but don’t inform anyone that this could not happen again in Lake Worth. It was their leaders that changed things to insure this would not be permitted in the downtown area.After four years on the dais, Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill suddenly sees a need to change the charter, without regard to the charter provisions by forcing a vote down the throats of Lake Worth in November. It wasn’t an issue for three and a half years, why is it necessary to do it in 90 days?With her coat tails filled with miscreants, who will stand before the commission and twist facts without stuttering, this malcontent commissioner will continue to spin untruths upon the public. It is the likes of these that would post the antics of “texting,” to the dais as a tactic of the majority when it was their dearly beloved that got caught, with the ringleader in the crowd.Ten percent is enough to get an item on a ballot, it is not a mandate to elected officials or the public, especially when the public wasn’t even sure what they were signing.Lake Worth is poised to move forward and this “little ladies club with a few others” is standing in the way again.
Lake Worth needs “responsible growth” not demagoguery from the few outspoken.

Accused drug kingpin linked to Lake Worth City Commissioner

I am sorry, but this is getting a little ridiculous.  Anyone who is a candidate is accepting monetary or in-kind contributions from many people.  Is the expectation that a candidate do a background check on those that are giving contributions to their campaign?  Or are we saying that it is the responsibility of a candidate, especially if elected, that they are to monitor the behavior of campaign contributors for years after the campaign?  And, what does it mean if a contributor is accused of committing a criminal act?  Commissioner Amoroso says there is no relationship with the business or the person involved - what else does he have to do?  Click title for link to a WPTV story.

I remember during one of my campaigns someone called me and told me that one of their neighbors they suspected was taking part in an abusive personal relationship had a sign of mine in their yard.  He told me that because this neighbor was supporting me, he wouldn't be voting for me.  My response was that I can't perform a background check on everyone that is actively supporting my campaign - or know everything there is to know about a supporter.  There are many reasons why people vote for someone - if they are a registered voter they can vote.  Is it the candidate's responsibility to vet their supporters? 

I just don't know where this line of thinking is taking us...period.

Lake Worth City Commission approves 65-foot buildings east of...

I listened and watched the City Commission meeting from home last night...most of it at least.  The Commission actually engaged in a thoughtful discussion of the Comprehensive Plan, the soon to come land development regulations (LDRs) and the Charter.  The headline of the PBP again makes it seem like the Commission approved multiple 65 foot structures last night, which could not be farther from the truth. But, that seems to be where the PBP is most comfortable - staying as far away from the truth as possible.  Click title for link.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Less parking, more parklets: City hopes new 'people spots' will increase foot traffic; first designs are more pragmatic than creative

Chicago rolls out a program to replace certain on street parking spaces as "parklets" - click title for link to story.

Seen at Bryant Park this past Saturday...

Not sure what the wind drag coefficient is, but it gets points for resourcefulness and originality!


Mark Parrilla enjoying breakfast at Benny's on the Beach
Mark Parrilla has picked up and is preparing his qualifying paperwork to be a candidate in the District #2 Commissioner race.  He expects to complete the process by Friday of this week.

Congratulations Mark!  I know this is a big step for you and it is a hopeful sign for our community.