Saturday, March 9, 2013

All Rise! Comes this now from one of our elected officials, one with a Ph.D. no less

The following missive sent in response to "misleading" Vote No signs:

From: Christopher McVoy []
Sent: Friday, March 08, 2013 3:33 PM
To: Jaene Miranda (CEO of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce)
Cc: Howard Willie (Reporter for the Palm Beach Post)
Subject: Signs - Accurate or Misleading?

Hi Jaene,

Thank you very much for talking with me. I appreciate that the Chamber may take positions that I do not agree with from time to time. What I was not aware of when I called was the actual text on the signs in front of the Chamber (I had not zoomed in).

Unless you can explain to me how voting "No" will, as stated on the sign, "Help Lake Worth Stay Lo-Rise," I respectfully ask that the signs be immediately removed. I have no problem with signs that say vote No, but these signs are deliberately misleading and need to go.

Please let me know how this will be addressed. I would be appreciative of hearing back today!

Thanks Jaene y saludos,

Christopher McVoy, Ph.D.
City Commissioner, District 2, Lake Worth

Commissioner "Doc" McVoy, let me attempt to offer an explanation that you seek by "zooming in."  Being a man of science, I am sure that you appreciate facts and empirical data.  Let me share some of just that with you:
  • The "Vote Yes" signs that sprang up like mushrooms include the phrase "Keep Lake Worth Low-Rise."  
  • This statement means that people that support a "Yes" vote recognize that in early 2013 the city of Lake Worth is currently "low-rise."  This is true even though Lake Worth has eight or so buildings that are clearly over 55 feet and a cluster of buildings that height or higher east of Federal along Lake and Lucerne Avenues.
  • The opposite of "yes" is "no".  So if a "yes" vote is for a low-rise Lake Worth, then the vote "yes" sign implies that a "no" vote is for a high-rise Lake Worth.  This is deliberately misleading as the measure on the ballot does not cover the entire city of Lake Worth - only a very small area which includes what could be referred to as our downtown area (the vote "yes" signs imply that the entire city would remain low-rise if a "yes" vote prevails) 
  • An existing provision in the city charter states that buildings east of Dixie Hwy can be built up to 65 feet and up to 100 feet west of Dixie Hwy.  This has been part of the city charter since 1996 and it was the product of an affirmative vote by the majority of the electorate at that time.  Since that time, only two buildings have been built that are at or close to 65 in height.  Even with those two limited examples, the "yes" camp believes that the city of Lake Worth is a "low-rise" city in early 2013.
  • Even with these provisions in place, despite two exceptions to the contrary, those liberal city charter allowances for maximum height have not produced a "high-rise" city.
  • The Comprehensive Plan has already been amended to reflect the ballot measure's maximum height of 45 feet between Dixie and Federal.  There would be no change required to the Comp Plan if a "no" vote prevails, so this large part of the central downtown area would remain "low-rise" - true to the new "no" sign's claim.
  • In the area east of Federal, along Lake and Lucerne, we already have a cluster of "high-rise" buildings that might average around thee 65 ft. mark.  These buildings have been there for a long time - one is on the National Register of Historic Places - and was one of the first major buildings built on the city's waterfront.  Yet, even with this cluster of "high-rise" buildings, according to the "yes" camp, Lake Worth is still a "low-rise" city.  An addition to that historic property or a few other buildings at that height, with required parking and meeting other development regulations might approach 65 ft. - but only if they are hotels which would be over 50 units and they meet all other requirements.  Anything not being a hotel or a hotel having less than 50 units could only be built to 45 ft. - thus keeping nearly all the area east of Federal "low-rise" and consistent with the proposed charter amendment.
  • So, in conclusion, the "yes" sign is intentionally misleading and designed to spread fear that Lake Worth will somehow instantly become a "high rise" city if the "no" vote prevails.  
  • It then follows that a "no" vote will preserve Lake Worth essentially as it is, with the opportunity for new development, jobs and tourist dollars in an area that is already "high rise" in character and that has been historically "high-rise."