Saturday, March 9, 2013

Harry's weighs in...

Irony of Ironies

This letter from the Respectful Planning Lake Worth PAC was sent to all residents of Lake Worth Towers - which happens to be the tallest building in the city LOOMING over single family neighborhoods.  In fact, the building might be able to be seen from the Chair of the PAC's house - maybe even her backyard. Oh, my, the invasion of privacy!

The letter doesn't ask the question where those seniors would live if building heights were limited to 35 and 45 feet when the building was constructed.  By the way, both Palm Beach and West Palm Beach are older than Lake Worth and both exist on the Lake Worth Lagoon.

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."

Daily Affirmation #16 - "Vote Yes - Make LW less than what it is & has always been!"

Friday, March 8, 2013

WPEC-TV CBS12 News :: News - Top Stories - Pros and cons: Lake Worth height limit vote

Interview that appeared on air yesterday.  Who's that on the bike?  Click title for link.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Addison Mizner

“Florida is flat as a pancake. You must build with a strong skyline to give your building character.”

Greg Rice - Lake Worth's Biggest Local Celebrity 03/08 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Blog Talk Radio

Join me as I welcome Lake Worth resident Greg Rice to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios.  As many of you know, Greg regularly appears on Hulett Environmental Services advertisements on TV.  He is also active in Lake Worth civic activities and has his own interesting life story which I am sure that he will share with us during the show. 

Click title for link to live show at noon on 3/8.  Click title for link to archived show after it airs. (Re-scheduled from two weeks ago due to technical difficulties)

Group Building 'Noah's Ark' Outside Hialeah | WLRN

I scarcely know what to say about this, other than it couldn't be built here, with or without the referendum on height.  However, you might just hear of just such a possibility when greeting "Yes" people at your door.   Click title for link.

Not far from the vision "Yes" vote promoters on building heights are communicating to residents about conditions here in Lake Worth...

Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Association Flolfing Tournament

Palm Beach Post Readers Deserting Online Paper!

Click title for link.  Some mood music for the occasion:

Message from Jorge Pesquera, Pres. of PB County Convention & Visitor Bureau

"The city of Lake Worth provides a distinct and highly attractive urban and waterfront experience to Palm Beach County visitors and residents alike. It has been a magnet for travelers for over a century and the recent renovation of the Lake Worth Casino facility and park add another dimension to the city’s tourism appeal. What it very much lacks is a significant hotel presence in or near the core of its Lake and Lucerne business and entertainment district. Overnight visitors attracted by Lake Worth and its multiple festivals, exhibits and events may be opting for accommodations in neighboring cities that provide such options thus reducing the economic benefit for the city. The renovation and reopening of the Gulfstream hotel would be a tremendous boost to the city’s tourism development efforts and will create many permanent jobs. Recent suggestions to enact reduced height limits will be a major deterrent to the rebirth of the historic Gulfstream hotel. The Convention and Visitors Bureau’s vision for the successful development of Palm Beach County’s tourism industry is dependent on the cities’ and towns’ commitment to grow their tourism product and appeal. We urge Lake Worth residents to reject height restrictions east of the business district and support a Gulfstream Hotel renovation and expansion in the near term. "

Jorge Pesquera
President & CEO
Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Daily Affirmation #15 - "Vote Yes - Cara, JoAnn, Suzanne, Christopher, Lynn, Larry and Dee want you to."

Proverbs 4:14-19 (NIV)

14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
    or walk in the way of evildoers.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
    turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot rest until they do evil;
    they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
    shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
    they do not know what makes them stumble.

Vids from the 3/5/13 Lake Worth City Commission Meeting

I left at the break and do not have a video of the discussion on the Sub-Regional Sewer settlement.  Enjoy!

Historic Pasco hotel to get new life || Business Observer | Tampa Bay, Bradenton, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples

The new life is in the form of intervention from the residents of New Port Richey.  Click title for link to article.  Note the following:
Built in 1920, the Hacienda Hotel was called a “Bit of Old Spain Amid the Palms” and was a favorite of silent film stars. The hotel eventually became an assisted-living facility, and since 2006 has been vacant.
From better days:

Lake Worth customers’ bills expected to drop in spring as part... |

This is one of the bigger items from last night's meeting.  Lake Worth went from claiming that our customers owed us tons of money and it turns out we owe them - and us - mostly.  This is from the article - another legacy from the Stanton period.  She turned down a settlement in the range of about $3 million since she was confident (ha!)) in the city's numbers.  From the article:

"The settlement gives refunds to all of the partners except Palm Springs, which has been withholding a portion of its payments because of the disputed charges. If the agreement is approved by Palm Springs officials, the village would pay $52,708 to Lake Worth Utilities.
Payments to sewer system partners will be made using money from reserves. They include: $222,299 to Lantana; $262,406 to Palm Beach; $58,639 to Atlantis; $58,028 to Palm Beach State College; $34,631 to South Palm Beach; and $8,753 to Manalapan.
Lake Worth sued the regional sewer partners in 2010, claiming they failed to make payments as required, particularly for the “renewal and replacement” fund used to cover costs associated with maintaining sewer lines, lift stations and the East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility, the plant where the sewage is treated.
The dispute was handled through the government conflict resolution process outlined in Florida law and led to a state audit. The audit found vague contract terms, inconsistent cost calculations and poor record keeping by Lake Worth Utilities."

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


"Many people are wanting to fan your flames of discomfort, because they believe that "you're either with us or against us; if you don't stand in the same disgust and horror that we are all standing, then you are not with us." It's hard for people to understand that you can not agree with them — and not be against them. That you could be for something without being against something else."

Sunday, March 3, 2013

From last night...(re-posted from 6/19/12)

Mother/daughter outfits?

One of the points made at the 2/20 joint meeting... the chair of the Respectful Planning PAC, Laurel Decker, was that if we allowed 65 ft. buildings next to the Gulfstream, we would be covering up the western facade of the historic hotel.

Well, guess what - this picture was taken from the corner of South Ocean Breeze (O Street) and Lake Avenue.  It was taken while the banner on the building was up.  You can't see it now - that is my point.  The existing buildings block view of the empty, vacant and unused hotel already regardless of what would be there in the future.  So, pick another argument to hang your hat on...

"What if" Presentation by Steven Fett from the University of Miami - Part I

William Waters, the city's Director of Community Sustainability, tapped the expertise of the University of Miami Architectural Department and had Steven Fett prepare a series of "what ifs" for the various lots prone to possible redevelopment east of Federal Hwy.  These were prepared for the joint Planning and Zoning, Historic Resource Preservation Board meeting of 2/20.  I will prepare each over time to post here, but we will start out with the western lot at the Gulfstream property since it has seemed to garner the most attention.

It is important to look at the assumptions and all are situations where the development is "maxed out" according to the new code requirements contained in the city's proposed land development regulations.  To be clear - the only buildings that could be built to 65 feet would be hotels of 50 or more units - any office or condominium building would be limited to 45 ft.  The prospect that each of these lots would be developed with at least a 50 room hotel stretches the imagination, but this shows what the extreme would be under the proposed code.  A conservative analysis it is.  It is also important to realize that this would happen gradually over time, with the various properties finding an opportunity, governed by market forces.  It is not likely that the three or four bank related properties would be redeveloped any time soon.

This would be in the event 65 ft. were allowed east of Federal, as included in the current version of the city's comprehensive plan.

From Friday night's dedication ceremony at the Lake Worth beach...

I am pleased that the official proclamation from the city includes the fact that the former building was demolished - telling it like it is...or was.