Saturday, December 21, 2013

A little video from their visit...

Bike-riding Carollers dropped by tonight...Happy Holidays!!

Follow-up to interview with urban planner Joseph Minicozzi...

I hope that you were able to catch yesterday's (12/20) High Noon in Lake Worth episode. After the show, Joe and I had an e-mail exchange which dealt with the efficiency of redevelopment in urban areas, compared to large lot suburban development. During the show, we talked about this concept and he referred to these two images he provided that demonstrate this effect. Joe works for a for-profit development company in Asheville, North Carolina called Public Interest Projects, Inc.
This compares the tax contribution per acre of an Asheville, large lot, big box development outside of the downtown area to the redevelopment of a six story building in downtown Ashville. Yes, six stories, can you imagine? In fact, Joe says during the show that there really is not a significant difference between 45 feet and 65 feet. The most important aspect of a project is the design and that responsibility lies with architects. Of all the aspects of a project, the most important part of the design is how the building interacts with the street. Height should not be the paramount concern.

Back to the graphic above. The six story building, a former J.C. Penney's, has retail on the first floor, office space on the second floor and residential on the upper four stories. It sits on 2/10 of an acre, whereas the Walmart sits on 34 acres. Looking at the chart, you can see how efficient the primarily residential mixed-use development is in the amount of tax revenue created on a per acre basis. Minicozzi says add the fact that a Walmart is built to last 15 years and you have to ask yourself what is going to happen to that property in year 16. Will it become a big "dark box" that seem to be popping up all over the nation? What re-use is possible with this sort of land use? 

Compare that with the six story building downtown which clearly has a longer life than the Walmart. Not only does it generate more tax dollars per acre, it's economic return to the community can continue farther into the future. At 90 residents per acre, probably 45 units an acre of allowable density, it represents a housing type where there is a walkable environment that residents can satisfy their basic retail and entertainment in the downtown area. This can be done without getting in their car. Not so with the big lot, single use Walmart. Given the mixed use nature of the older building, it is generating more jobs per acre than the significantly larger "box" housing Walmart.

Now, let's break from our regularly scheduled programming, and recall Annabeth Karson's farewell to Commissioner Mulvehill. It's important because at the 40 second mark, she begins to state based upon some strange fallacy that residential development, of any kind, takes more in services than it provides in revenue. She congratulates the former Commissioner Mulvehill for her realization of this "fact" during her term as Commissioner.
I have debunked this theory before. It is pretty much a half-truth, and if it does apply, it applies more to new single-family residential development on previously vacant land than it does to new, denser residential development in urban areas. Urban areas already have the infrastructure in place and do not require the public subsidy that goes with new "greenfield" development. That is the ke difference.

Look at the following image which shows the tax revenue contribution of 357 residential units. One is in a downtown location and one is in an automobile-dominated suburban area. Again, we see the efficiency of the urban location in producing property tax revenue.

At a typical suburban density, this example from Sarasota comes in at just a little over 11 units to an acre over 30 some acres. Infrastructure costs to service that type of suburban multi-family residential development are $10 million and the total county tax yield per year is around $238,529, resulting in a 42 YEAR payback period.

The same 357 multi-family residential residential units in downtown Sarasota would consume only 3.4 acres, have almost 50% less costs in providing infrastructure. But in that downtown location, the project would pump out $1,990,900 per year in tax yield to the County. That equates to a payback period of 3 years. The rest contributes to the general fund of the community for as long as the buildings exist. The difference between the county's return on investment is the difference between 2% for the suburban location and 17.6% for the downtown location. And this is for RESIDENTIAL development.

The moral of the story here is do not believe everything you hear when people sashay up to the podium to make a point based on irrelevant facts.

Getting away from the residential example, Joe sent me this quick-and-dirty analysis of two commercial properties with which we are all familiar. One is the Green Orchid building in downtown Lake Worth, home of the Bamboo Room. The other is the Home Depot on Lake Worth Road. This information comes from the Palm Beach County Tax Appraiser's office.
"Just for the heck of it, I ran the value of the Bamboo Room against the value of the Home Depot out on Lake Worth Ave., west of 95.  Here's how they stack up:
Bamboo Room:
Taxable Value - $619,075
Acres - 0.3007
Value Per Acre - $2,058,780
Home Depot:
Taxable Value - $5,517,856
Acres - 12
Value Per Acre - $459,821
So, the Bamboo Room Building is about 4.5x the potency of the Home Depot from a property tax standpoint.  Or another way of looking at it is that if you had 1.4 acres of Bamboo Room Buildings, it would equal the entire property tax production of the 12 acre Home Depot.
Keep this in mind the next time that you think that height, density and intensity should be kept unrealistically low in downtown Lake Worth. We must make efforts to increase and diversify our tax base. We lost 2/3 of its value during the Great Recession.

In another follow-up communication from Joe Minicozzi, he writes this about over-limiting height and the implications of that over the long term:
"Also, thank you for doing the show.  That is an invaluable asset to the community.  Dialog, dialog, dialog.  And an informed one, even better.  I'm a big fan of this Abraham Lincoln quote:"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."
Also, with regard to building height and density, once a community gets locked into that, it sort of limits its future supply of revenue.  Once capped, it begets (or should beget) costs.  Even if the City were to never hire another staffer, costs will still rise.  One would assume that you'd want your folks with seniority to get a raise every once in a while, no?  So where does that new demand in $$ come from?  You can raise taxes, or you can do a new development that increases the tax base.  Anyway, you know the drill there, but it helps when the community talks it through, and so long as they are conscious of the limitations, they need to understand what happens with a decision.  There are plenty of tall buildings in a lot of cities (some that are even 100 years old) and no city was harmed by them.... because they are beautiful.  What I find in community after community, is that no one can have an articulate conversation regarding aesthetics, and that's a real problem.  Perhaps your community has that potential, or perhaps that should be the challenge to the artists, but they need to be engaged in an honest way."
Make sure and listen to the show. Click link above.

Florida makes a run for Santa's workshop...

This is put together by Republican party folks and includes Governor Scott towards the end of the video. It comes off as corny, at best.

Direct mail round-up: Santa Claus attacks Alex Sink - SaintPetersBlog

Peter Schorsch runs a well-known political blog out of St. Petersburg, Florida. Something to check out from time to time. Here he exposes a political attack of Alex Sink by the Republican Party of Florida. I did not know Santa was a Republican. Click title for link.

House Plaques Home Cottage Bungalow Numbers Retro House Plaque Number La Ti Da Retro Designs Old Florida

Cool local source for retro house numbers, in a Florida theme. You've seen them before I am sure. This company also does screen door inserts that emulate some of the ones you see on mid-century homes in Lake Worth. Click title for link to check out the selection.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Palm Beach County Coastal Hazard Statement

Statement as of 8:19 AM EST on December 20, 2013

... Rip current risk in effect through Saturday morning... 

The National Weather Service in Miami has issued a rip current
risk... which is in effect through Saturday morning. 

* Timing... now through Saturday morning.

* Impacts... rip currents are expected along the Atlantic beaches making
for dangerous swimming conditions.

Precautionary/preparedness actions... 

There is a high risk of rip currents.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away
from shore... which occur most often at low spots or breaks in The
Sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as jetties and
piers. Heed the advice of lifeguards and the beach patrol. Pay
attention to flags and posted signs.

If you become caught in a rip current... do not panic. Remain
calm and begin to swim parallel to shore. Once you are away from
the force of the rip current... begin to swim back to the beach.
Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current. Even a
strong swimmer can become exhausted quickly.

Editorial: Check all angles of Rybovich-Related project |

Randy Schultz makes some key observations in this editorial. He talks about both the Chapel-by-the-Lake property and the Rybovich project. There might be a chicken-or-the-egg situation with the Rybovich project, however. From the article, click title for link:
 "But the selling point for the Rybovich-Related project is that it could transform the north end of West Palm Beach, especially west of Broadway. Bring enough new people, and redevelopment will spread. On that point, however, Rybovich Vice President Carlos Vidueira said Wednesday that even if the commission approves the project, nothing will get built until there is action on the crime-ridden areas west of Broadway.
“We must pre-sell 50 to 60 percent of the units,” Mr. Vidueira said. That cannot happen with “no grocery store, no national retailer, nothing in a 3-mile radius” of the project. The city planning staff’s recommendation for approval comes with conditions related to traffic, but nothing related to improvement of Broadway. Couple this with Rybovich’s suggestion that the Community Redevelopment Agency boundaries could be expanded several blocks north to include the project, which Mr. Vidueira said could create opportunities for “more creative financing.”

‘Daily News’ public records request in judge’s hands |

Did you know that releasing a "trade secret" is a third degree felony according to Florida law? Seems that it is. The court case continues with the latest hearing taking place yesterday between the Town of Palm Beach and the Palm Beach Daily News. This is part of the article from the Shiny Sheet, click title for link.
"The town’s dilemma was that the newspaper was asking for records that Sterling said the town couldn’t release because of “trade secrets.”
Elwell testified that the town filed the lawsuit to have the judge decide if Rosow’s documents were public records because this was not a clear-cut issue, from the town’s perspective of whether these are documents that fall under the public records law.
“Being in this unique situation, where there’s a third party that they had rights that may cause the town great exposure for liability. we weren’t going to refuse the public records,” Elwell said. “That was not our fight. But, at the same time, if we provided the public records and they were found to have been provided inappropriately and violated private rights that Sterling had, we would have had a serious problem for the town.”

Safety Advocates Object to Higher Highway Speeds |

Push back on State Senator Jeff Clemens to raise highway speeds appears. Click title for link to article:
"Clemens added that data he’s seen disputes assertions that increasing speeds will increase traffic fatalities.
“I understand that speeding tickets provide an important source of revenue for public safety, but supposed safety experts made the same claims when we repealed the national speed limit,” Clemens said in the release. “The data proves that raising the speed limit has not resulted in more fatalities.”
The bill will be considered in the 2014 session and there is no companion bill in the House.

Satanic Temple considers legal firefight over Florida Capitol display | The News-Press |

This, as predicted, had turned into a slippery slope for the state of Florida. Click title for link to article. Here you see the problem:
The Satanic Temple proposed a display that bannered the phrase "Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple" atop a diorama of an angel falling into hell. A sign on one side of the display referenced Luke 10:18 including the line, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."
The ACLU of Florida issued a statement on Thursday saying it expected such a scenario would occur in which the state would find itself having violated a group's freedom of speech.
"The only way the state could allow the placement of the original religious display, that some officials wanted to promote, was to create a space where any group could put up whatever message they choose," the ACLU of Florida said in a news release. "If state officials are surprised by how this has turned out, then they don’t understand how free speech works."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Hours for the Lake Worth Public Library

The library will be closed on December 22nd thru the 25th in observance for the Christmas holiday. The library will reopen at 10:00am on December 26th. Happy Holidays!!!

Joseph Minicozzi, AICP - Urban Planner/Designer 12/20 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Politics Podcasts

Joseph Minicozzi, AICP is the principal of Urban3, LLC (U3), a consulting company created by the downtown Asheville real estate developer Public Interest Projects. Prior to U3, he served as the Executive Director for the Asheville Downtown Association.  Before moving to Asheville, he was the primary administrator of the Form Based Code for downtown West Palm Beach, FL.  Joe’s cross-training in city planning in the public and private sectors, as well as private sector real estate finance has allowed him to develop award-winning analytic tools that have garnered national attention in Planetizen, The Wall Street Journal, Planning MagazineThe New Urban NewsNational Association of RealtorsAtlantic Cities, and the Center for Clean Air Policy’s Growing Wealthier report.  Joe is a sought after lecturer on city planning issues.  His work has been featured at the Congress for New Urbanism, the American Planning Association, the International Association of Assessing Officers, and New Partners for SmartGrowth conferences as a paradigm shift for thinking about development patterns.

Joe is a founding member of the Asheville Design Center, a non-profit community design center dedicated to creating livable communities across all of Western North Carolina.  He received his Bachelor of Architecture from University of Miami and Masters in Architecture and Urban Design from Harvard University.

Click title for link between 12 and 1 p.m. for the live show or after the show airs for the archived version. Leave questions as comments below.

Here are some images Joe sent along that he'll be referring to in the show. They help to explain the hidden and not-so-hidden cost of urban sprawl.

Florida leads nation in home insurance costs |

Lynne McChristian is quoted in an article which explains why Florida property insurance rates remaining among the highest in the nation. You might recall that Ms. McChristian was a recent High Noon in Lake Worth guest. Click title for link to the article. Here is where she is quoted.
“Simply, Florida is No. 1 for the cost of homeowners insurance because the state is No. 1 for claims payouts for hurricane losses,” said Lynne McChristian, Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute. “This remains true despite eight years without a storm.”
Over a 20-year period, Florida accounted for more than 15 percent of claims paid out for natural disasters, with estimated property losses of $65.6 billion., McChristian said. Texas is second at almost 11 percent and Louisiana is third at more than 9 percent. Combined, these three states account for more than a third of all estimated property losses over the past 20 years, and that’s why the rates are highest in those states, she said."

Clemens to continue fight for beach and lagoon projects |

State Senator Jeff Clemens in Palm Beach talking about the economic importance of beach renourishment. Click title for link to article.
"Association Chairman Lew Crampton introduced Clemens as “a friend, not only to our organization, but to the entire town. It was Jeff’s intercession, at some of the highest levels of state policy at the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection], that led to the work that resulted in the beach management agreement which has made it a lot easier for this town to get certain beach projects permitted. And it’s saving us a lot of money and making things a lot better for us.”
The beach management agreement, signed in September, is a first-of-its-kind approach to regional beach management and is expected to significantly reduce costs, time and uncertainty in the permitting process for beach and inlet projects. The project covers a 15-mile stretch of beach from the Lake Worth Inlet to the Boynton Inlet."

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to join Capitol holiday displays | Tallahassee Democrat |

That rotunda is getting crowded! Give the state high marks for processing the applications for the various displays. Click title for link.

Battle lines drawn in the sands |

Two communities on Florida's west coast near Sarasota duke it out over beach renourishment. This part of the article caught my eye. So when are we going to make sure our seawall by the NEW casino building is up to the task of protecting our investment there?
At least nine hotels and 10 condos line the stretch scheduled for sand, including the Lido Beach Resort, the Helmsley Sandcastle and the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club. The impact of a healthy beach that attracts tourists also extends to the Lido business district centered on St. Armands Circle.
Critics of the plan have suggested Lido's beach is no more eroded than 75 percent of the beaches in Sarasota County.
That may be true, but in this case, the erosion also endangers several buildings.
At high tide, the waves slosh against a row of beach chairs set out at the Ritz condos.
“The day before Thanksgiving, the tide was up to the dune, and there wasn't even a storm,” Kirker said, standing just seaward of the public beach concession stand.

Consortium honored for role in Lake Worth revival |

This is picking up on the press release from the 1000 Friends of Florida regarding the CRA's recent award. You read about that here first. But for those of you who don't recall the specifics of the program, the area targeted and what some of the results were of the NSP2 $23 million grant, it is a great review. Remember, the City Commission at the time did not want to apply for this money and left it to the CRA to apply for, only to be threatened by taking away its powers after it made the application. So glad THAT City Commission is ancient history. Click title for link.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Obama and Climate Change: The Real Story | Politics News | Rolling Stone

 Bill McKibben writes in the current issue of Rolling Stone about Obama's record on climate change and his role in opening up new sources of fossil fuel. To me, we need to focus on consumption. What is explained here is that a whole bunch is being swept under the rug, but it is the same worldwide rug. There is time to create a different record, but time is running out. Click title for link. From the article:
If you want to understand how people will remember the Obama climate legacy, a few facts tell the tale: By the time Obama leaves office, the U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the planet's biggest oil producer and Russia as the world's biggest producer of oil and gas combined. In the same years, even as we've begun to burn less coal at home, our coal exports have climbed to record highs. We are, despite slight declines in our domestic emissions, a global-warming machine: At the moment when physics tell us we should be jamming on the carbon brakes, America is revving the engine.

None of that cures the sting of Obama's policies nor takes away the need to push him hard. Should he do the right thing on Keystone XL, a decision expected sometime in the next six months, he'll at least be able to tell other world leaders, "See, I've stopped a big project on climate grounds." That could, if he used real diplomatic pressure, help restart the international talks he has let lapse. He's got a few chances left to show some leadership.
But even on this one highly contested pipeline, he's already given the oil industry half of what it wanted. That day in Oklahoma when he boasted about encircling the Earth with pipelines, he also announced his support for the southern leg of Keystone, from Oklahoma to the Gulf. Not just his support: He was directing his administration to "cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done."

Armored police Humvee ready for high-risk situations |

Palm Beach gets an armored military surplus Humvee. Menacing look to it. They say it is for emergency situations, like hurricanes, since it has amphibious qualities. Click title for link to the Shiny Sheet article.
The Humvee will assist police officers in high-risk situations, particularly during hurricanes and other emergencies.
The department bought the Humvee, which had 200 miles on it, a few months ago for $1,500 as part of a military-vehicle surplus sale. Then it was painted — changing the camouflage color to black. Soon, it will sport police lights, which were paid for through donations.

Maps of Seven Deadly Sins in America | memolition

Intriguing series of maps showing the seven deadly sins' prevalence across the nation. Click title for link. Florida ranks high in the greed category which was determined by comparing average incomes with the total number of inhabitants living beneath the poverty line.

From Facebook, an example of what not to do when it comes to historic preservation...

The former building took advantage of its prominent corner location in a respectful manner. The current version obliterates any sense of what was there before and disguises the unique architectural properties of the building. A blank wall also takes away from the street's walkability. This example comes from Huntington, West Virginia.

Board OK’s new Intracoastal village near Rybovich marina in... |

The West Palm Beach Planning Board gives their approval of this large project on the water in the northern part of the city. Click title for link. This will be going to their City Commission for final approval. It will be interesting to see how this project fares in comparison to the Chapel on the Lake property. Some residents see a link between the two. From the article:
“This is a citywide issue of how we want to deal with massive development,” Nancy Pullum, who also chairs a group critical of the scope of the proposed Chapel by the Lake condominium, said. “There’s one thing to have a little wiggle room. There’s another thing when the wiggle becomes the rule.”.

Gov. Scott again suspends South Bay commissioner convicted of... |

This must be a rare event. I wonder how many times the governor has had to suspend the same person twice pending the results of Sunshine Law violation. Interesting. Click title for link.
Scott found himself in the unusual situation of removing Walker-Turner from office twice in less than a year because South Bay voters returned her to office in May, five months after Scott suspended her after she was charged with violating the state’s Sunshine Law.

Keating voices optimism about flood-map bill - Quincy, MA - The Patriot Ledger

Florida is not alone when it comes to the looming flood insurance issue. Click title for link. From the article:
Biggert-Waters started phasing into effect this year with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s release of new flood maps. Those maps expand flood plains and raise water elevations, requiring thousands more property owners to purchase flood insurance.
Officials and experts say the maps are riddled with errors and based on erroneous assumptions, and, if implemented with Biggert-Waters, could cause a financial crisis.
An effort to get a unanimous U.S. Senate vote on the relief bill failed Wednesday when a Republican senator from Kansas, Pat Rogers, objected. Rogers argued that the Senate Banking Committee should first review the bill, which would delay the law for four years.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

After latest shooting, murder manual author calls for book to be taken 'immediately' out of print - U.S. News

Click title for link. MUST READ. We have anarchists to thank for this. If you think they are harmless, they are not. Be careful what you preach and what/who you listen to.
Published in 1971, the book has sold more than two million copies and influenced hundreds of malcontents, mischief makers, and killers. Police have linked it to the Croatian radicals who bombed Grand Central Terminal and hijacked a TWA flight in 1976; the Puerto Rican separatists who bombed FBI headquarters in 1981; Thomas Spinks, who led a group that bombed 10 abortion clinics in the 1980s; Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995; the Columbine High School shooters of 1999; and the 2005 London public transport bombers.

From a loyal reader of this blog and the Palm Beach Post...

I am a subscriber of the Palm Beach Post and am very happy with the newspaper. I subscribe to both the online edition and have the paper delivered every day. I also have followed the career of Andrew Marra. He's angered me on occasion but believe he tries to be fair on the issues. 
     Mr. Marra knows Lake Worth. I believe he lives in Lake Worth, or did at one time. Today, Tuesday 12/17/13, I retrieve the paper, sit down and go right to the editorial page, my habit.
     Here is what I find. "Barbara Aho, Lake Worth", wrote a letter to the editor.
     About potholes? Her thoughts on resurrecting Dixie Highway? The homeless in Bryant Park? Her thoughts on Lake Worth's future? A criticism of the Casino? 
     Here is the title of the letter Barbara Aho published in the Palm Beach Post: "Don't let kids climb on Lake Worth bear"s
     Not kidding.
     This Aho"le" called 911 when she saw children on the "FAO Bear in the Lake Worth Cultural Plaza." This "Ahole" tracked down a deputy who likely thought what I did, "why don't you go tell the children to get off the bear?" But, no, that would be too effective. The better story is to find another way to bash the PBSO. 
     This is how "Ahole" finished the letter to the editor, "concerned citizen deserves [a response from PBSO] for trying to point out obvious child neglect"? 
     Huh? How did this letter get past the editorial board?
     This letter was an overt attack on the PBSO. Period. The Palm Beach Post should know better and never publish this nonsense.
     But this is the real story: Letters to the editor with the "Lake Worth" origin all have one thing in common: none are registered voters in Lake Worth.
     I know because I check. 
     I am a big fan of the Palm Beach Post. Please just be more careful the letters you publish. 
     A big fan of the Palm Beach Post.

"As I write this from the olive-laden hills of Kalamata..."

RE-POSTED BY REQUEST - First posted on 11/1/11, reposted on 1/10/12 and again requested today.  It might be one of the reasons for the perceived weakness of the supporters of the current two vote minority on the Commission.  Make sure to visit the link.

Panagioti (sorry for the capitalization Pan ol' boy) and his expatriate manifesto...grandiosity and pretentiousness are not only limited to our Mayor (referring to Ms. Waterman), it seems.  History will record it as "panagioti's Kalamata Tree-tise"  Click here for link to his current vision for Lake Worth, the world and the whole of humanity.  You can see where the many rivers of policy that stream from dais come forth.  Panagioti is chair of the Community Relations Board (which he refers to in this e-mail) and the scope of the board's activities is coming up under New Business on tonight's City Commission agenda.  Key among these is the demand to cut the PBSO contract by 25% so that we can free ourselves from living under a "Mafia-esque" police state.  Strangely, he thinks that this police state contributes to "boredom" in the city.  I don't know about you, but I prefer boredom to the excitement of an armed home invasion on most days.

EF!ers Charged with Felony Terrorism for Hunger Games Banner, Glitter | Earth First! Newswire

Click title for link for Panigioti Tsolkas' attempt to link the Hunger Games series as a metaphor for the uprising that is currently taking, or about to take place over our industrial/technological world. Here he is interviewed by one of the reporters of the EF! Journal collective which is probably more about search engine optimization (SEO) than anything else. An editor being interviewed by their own reporter is like talking about yourself in the third person, or at least an attempt at self-aggrandizement. I think it's time to post his Kalamata Treatise again.

And, they should remember that Oklahoma City was the site of a major act of domestic terrorism in the form of bombing the Murrah Federal Building. So I understand that the local authorities may be sensitive to acts that resemble worse forms violence than the "glitter" that was spilled at the event in question. Did the officials know the material was harmless when this happened? No.

DRINKING WATER WARNING Raw Water Well sample tests positive for E. coli

Click title for link for an announcement that went out last Friday. It is supposed to be widely disseminated but I haven't heard anything about it. The press release seems to suggest that there is nothing to worry about, but then points out what symptoms you may have if you drink water with E.Coli in it. Not that reassuring a message.

Is this part of the reason for the increasing flushing of hydrants? Do we have a citywide water quality problem? 

Not so scenic highway after state clears ancient oaks | Pensacola News Journal |

Scenic no more after FDOT acts like a bull in a china shop. What were they thinking? Click title for link to article and be sure to check out the pictures. This was the state's first designated scenic highway.
Scenic Highway is renowned for its natural beauty and majestic canopy. The roadway was the first in the state to be designated a scenic highway — in 1998.
Today, a special overlay district provides special zoning protections for the corridor.The Scenic Highway Overlay District covers the land on either side of the highway, from approximately five miles outside the Pensacola city limits to the Santa Rosa County line.
Keith Wilkins, director of Escambia County’s Department of Community and Environment, said the district had the strictest tree protections of any area in the county.
The current version of the Land Development Code, which is in the process of being amended, prohibits removing, trimming or “in any way damaging” any tree within 20 feet of the right of way along the corridor.
However, Wilkins said, the additional protections did not apply for the state.
“DOT has the ability to do basically whatever they want to do ...” Wilkins said. “Sometimes they are sensitive to local ordinances. Sometimes they are not.”

Video of Governor Rick Scott's appointees and all the "great jobs" they were doing...before they resigned.

Dalai Lama

"We have to be realistic. We can’t be taken in by appearances; we have to adopt a realistic approach. It’s through education that we come to grips with reality. Understanding grows first from hearing or reading, followed by analysis and experiment, and then really thinking about it. It is one of our unique human abilities that we can look at reality from more than one angle."

Editorial: Rybovich-Related project too large, with too flimsy... |

Another large waterfront project going through the review process in West Palm Beach. This one is in the northern part of the city. Check out what is being asked for. Click title for link to article.
The developers want to build 1,059 residences in six towers, along with 50,000 square feet of office/restaurant/beach club space, 10,000 square feet of retail, a 272-slip marina and 45,000 square feet of “marine industrial uses.” This mini-city would be surrounded by neighborhoods of single-family homes east of Broadway. The trade-off for the concessions the developers want is the promise that the project would redevelop areas west of Broadway.
Those concessions would be considerable. The density of 55.5 units to an acre would be nearly twice what the city allows for multifamily residential in that area. The setbacks would be just one-third of what rules call for, given the height of the towers. At 400 feet, they would be the tallest in West Palm Beach — about 70 feet taller than Trump Plaza downtown.
I don't know how they can say that a project on the waterfront in this location will improve the area west of the area, but they are.

PUD opponents file petition for hearing |

The opponents of the PUD-5 Town of Palm Beach Comprehensive Plan change related to Royal Poinciana Way are seeking an administrative hearing. This is in addition to their petitioning efforts to get the item on a ballot. The hearing is through what is left of the state's growth management apparatus. It could still end in a result where the state finds the change "not in compliance." The PUD-5 allows greater height and intensity of development as an option in this part of town. 

The Town seems to be having trouble assembling all the documents that are part of the public records request by those that are filing the hearing request. Click title for link to article. Here is the part about the records request.
Cooley and the challengers’ attorney, David Theriaque, still are waiting to inspect materials from their public records request last month.
Theriaque made a request on Nov. 13 to inspect all documents provided and received by any town personnel related to the zoning and comprehensive-plan ordinances. He said Town Attorney John Randolph called him on Dec. 3 to say the town was still compiling the documents and that they may be ready Dec. 9.
“By that point I didn’t have the ability to fly down to Palm Beach to inspect the records and complete the petition,” Theriaque said. “We should have had an opportunity to see these documents within a week to 10 days from the request. I thought I would have them well before Dec. 3 to review them prior to the petition for an administrative hearing. This is not different than any other type of public records request I’ve made around the state.”
Randolph said he notified Theriaque Wednesday that all the records were available. But, the town had “lots and lots of materials” available before that, Randoph said.
“It’s the most extensive public records request that the town has received since I can recall,” he said. “I have not reviewed all the records, but it’s several thousand pages. We’ve been cooperating from the outset. We began immediately searching for records, contacting members of the Royal Poinciana Review Committee, the zoning commission, and the planning and zoning department. I don’t believe it’s unusual for a request this extensive to take the number of days that this has taken.”

New sand fills beach after Superstorm Sandy's wrath | FLORIDA TODAY |

Click title for link to article. This time Brevard County is gearing up for beach renourishment.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Baz Luhrmann Created the Most Pretentious Commercial Ever for a Miami Development

Oh, my! Grab the smelling salts. This one is over the top. Check out this new promotional piece for a new Miami Beach condominium. This stuff is rich. Click title for link to New Times article. Check out the video below.
"It's like a movie, but it's real," say Luhrmann of the development. Which, OK, so's real life? It's like something that doesn't really exist, and yet it exists. Mind blown!
"A movie that will live forever," replies Faena with his hands in front of him in Mr. Burns style. Or until global warming causes Miami Beach to end up underwater. Whichever comes first.

Mixing art and culture? Never been done before. Ever. 

How to turn left in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula while going down a hill in the winter


Laurel Decker v City of Lake Worth Public Hearing for 12/16 has been cancelled. No new date is set.

Hong Kong high-rise

What the Lucerne looks like, or what other future six story buildings in Lake Worth would look like, in the minds' eye of some people around here. Click title for link.

Just received the following tweet from the fake @smaxwell2014 Twitter account:

"Whoever said that @WesBlackman is the Joseph McCarthy of the blogosphere is a bearded communist illegal spy from a threatening obscure country."

Black Seed | A Green Anarchist Publication

EF! Journal has a new competitor. Click title for link. Seems as though they are filling the void of our local organization that can't seem to get that next issue out the door.

Editorial: Village attorney opinion to pay council members... |

This is from Wellington where two people, who were private citizens at the time, had to pay legal fees to contest the results of an election which was ultimately reversed. And the plain and simple answer is that, since they weren't working in an official capacity at the time, they can't. In this case, it is too bad and seems unfair due to the electoral mix-up in the first place. However, let's not open the door to pay legal fees of people who are not public officials. It is rumored that some people who aren't public officials in Lake Worth would like their costs reimbursed associated with their mediations and other legal challenges. That just can't be allowed to happen.

Lake Worth wants to crack down on businesses in rights-of-way |

After reading this article, click title for link, you will get a sense of how much of a free-for-all was going on Lake Worth rights-of-way. Commissioner McVoy over-reacts and thinks this might shut down everything including struggling artists and musicians. The city didn't have any way to regulate someone setting a "business" in a right-of-way. It might be selling seafood out of your trunk or truck bed, ice cream vendors, taxi stands, etc. This is all part of the basic A-B-Cs of being a municipality. The fact that we haven't had any way to regulate these sorts of things to protect the public should be what we are concerned about. Everyone but Commissioner McVoy agrees.

News from Mel and Vinnie:

We have a few projects this winter so our open mic schedule will be spontaneous.  Two fun open mics are the same night, Thursday (South Shores Tavern in Lake Worth and The Living Room in Boynton Beach). Thursday is also the night the Lake Worth Peddlers ride from the parking lot at Bryant Park and Lake Ave, meeting up at 5:30 riding at 6 (except this next week or so when we ride the neighborhoods caroling adding extra days, leaving at 6:30 and one day when we meet at the shuffleboard courts)  We are always ready for an informal home based song circle so give us a call when it’s happening and we’ll try to come.  The Friday after Thanksgiving we played 1-7 at Benny’s on the Beach, it was a last minute fill-in.  Thanks AJ and Lisa for coming out, hanging and helping us load out and in back home.  


MONDAY December 16 6:30pm caroling with Lake Worth Pedalers to Bryant Park and Pinapple Groves neighborhoods.  Meet up at 6pm at Bryant Park and Lake Ave.

THURSDAY December 19 6:30 pm caroling with Lake Worth Pedalers to Downtown Jewel and Mango Groves neighborhoods.  Meet up at 6pm at Bryant Park and Lake Ave.

THURSDAY December 19 8:45pm 15 minutes at open mic at The Living Room in Boynton Beach. Time is approximate.

FRIDAY December 20 6-10pm Evening on the Avenue in Lake Worth. Cultural Plaza is between Lake and Lucerne at S M St.  Mel and Vinnie duo, Vinnie C instrumental electric with a special appearance by the Peddlers for a holiday sing along at 7pm.  Free community event that takes place the first and third Friday of every month and includes live music, food, clothing vendors, crafts, a blood drive, pet adoption and the Front Pouch where you can meet your neighbors in a relaxing informative tent.

SATURDAY December 21 6:30 caroling with Lake Worth Pedalers to College Park and Tropical Ridge neighborhoods. Meet up 6pm at Bryant Park and Lake Ave.  

SATURDAY December 21 7-10pm (Our time TBD) Under the Radar Open Mic On An Open Stage For Live Performance (every third Saturday) at Coastars 12 S J St, Lake Worth. No cover to watch.  Coffee Bar, indoors. 

MONDAY December 23 6:30 caroling with Lake Worth Pedalers to the Towers and Royal Poinciana neighborhood, with vehicle escorts. Meet up at 6pm at Shuffleboard Court parking lot. 

SUNDAY December 29th parade starts at 2pm King Mango Strut in Coconut Grove, a satirical look at the year in costume. It will be our first time. We will be with AnnaMaria’s group.


FRIDAY January 3 7pm Lake Worth Critical Mass first Friday ride, meet up 6pm in Bryant Park parking lot.  Really fun ride, go in the flow of a group zig zagging around town and down Lake Ave where the locals cheer you on.

FRIDAY January 17, 2014 7pm:  Opening Day South Florida Fair in the Yesteryear Village Pavilion 45 minutes. Allan Aunapu at 8pm. The South Florida Fair is located on Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach, FL, 1.5 miles west of the Florida Turnpike and 1 mile east of 441/SR7. Advance tickets available at all Palm Beach County Publix stores.

FRIDAY January 24 6:30 – 7pm South Florida Fair in the Yesteryear Village Pavilion. (To be confirmed)

SATURDAY February 8 Carry It On a labor songs tribute based on the book of the same name by Pete Seeger and Bob Reiser published by Singout. Two shows. Save the date, details to come.

SATURDAY February 22 3-7pm during the Street Painting Festival. Save the date, details to come.

SATURDAY March 22 10-3 (Our time TBD probably after 1pm) Pioneer Family Farmstead Day at Riverbend Park in Jupiter. Historic gas engine and tractor show.  Free.

SATURDAY April 19 1-6pm National Record Store Day, Top Five Records, 10 S J Street Lake Worth. Live music, try and buy vinyl. Save the date, details to come.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

NZ Consultants Awarded M/WBE Business of The Year

Congratulations Nilsa! Ms. Zacarias serves on the board of the Palm Beach County Planning Congress with me. She also helped Lake Worth in the early stages of the re-do of our Comprehensive Plan a few years ago. This is a high honor. Click title for link to her website that talks about the award.

Contradictory Climate Change Planning in New York City and New Bern - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Click title for link to an article from Der Spiegel. The article presents a view from outside our country that is more about the political divide in our country. It points out our inability to address a problem that would be common to many people who live near the coast. This is the greater percentage of our population. We see New York City taking a thoughtful approach in how to address the common challenge of sea level rise. We also see a state, along the same coastline, that has essentially decreed that ocean won't rise along its coastline and therefore is doing nothing about it. That state is North Carolina. Here is a bit from the article:
According to the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission (CRC), that state, like New York, will also see warmer temperatures by the end of the century, as well as a sea-level rise of more than one meter. But now the state government in North Carolina has muzzled the CRC with a new law that requires coastal communities to ignore its prognoses. The legislation states that the sea level off the North Carolina coast will not rise more quickly than it has in the last 100 years.
In the United States, two very different worlds have come into existence along the same coastline. In one of those worlds, people pay attention to climate predictions. In the other, they don't. While New Yorkers believe they have to do something against global warming, because it could spell the city's demise, the citizens of New Bern would rather put their faith in God's creation. In New Bern, climate change is a question of faith and conviction that touches on broader issues of American identity. Indeed, climate change has become central to a culture war over the future of America.
You might want to check out my recent chat with Keren Bolton on High Noon in Lake Worth episode about the topic as it relates to south Florida.

Pope Francis

"The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor."

Lights, action, no cameras: Palm Beach Gardens officials ask... |

Interesting article about practices of local communities in broadcasting their public meetings. West Palm has a very sophisticated operation, but they are the largest city in the area. In the article, they mention a survey done of cities with a population of over 35,000. Guess what. Lake Worth doesn't get a mention since we top out a little above 34,000. It is good that Lake Worth streams public meetings. I hope that my YouTube videos help find what people are looking for. Click title for link to the article. Here is a bit:
West Palm Beach, which has 100,000 residents and a $165 million general fund, has a 24-hour TV channel, manned by two full-time employees and supervised by city Communications Director Elliot Cohen.
For meetings, West Palm Beach has five cameras in its main commission chambers and another three in the adjacent Flagler Room, where other city meetings are held. The cameras require one staffer to operate them by remote from a control room.
The city also produces news features for its channel and broadcasts shows produced by other cities or agencies such as the South Florida Water Management District.