Thursday, March 27, 2014

From the College Park Nieghborhood Association e-mail blast: Follow up regarding the property at 2222 North Dixie

Dear Friends and Neighbors, At our meeting earlier this week, concerns were raised about activity at the property located at 2222 North Dixie on the corner of Dartmouth Drive. As promised, the College Park Neighborhood Association has made inquiries and this is what we now have records to verify:

1. The business located there is incorporated in the State of Florida as Memories Club LLC.

2. Memories Club LLC filed an application for a business tax receipt (business license) with the City's Dept. of Community Sustainability on December 30, 2013 to operate a meeting hall at 2222 North Dixie Hwy. That application was denied on January 8, 2014. Comments attached to the denial: "Property does not provide sufficient parking for the applied use."

3. On January 10, 2014, Memories Club LLC applied for a business tax receipt (business license) at the same location to operate a low-intensity coffee shop 7 days a week from 7AM to 11 PM. That application was approved on January 14, 2014. Comments attached to the approval: "Permitted by right, low intensity coffee house in MU-Dixie. [referring to the section of the City's code and zoning ordinance] Any expansion of the use will be subject to citation and possible revocation of business license."

4. What that means is that at this time, Memories Club LLC is operating a business, legally licensed by the City of Lake Worth.

As President of the College Park Neighborhood Association, I thought it might be helpful to have an informal face to face discussion with the Managers of the Memories Club LLC. My hope was to ascertain the precise nature of the business and share the concerns that were raised by College Park residents, many of whom live near the property. One of the Managing Members of the LLC, Brad Stockdale, agreed to meet with me and we had a very candid and congenial conversation yesterday, Thursday, March 26th at the location.

This is what I learned:
The property is being used as a place for Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotic Anonymous groups to hold twelve step meetings. The Memories Club LLC itself is not affiliated with either AA nor NA in keeping with the traditions of those organizations. The Club is not a rehabilitation center, nor is it a half-way house. There are many independent clubs throughout Palm Beach County (and elsewhere) that offer the same service to AA and NA groups.

Meetings by various AA and NA groups are held at this location on Sunday through Friday at 7PM, 8:30 PM and 10PM. On Saturdays, one meeting is held at 10PM. This is the current schedule and of course is subject to change. These AA and NA groups’ meetings are generally open meetings that may be attended by residents from half-way houses located in Lake Worth or in nearby communities, again in keeping with the traditions of those organizations.

Attendees at these meetings have been asked and are frequently reminded not to park in the posted vacant lot across the street as off street parking is provided behind and adjacent to the property.

My impression from our meeting is that the managers of the Memories Club are willing to be good neighbors with the Residents of College Park and are very willing to address all the concerns raised including people congregating in groups on the corner after the meeting in ways that hinder visibility for drivers turning from Dixie onto Dartmouth or onto Dixie from Dartmouth. There is no law preventing anyone from parking anywhere it's legal to do so on a public street, but I am assured by Mr. Stockdale that attendees will be asked to be considerate to the residents along Dartmouth Drive and to use the off street parking available at the location if at all possible.

It is impossible to determine with any finality at this time if the person(s) seen urinating in the alleyway and in the area around the property were coming to or leaving this location, but I am further assured by the management that this behavior by anyone is unacceptable to them as well. I was given a tour throughout the Club and I will attest that there is a very clean and easily accessible bathroom on the premises. I will also attest that the kitchen area as well as the meeting area was clean and appeared well maintained.

I suggested to the manager that perhaps an open house for College Park Neighbors held some Saturday afternoon when no meetings are scheduled might be one way to foster a more "Neighborly" relationship with College Park residents and could go a long way to ease suspicions and concerns without jeopardizing the anonymity of the groups and individual attendees at their meetings. Residents would have the opportunity to learn more about the operation and the Club managers would have the opportunity to build more positive relationships with nearby neighbors. Mr. Stockdale agreed to present that suggestion to the other managers and I hope to hear from him soon.

I also suggested that perhaps a sign could be posted in the meeting room reminding attendees at meetings that this facility is within a Neighborhood and to be aware and considerate of that fact upon arrival and departure. Mr. Stockdale also agreed to present that suggestion.

College Park neighbors are reminded to call the PBSO non-emergency number 688-3400 whenever they witness suspicious activity by anyone, anywhere in our Neighborhood or anywhere in our City. The safety and security of our families and our homes is paramount. College Park is a well established neighborhood and neighbors are deeply engaged in preserving the quality of life we have come to cherish.

City codes and zoning ordinances notwithstanding, for the present, this business is here and it is my great hope that we find a way to peacefully co-exist in this neighborhood we care so deeply for.

Mary Lindsey,
President College Park Neighborhood Association