Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lake Worth commissioner comments and reports from the 12/8/15 city commission meeting

Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell and commissioners Chris McVoy and Ryan Maier comment about their participation in the Climate Change Summit held recently in Key West. Stay tuned for much more on this. I think many in attendance were surprised we weren't treated to a long-winded lecture from McVoy about climate change and sea level rise and why we should hold off doing anything for fear of what might happen like infrastructure projects and neighborhood lighting, for example.

And there was a faux pas from the summit in Key West that made it into the Miami Herald. Someone (McVoy?) gave a reporter a lot of false information about the Living Shoreline project at the City's Bryant Park. Hopefully, this will all be straightened out in commissioner comments to come.

Maybe Commissioner McVoy can also explain this to the community:

PBSO (District 14) Community Policing Update at Lake Worth's City Commission Meeting on 12/8/15

Captain Baer gives his quarterly update to the City Commission. A lot of very good news here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

[UPDATE] Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier: Another one of his precious myths debunked (more to come on this)

[UPDATE: Am waiting for more information and will post more on this matter on the Gulf Stream hotel re-zoning. In the meantime there is a very important point that must be hammered home. The re-zoning for the Gulf Stream hotel project at the City Commission on 12/8 was a quasi-judicial hearing. The commissioners, including Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy are acting in the capacity of judges.

Per state law in quasi-judicial hearings the judges (in this case the commissioners, mayor and vice mayor) have to hear the competent and substantial evidence. The evidence Maier and McVoy used to vote "No" was declared by the state to be "null and void" (the 'Heights vote' in March 2013).

The case can be made that both Maier and McVoy failed in their responsibility as judges and used 'evidence' that should not have been used to make their decision. So, are the 'No' votes by Maier and McVoy "null and void"?]

Tomorrow will have the video of Commissioner Maier from the City of Lake Worth's commission meeting on 12/8 vis-à-vis whether the Gulf Stream hotel will be renovated or has the potential date with the wrecking ball. He chose the latter along with Commissioner McVoy in a 3-2 vote.

Maier's contention is the "heights vote" on 3/12/13 was a landslide of momentous proportions and the "people" turned out in droves in support of a 45' height limit. That vote was declared "null and void" by the state legislature. It's not my point to get into the nitty-gritty here; that will be tomorrow.

But to the point, did the voters in Lake Worth overwhelmingly come out to keep the height limit at 45' in the downtown? Hardly.
1,291 Lake Worth voters said "Yes" to a 45' height limit next to the Gulf Stream hotel. The vote later was declared "null and void".
On November 26, 2012, 106 days earlier was the general election in Lake Worth. Jim Stafford ran against Commissioner McVoy for the District 2 commission seat. 

Jim Stafford lost that race. But he received 3,448 votes. That's 1,137 more votes than ALL THE VOTES CAST IN THE "HEIGHTS VOTE"!

The total votes cast in the Stafford/McVoy race was 8,156.
So, when someone tells you how spectacularly the turnout and the support for a 45' height limit next to the Gulf Stream hotel is, you can say to them, "you're lying".

The Cottages of Lake Worth: Tour date and prices—a great gift for that admirer of architecture, history, and preservation in Florida

The Palm Beach Post's Kevin Thompson has this small item that is also in today's (12/11) print edition.
     The Cottages of Lake Worth will be offering an Inside The Cottages Home Tour, where visitors can check out more than 10 cottages and gardens while meeting the owners.
     All of the cottages are in the downtown Jewel and Mango Groves neighborhoods. The tour is scheduled for Jan. 24 from 1 to 6 p.m.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the day of the tour and can be purchased:
On Nov. 10, 2013, reporter Lona O'Connor of the Post (now retired) wrote this article titled: Can historical cottages help make Lake Worth the next Key West?

From the article:
     A small group of residents, led by Roger Hendrix, is working on a plan to catalog, publicize and organize tours of the cottages.
     “The idea came to me in 2009 when I moved here from Tennessee,” said Hendrix, who still retains his Volunteer State accent. “I wanted to feature one of our best assets. I think Lake Worth could be the next Key West. No other town in South Florida has the abundance of cottages that we have. It’s our biggest asset besides the beach. [emphasis added]
     A cottage, in Lake Worth, is usually set on a 25-foot lot, narrower than standard. It would be a narrow wood frame house with one or two bedrooms and crawl space below, said Wes Blackman, a member [former chair] of the Lake Worth historic resource preservation board.
     Most of the cottages were built from the 1900s through the 1940s. Back in the days when Lake Worth was being developed, they were part of a package deal: Buy a few acres west of Haverhill Road, get a 25-foot lot to build a beach cottage.
     A member of Hendrix’s group is artist and photographer Anna Maria Windisch-Hunt, who has made color portraits of many cottages and posted them on her blog, Lake Worth Every Minute.
     “Whenever I feature the cottages, my readership spikes,” said Windisch-Hunt, who considers that an indication of potential waiting to be exploited. “This is such a sweet, quirky cottage town.”
To learn more about the Cottages of Lake Worth below is a radio interview, featuring yours truly, with Allan Mason at WBZT with images of our very special cottages:

If you have community news in the City of Lake Worth, suburban Lake Worth (including Palm Beach State College) and Greenacres here is how you contact the current Post reporter:
Twitter: @kevindthompson1

"Shock and Awe": PBSO Sheriff Bradshaw raises nearly $102,000 in ONE MONTH for re-election

"Shock and awe" is how the Post's George Bennett describes Sheriff Bradshaw's fundraising efforts. Here is an excerpt from the article:
     Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw raked in $101,675 in contributions for his 2016 re-election bid during November [emphasis added], more than doubling his already-impressive fundraising haul and leaving his three challengers far behind.
     With his November collections, Bradshaw has raised a total of $200,820 since opening his nonpartisan campaign for a fourth term in April. He has spent $27,390, which means Bradshaw began December with $173,430 in cash in his campaign account.
Some recent events put The Palm Beach Post's "LINE OF FIRE: Bullets and Badges and Death on the Streets" back on the shelf but that will be rolled out at the next opportunity. The net effect of the Post's pitch against PBSO and the Sheriff hovers near zero and hasn't done much to help any of Sheriff Bradshaw's candidates it would seem: the strongest candidate, Alex Freeman, has $12,871 in his war chest.

Remember when other challengers ran "unsuccessfully" against Bradshaw in 2012?
"Stay tuned", as they say.

Holiday Parade in Lake Worth: Road closures, temporary parking ban, and what to do if you see a CBS12 news van

Parking will be prohibited temporarily for Lake Worth's Annual Holiday Parade on December 12 starting at 4:00 pm on the following streets (the parade will end at 8:00):
  • Lake Ave from South Dixie Hwy to Federal Hwy
  • Lucerne Ave from South Dixie Hwy to Federal Hwy.
  • North Federal Hwy from Lucerne Ave to 10th Ave North.
  • South Federal Hwy from Lake Ave to 1st Ave South.
  • 2nd Ave North from North Dixie Hwy to North Federal Hwy.
  • 1st Ave South between South Dixie Hwy and South Federal Hwy. 
To make for a safe and successful Holiday Parade, your cooperation in this matter is urged. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office may tow vehicles left parked on the street in violation of this temporary order.

The Lake Worth (Robert Harris) Bridge will remain open during the parade. There will be detour signs in place to direct vehicle traffic to access the bridge. 

And, of course, if a CBS12/WPTV news van is spotted politely ask what they're up to and ask for the reporters business card. We don't need a repeat of what happened last year.

Call for Artists (Electronic Submission), "Add Some / Take Some": An Abstractions Show at Lake Worth's Armory Arts Annex

Show Dates: February 20March 19
Opening Party: Saturday, February 27
Closing Party: Saturday, March 19 (Also art pick up)
Art Drop Off: Saturday, February 20 (Selected pieces)

Theme: Abstraction means different things to different people. What some might see as abstract, others might see as everyday.

ArtsUnited (AU) will create a juried members-only art show to be displayed in the Armory Arts Annex in Lake Worth. AU members will be able to submit up to 2 pieces for inclusion in the show. A jury of three professionals will review the work and select the pieces for display.
The Armory Arts Annex show space is a newly renovated exhibition space in Lake Worth’s Art District named LULA. Renovations of the center were funded through a cultural facilities grant awarded by the State of Florida’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

Size Limit: 6' by 6' (The artist is responsible for delivering the work to space.) All mediums welcomed.

1. This a juried show and the decision of the jurists are final.
2. Each artist may submit two works for the show. There is no guarantee that work submitted will be accepted.
3. You must be a PAID member of ArtsUnited. Fee is $50.00.
4. There is no entry fee. (If your work is selected, you will need to join ArtsUnited. We will invoice $50. This is payable through PayPal.)
5. All work must be currently completed or be finished by the submission deadline for submission: Friday January 22, 2016.
6. Artist will be notified by email by February 1st, 2016 if their work is selected.
7. Once a work is selected, the work cannot be shown until the show opens. No Substitutions.
8. The gallery will take a 40% commission on any sales, so price your work accordingly.
9. By entering your works for the show, you release ArtsUnited, the City of Lake Worth, the Lake Worth CRA and the Armory Art Center from any damage or any theft of your work.
10. Show Location: Lake Worth Armory Arts Annex Gallery, 1121 Lucerne Ave, Lake Worth, FL 33460.

Please email one image of each work in a high quality jpeg. Please label each image in the following manner: YourLastNameTitleOfWork.jpeg. Any incomplete packets will be discarded. In the email please include your name, title of work, medium, dimensions, and price (this price should include the 40% commission amount).

Send your submissions (or request for more info) to by Friday, January 22, 2016.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ANOTHER bicyclist struck in Lake Worth last night (12/9)

Here is the news from the Post and not many details yet. Last month another bicyclist was killed crossing 10th Ave. North and his actions were a big contributing factor to his death.

Now what happened to me last Saturday night on Dixie Hwy near the latest crash at 5:45 pm. Almost struck a white guy on a bike crossing Dixie (west to east) and that's the only reason I didn't hit him, his white skin was the only thing visible. He was wearing a dark hat, dark clothes, no bike lights, and no visible reflectors, and the bike was a dark color.

My honked horn didn't faze him at all and he continued across Dixie to parts unknown. This latest crash probably wasn't an accident. There's a big difference between a "crash" and an "accident". Accidents happen all the time but crashes are almost always avoidable.

If you're on a bike at night wear light-color clothing, have reflectors, and lights (front [white] and back [red]). Even then there's no guarantee you won't be hit by someone texting or changing radio stations. . .like that brainiac who rides up and down Federal Hwy in the street with all the safety equipment at night. . .it's only a matter of time.

On the Gulf Stream Hotel project rezoning at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting on 12/8

I've been through many quasi-judicial meetings held by local governments. I ran such meetings in my role as chairman of various boards that deal with land use issues. I've also been a part of them in the role as staff, as the applicant, and in my role as an urban planner. The commission meeting on 12/8 was unusual. In order to reach a decision a board, or a commission in this case, is charged with making a decision based on "competent and substantial evidence."

This evidence usually comes in the form of studies, reports or presentations made by land use professionals, and the public can contribute as well. In order to offer testimony you need to be sworn in and give an oath that what you are about to say is true.

The total time given to consideration of this particular item, the Gulf Stream hotel rezoning request, was a little over two and a half hours.

People in attendance at this meeting, the quasi-judicial part who wanted to speak, were given a choice. They could be sworn in and give "testimony" or just offer "public comment." In describing the difference, the city attorney stated that the distinction would mean that those giving "testimony" could be cross-examined. That could include their credentials that allows them to make testimony. That didn't happen.

Those who were against the project pointed to "the vote" on height limitations and that a majority of people approved the restricted height that would not allow any building in Lake Worth, east of I-95, to go higher than 45 feet. They were reminded again that the vote was overturned by state law and made "null and void". This has been explained ad nauseam on this blog and other places. People, many of which in attendance, remain in a delusional state on this.

This distinction, testimony vs. comment, meant that if what you were going to say mattered in the decision, you offered "testimony," instead of "public comment." Many people chose to be sworn in and give testimony. This was new for a lot of people and it was the "thing to do" or "I'll follow the leader." Some thought their "comment" would make a difference in the ultimate vote. That isn't true. The vote was a predictable 3 -2 decision with McVoy and Maier dissenting.

There was no wavering from McVoy and Maier from their position that the "Downtown" re-zoning would go against the "people's" decision in 2013. That is not "law" and both McVoy and Maier know that.

Below is the "public comment" I wrote down that was read into the record by Mayor Triolo:

     "The Gulf Stream Hotel is the tallest building on our waterfront, nestled among other buildings of a similar size, scale and height. You could say the hotel occupies the most prominent location in the city. It is on our main street that leads to our downtown and the city’s beach. For 90 years the building has stood, watching the city and society change around it. We, the residents and our elected and appointed officials, are vested with the responsibility of creating the right environment for his property not only to survive, but thrive. Other residents who have come before us recognized its importance to the community. The hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
     I’ve lived in Lake Worth 23 years. Most of my memories of the Gulf Stream Hotel are of the building being closed. This is not the fault of the current owners of the property. It really is not the fault of previous owners of the property. There are a series of long existing conditions that have contributed to its closure - some going back 30 and 40 years. Dixie Hwy. replaced by 1-95 as the main means of travel through and to south Florida communities is one. Rooms in the building are too small to be attractive in the present tourist marketplace is another. Lack of adequate and convenient parking is another. And the list goes on and on."

We will continue to hear the cries from that small cabal who were plaintiffs in a legal action against the City over the now-recognized "null and void" vote. Commissioner Maier even suggested that the lawsuit that was filed could be renewed since it was dismissed by the judge "without prejudice." This ignores the fact that the request for the withdrawal came from the plaintiff (Laurel Decker). The decision to withdraw the lawsuit, it can be surmised, came after the realizing the considerable amount of resources (both time and money) that would entail and a very uncertain outcome.

Some will continue to live in a fantasy world that somehow, someone will step forward and unring the bell, that the 'heights vote' isn't "null and void". This is the Gulf Stream hotel they may recall or fondly pray for in reverence:
Early Post-WWII picture of the Gulf Stream property.
If some continue to hold onto the orthodoxy that historic preservation is also "no growth" then that dooms all of our history, including structures like the Gulf Stream hotel. Lake Worth is at a crucial point and we don't have time for your fanciful notions when there's so much at risk.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hey! Lake Worth has a golf course too! And Babe Ruth golfed here!

If tourism and the tourism industry is an important issue to you in Palm Beach County (and it should be, it affects everyone) then you know we're very fortunate to have Palm Beach Post reporter Jennifer Sorentrue and her yeoman's (adjective, see usage #6 in link) work on this topic (her work is cited on this blog often). I've never met her but it would be a pleasure to some day.

In her latest is this news on the effort to attract golfers and the golf industry to PBC. There's been some recent concern about this; for instance, a major development/housing project in Palm Beach Gardens (the Alton Tract in-fill) is not going to have a golf course which drew interest and there's troubling attendance numbers elsewhere. Speculation is the Millennials are losing interest in the sport and there are other theories. Here is a short excerpt from the article:
     More than 30 golf tour operators from around the world are in Palm Beach County this week as part of a trip organized by Palm Beach County tourism leaders in an effort to bring more golf-loving tourists here.
     Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing corporation, planned the first ever “American Cup” tour in hopes of showcasing the county as a vacation destination for golfers — both domestic and international.
On behalf of Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein and Mayor Pam Triolo I invite all of you invitees to check out the City's municipal golf course:
Lake Worth's golf course was featured in Florida Golf Central Magazine.
Did you know Babe Ruth golfed here in Lake Worth? He did:
Here is the website for the City of Lake Worth's municipal golf course. From the site:

Located at One 7th Avenue North Lake Worth Golf Course and Pro Shop has been in business since 1927. The golf course is comprised of a unique old Florida design with a scenic 6,100 yard, par-70 course located along 1.2 miles of the Intracoastal Waterway.
  • 18-hole, par 70
  • Course Flyover
  • Pro Shop
  • The Beach Club restaurant
  • Golf Lessons
  • Rental Clubs
  • Annual Memberships for residents & non-residents (memberships start on date of purchase and end one year from that date)
  • Seasonal Membership
  • Mens and Ladies Golf Associations
Tee Time Reservations contact the ProShop: 561-582-9713

Here is the video of the courses Hole #1:

From the Palm Beach Post on Gulf Stream Hotel project zoning change: Vote was split and also unanimous? How could that happen?

There is no "pitch" in the Post article today (12/9) on last nights City Commission vote on the Gulf Stream hotel project's rezoning request, not even by Bonnie Miskel, Esq., who gave another sterling presentation. However, there were a few curious items reported by the Post reporter Kevin Thompson. Here is the first one, what will confuse many readers in this article that also appears in today's print edition:
     After a two-hour discussion, the City Commission by a 3-2 vote [emphasis added] on first reading Tuesday night approved a key zoning change that will allow developer Hudson Holdings to move forward with its $60 million plan to restore the historic hotel and the surrounding site.
[and 2 paragraphs later. . .]
     The commission unanimously approved rezoning the seven-parcel site, now split between downtown mixed-use and multi-family residential, to downtown mixed use.
To eliminate any confusion, the City Commission vote was 3-2 with commissioners McVoy and Maier voting to not save our historic, iconic Gulf Stream hotel. And then later there's this from "One woman":
     One woman said residents should have more of a voice on the project.
     “If you think this is the right thing to do, put it up to a vote and let the residents decide,” she said.
Would "One woman" be The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) again? A "vote" is a clear reference to Amendment 4 which went down ingloriously to defeat in 2010. If Amendment 4 passed city's would need votes by "the people" on what kind of pens/pencils the city should buy, etc. You'll enjoy the video in the link above where TOB makes a cameo with Mr. Peter Tsolkas, former Lake Worth Commissioner Cara Jennings, et al.
TOB (on left) at an Amendment 4 rally in 2010. The voters rejected Amendment 4 by nearly 70%. A rejection of epic proportions.
And then there's these two items:
     Bonnie Miskel, a land-use and zoning attorney working with Hudson Holdings, said that as planned, the project should not conflict with the buildings in the historic district.
     “We’re going from six to five to two,” Miskel said, referring to the building’s heights. “We want to be compatible with our neighbors.”
     The goal, Miskel said, is to allow the city to get a piece of the state’s $67 billion tourism pie.
The reporter breezes over this important point and will create more public confusion: there is no final site plan as yet and the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) will be an integral part of the process going forward in review(s) to resolve any "conflict". So the question(s) of "conflict" is pointless. Reading this you think there are conflicts with a plan. That is not the case at all.

And, for some reason, the Post is fixated on the tourism dollars. It is indeed an important aspect but again, this was a very small part of the presentation by Bonnie Miskel. Most of the presentation was about matters concerning zoning, community impacts, etc.

Check back to this blog later for the video of Bonnie Miskel's presentation and other videos from this crucial vote. In the meantime, if you're interested, here is her presentation before the HRPB on November 18th.

Building strong neighborhoods in the City of Lake Worth

This is from the latest City Newsletter; if you haven's signed up to receive this newsletter use this link and it only takes a few seconds.

In this latest issue, Joan Oliva, the Executive Director of the Lake Worth CRA, Deputy Benito Gaspar, and Jamie Lee Brown, Vice-President of Community Service at Community Partners are quoted. It's a very interesting read. Here is a short excerpt:
     For six weeks, residents from many different neighborhoods in Lake Worth met and formed dialogue groups for the Building Strong Neighborhoods program. Groups met to discuss the most important issues facing the city and brainstorm ways they can get involved in solving them.
     Building Strong Neighborhoods is organized by the City of Lake Worth, the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Bridges of Lake Worth and Bridges of Highland and a local non-profit called Community Partners. Community Partners was previously involved in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP-2) in Lake Worth.
     The program is part of a larger grant called the Neighborworks Catalytic Grant. The grant includes neighborhood outreach and encourages public participation. The grant also covers early childhood education and youth activities. There is also money for residential improvements, infrastructure, and microloans.
If strengthening our neighborhoods in Lake Worth is an important issue for you and want to become involved I strongly urge you to read this entire article.

The enablers like Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier and a timely message for western development in PBC: 'Roll on brother. I've got your back.'

Below is a New Home Locator (NHL) from September. You'll find one of these in the real estate/new home section each Friday in The Palm Beach Post:
Note all the new communities in western Palm Beach County.
Commissioner Maier made two votes I want to focus on at last night's (12/8) City Commission meeting, although two very different topics of debate, they do send a clear message. While most people will focus on the Gulf Stream Hotel project I'm going to focus on Maier's vote concerning the proposed hotel/business complex in the City's Park of Commerce (POC). This blog post is opening that conversation (once again) and will be more in-depth soon. The videos take time to process and organize.

Maier voted 'no' on the Gulf Stream Hotel (east of I-95) and 'yes' for a hotel project west of I-95. His reasons for voting 'no' on the Gulf Stream are the same re-hashed, recycled, and debunked nonsense about the "people's vote". Lake Worth City Attorney Glen Torcivia explained that again at the meeting last night but Maier wasn't listening or didn't want to listen.

By the numbers (in the bullet list below) will show how successful the elected enablers like Maier have been at aiding what's called colloquially 'Western Sprawl'. The Lake Worth POC can't be considered western sprawl any longer but it remains the mindset of people like Maier's supporters who harp on Lake Worth's "coastal charm" and force as many people and businesses away from the City's downtown and preferably beyond the City limitsout west, past I-95 and beyond. It's the moat mentality with the guards at the gate: "We don't want you here."

In the map above you see what western sprawl really is and the NIMBY's along the coast (east of I-95) that help fuel it. Note the #8#9, and #10 on the map (area in pink in the map) are in Martin County and will not be addressed. PBC is separated on the map (see below) into North county (in green) and South county (in yellow). Here are the numbers:
  • There are a total of 37 "New Communities" on the map
  • Number west of I-95: 26
  • Number west of the Turnpike: 10
  • Number east of I-95: 11
  • Number east of I-95 and north of Northlake Blvd (#14 on map): 9
  • Number east of I-95, south of Northlake Blvd, and all the way south to Boca Raton: 2 (TWO)
This is from the NHL zooming in on PBC. Note what's happening while the coastal cities keep their "charm".
When the Gulf Stream Hotel project is complete, Commissioner Maier, your role will be known as the obstructionist, the one who fought to keep our 'iconic, historic' Gulf Stream Hotel shuttered. And that's just fine with me and a lot of other people too. But I bet you'll be grinning ear to ear at the grand opening of the hotel in the POC, west of I-95, as if it weren't for you it never would have happened. A crucial cog in the machine.

The Gulf Stream Hotel, one of most spectacular structures from our City's history, marches on towards either the wrecking ball or a renovation. On the debate over 20' feet in building heightTWENTY FEET—you've chosen the wrecking ball. Without that 20' the Gulf Stream is doomed. 

Once again, Maier, City Attorney Glen Torcivia explains why the "people's vote" was declared "null and void". Try taking some notes this time:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Candidates that will appear on the March 5th ballot

Part of the resolution that the City Commission will be adopting tonight to place names on the upcoming Lake Worth municipal election.

Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy's message to 'his people' on crucial vote tonight—Clearly showing prejudice prior to vote

There is no "uncertainty" about the 2013 referendum on heights: that vote was declared "null and void" by the state legislature
McVoy is misleading the public and showing clear prejudice prior to the vote tonight. On tonight's agenda is quite a lot of information on this topic, pages 782–828. The last action taken was by the Historic Resource Preservation Board and the vote was unanimous to approve the re-zoning.

Concerned resident offers his support for the Gulf Stream rezoning request on tonight's City Commission agenda

From: Sander Schrantz
Sent: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 8:19 AM
To: Pamela Lopez
Cc: Michael Bornstein; Pam Triolo; Christopher McVoy; Scott Maxwell; Ryan Maier; Andy Amoroso
Subject: Public Comment for item 12b

"Hello Pam,

I am traveling out the country, but would like for my statement below to be read into the record tonight during public comment for agenda item 12b - rezoning application. Thank you.

City of Lake Worth Commissioners:

Three years ago my wife and I purchased a triplex on S M Street that had previously been an active sober home, and was suffering from years of neglect and shady property management practices by absentee landlords. Over the past 3 years we have invested everything we have and more to completely and legally renovate the property. I am proud to say that we now live on the property, and are renting out the additional renovated units to young local working professionals, including a young family with a toddler. We hope that our hard work and investment will give us a place to start our own family here in the little beach town we love.

We chose lake worth for several reasons, and certainly the small town neighborhood feel was a major factor. We like the laid back, low-rise, eclectic feel of our city, and prefer this to other more developed and bustling local cities such west palm and delray beach.

That being said, I strongly support Hudson Holding's recently proposed plan for renovating and upgrading the historic Gulfstream Hotel, and I encourage the commission to approve the proposed rezoning application that will allow their plan to come to fruition. The proposed rezoning and subsequent renovation plan would be a major win for our city and all of its residents, and it would not, in my opinion, change the low rise feel of our city. All one needs to do to understand this is to go stand in the spot where the proposed plan would take place, and look at the surrounding buildings that would continue to tower over the proposed hotel addition, including the historic hotel itself which is well over 70 feet in height. To claim that this proposal would negatively affect the city and change its small town feel is absurd. [emphasis added] What this proposal would do, however, is convert a decades old dilapidated building into a beautiful and active historic hotel, which would be a point of pride for our city and attract more young families like ourselves to come and purchase homes; not as absentee investors or sober home proprietors, but to live and raise a new generation of proud Lake Worth residents. Please do not give in to the heated rhetoric that so often holds back our beloved city, and approve this rezoning application.

Sander Schrantz - 210 South M Street"

Jeff Perlman, former Delray Beach commissioner and mayor (2000–2007), on growth and development in Delray Beach

This Point of View appears in the Post today (12/8):
     The opposite of growth is not “no growth” but better development.  [emphasis added] The commission has a responsibility to work with developers to make projects as good as they can be.
     Complaining from the dais is not enough. The goal should be to improve good projects and reject bad ones, not chase away investment.
[and. . .]
     We need jobs for our kids and an expanded tax base. We also need to advance beyond our food-and-beverage-based economy.

Two items about crucial vote in Lake Worth tonight (12/8)—A few critics plan to appeal with pitch of "small town charm"

Here is the link to the article corrected in today's (12/8) Palm Beach Post, on the vote tonight, and the link that explains this crucial vote at the Lake Worth City Commission.
On the subject of "small town charm", along with opposing the Gulf Stream Hotel project the critics also oppose almost every other proposal to improve the City, including road improvements in District One, east of I-95, as you'll see in this video from last year:

Very charming, isn't it. District One east of I-95 in Lake Worth has seen many improvements of late, including this recent proposal which will be objected to by the critics, of course. The critics oppose everything, you see, except the things done to improve their particular neighborhood.

I woke up with this song in my head this morning. . .

Lake Worth Bicycle Carolers coming to your door soon!

Here is a flyer for the three carol rides Dec 9, 16 and 23rd and routes for each ride.  Share, invite friends, light your bikes, wear light clothes, bring jingle bells...get festive wear your santa hat, ears or antlers.
For bike carols start gathering at 6pm at the Gulfstream.  We will leave at 6:30 sharp so know the route to catch up if you miss us. I have ten laminated lyric books from last year. For those who want to sing along from the books remember your flashlight (printed lyrics to match the mp3 and updated file below).

For the parade, we are talking about peace signs and tie dye with flowers in our hair. You can never go wrong with Santa hats, antlers or ears. Rudy's has nice tie dye Ts both sleeveless and with sleeves.

Even though the flyer says all "performances" start at 7 it is likely that we will reach McMow at 7:15.  Riding through the neighborhoods is the point and we hit both Tropical Ridge and Sunset Ridge. 

Mel and Vinnie

Here is a song book that you can print out or use as a cheat sheet on the ride. Enjoy and Make Merry!

Monday, December 7, 2015

News segment on Storm Desmond: Reporter Teresa Mannion becomes social media sensation

About the video: "The RTE journalist's report has gone viral, and it is not hard to see why. This is the Storm Desmond weather report that made journalist Teresa Mannion a social media sensation." Read about Storm Desmond here. Enjoy this short video:

Great news from Jorge Pesquera about Canadian tourism in Palm Beach County

Jorge Pesquera is the president/CEO of Discover the Palm Beaches and he has this welcome news for Palm Beach County as reported by Jennifer Sorentrue:
     “With the number of Canadian visitors to The Palm Beaches holding steady at 266,000 visitors for the first three quarters of both this year and last year, we’re encouraged that our targeted marketing efforts in Canada are working,” said Jorge Pesquera, Discover’s president and CEO. “The Palm Beaches fulfill the desires of our Canadian visitors in every respect, and we will be making our case in more compelling ways this coming year.”
     This winter, Discover plans to launch a new marketing campaign targeting Canadian travelers. For the first time, the organization plans to air television commercials in Canada as part of its annual marketing plan to promote the county as a travel and vacation destination for domestic and international tourists.
Although this is great news for most of us, a few that include The Obtuse Blogger (TOB), will be none too happy about this. She doesn't understand that many of the benefits we enjoy all year long in south Florida are because of the money that our friends from Canada spend here. So I say: "Welcome back Snowbirds from Canada!"

Don't forget to stop by and check out Lake Worth! We're just south of West Palm, right across the bridge from Palm Beach (33480), and Delray Beach is only a few minutes south. Hope to see you soon.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Can everyone please tone it down! Can't we have just one moment of silence?

Lake Worth is getting its "moment of silence" next Tuesday at the City Commission meeting: here is the agenda. The subject of prayer at City meetings has been a matter of debate and some think prayer should be eliminated from the agenda like once-candidate Ryan Maier in Lake Worth. Others like Commissioner Ryan Maier think prayer at City meetings is a good idea. In full disclosure I agree with candidate Ryan Maier and disagree with Commissioner Ryan Maier. Does that make sense?

Anyhow, this is from the first page of next Tuesday's commission meeting—there will be no prayer:
Palm Beach County school board member Erica Whitfield will be giving an update and so will PBSO with more on community policing. 

The ROLO neighborhood will also be giving an update. Maybe they will tell us what all the fuss was about at the July 4th Raft Race!

If you have Jewish friends and neighbors in Lake Worth. . .

Sunset tonight (12/6) is the start of Hanukkah. To learn more here is the Wikipedia explanation of this special time of year so important to those of the Jewish faith. Hannukah ends at nightfall on December 14th.

[UPDATE] Can a hotel be built in downtown Lake Worth to 65 feet in height? Yes (and the city attorney explains the concept "null & void")

[Below is a repost from last month on the issue of building heights in downtown Lake Worth. The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) continues to have trouble understanding the vote was made "null and void" by state law. In what can only be described as delusional, she utters this nonsense:
The vote on building height in Lake Worth was declared "null and void" by state law.
Here is the definition of "null and void". If anyone has a children's book that explains what this means please find a way to get it to TOB.]

At the end of this post Glen Torcivia, Lake Worth's City Attorney explains the concept "null and void" which some people in the City still have trouble understanding. To the question, "Can a hotel be built to 65' in our City's downtown?" The answer is Yes and the proof follows. Below is a portion of the City of Lake Worth zoning map which shows the various zoning districts in their current configurataion:
As indicated by the zoning map legend (below), the Downtown Mixed Use (DT) zoning district is shown in bright pink.
Click here for the section from the Lake Worth Code of Ordinances related to the Downtown (DT) zoning district.

Here is the table as it appears which identifies the area east of Federal Hwy. within this zoning district that can accommodate an additional 35 feet beyond the 30' of height which is "permitted by right."
You will notice that the box corresponding to Height - Primary allows for an additional 35 feet if it is a hotel or a mixed use building containing a minimum of 50 rooms. A conditional use request must be applied for which is a more rigorous standard that includes certain findings and additional public hearings. It requires that the project meet certain conditional use standards. Here is more information from the land development on the designation of a hotel district overlay.
Here is what the Comprehensive Plan says about this area which allows a height of up to 65' east of Federal Hwy. in the Downtown Mixed Use future land use designation, which is the foundation of the corresponding zoning district of Downtown (DT).
Here is another chart in the Comprehensive Plan that talks about this portion of the Downtown Mixed Use future land use designation:
The first column identifies the future land use designation and the second column from the right has the corresponding enabling zoning district. The second column from the left shows the additional 35 feet that would be allowed if certain conditions are met.

So, yes, there is an area designated in our land development regulations and Comprehensive Plan that allows additional height up to 65 feet. This was unaffected by the 'heights vote' as that vote result was declared "null and void" by the state legislature.
 I hope this helps by adding a dose of reality to those that continue to hang on to false notions.

The Artists Alley in Delray Beach back in the news

The Artists Alley in Delray Beach is a hugely popular venue for artists and their admirers. As is so often the case artists will occupy a space, make that space popular and exciting, and when market forces take control the costs go up and the artists, in many cases, are forced to find another space to do their work.

In October 2014 the Delray Beach City Commission heard about this situation (see video below) and were cautioned about a city in Palm Beach County that was working very hard to attract artists: Lake Worth. The city of Delray Beach, their CRA, and many others are working very hard to save the Artists Alley and soon we'll learn what the future of that venue will be. When that news becomes available I'll provide an update here on this blog.

The most recent news is from Rich Pollack at The Coastal Star with this article titled, "Delray Beach: Is a renaissance in the making for Artists Alley?"
The artists who remain in Artists Alley are waiting.
     With their galleries and studios open for the monthly Third Thursday event that in the past drew many visitors, artists who have not left — due to higher rents — are waiting for customers.
     They’re also waiting for news from Delray Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency — meeting just across town at City Hall — to hear if it will move forward with stalled plans to transform a nearby 15,000-square-foot warehouse at the south end of the district into an arts incubator.
[and. . .]
     And they’re waiting to see if an ambitious private/public venture, unveiled that same night before the CRA board, will transform the small colony, adding lofts and studio space for artists as well as a 250-seat performance space, townhomes, restaurants and retail space.
     That idea for the proposed multi-use art-centric project — dubbed Artist Alley — was conceived by attorney Joe White, who purchased the row of one-bay warehouses for $4.5 million in a June bankruptcy proceeding.
     But subsequent rent increases — doubling in some cases — spawned a migration of several artists away from the colony, which in its heyday was home for as many as 30 artists and sculptors. [emphasis added]
Below is a YouTube video from October 2014 referenced above. The entire video is very interesting. Many in the City of Lake Worth working to reclaim the blighted and neglected areas in our City will find the segment from the 6:30 mark to 7:10 very compelling and also encouraging.

Wise Words from a Wise Man

Lake Worth mentioned TWICE in the Post in pitch about the homelessness in southern Palm Beach County

The City of Lake Worth gets special treatment in this article in today's (12/6) Sunday paper, front page, above the fold.
In the blog post following this one is more about the homeless in Lake Worth and reference the article in today's print edition that was available on-line yesterday. I warned everyone not to get too excited after the Post's editorial on Friday and now you know what I'm talking about. Once the Post giveth it's not long before they taketh away.

Briefly, the City of Lake Worth has far too many sober homes which I address in the blog post following this one. In the Post article Lake Worth's city manager addresses this:
And, as I've also addressed previously, delivered from parts unknown there have been sightings of homeless people being dropped off at Bryant Park. The City of Lake Worth is doing everything it can but there are constraints: laws, finding the resources, and 'gotcha' politics here in the City are just a few. Without further ado below are two videos on 'gotcha' politics. Pay particular attention to what the nice gentleman says starting at the 1:00 mark:
And below former Commissioner Joann Golden starts off with high praise for the work West Palm Beach is doing to solve homelessness but at the 1:20 mark she goes off the rails and says that residents in Lake Worth would "take out guns and get rid of 'em". The Post article would seem to indicate that is not happening.
If you're homeless in Lake Worth you might want to consider another city. Here in this City, for some people and their agenda, you're a political tool and more valuable without a home and living on the streets.