Saturday, November 11, 2017

“WE LOVE THE KEYS”: Tremendous festival next Saturday at Bryant Park in little City of Lake Worth.

Festival is being held at the Bryant Park Amphitheater along the Intracoastal on Saturday, Nov. 18th from
10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.*
Kids 12 years old and under enter FREE. To purchase tickets in advance for $10 use this link; tickets at the gate are $15.

WE LOVE THE KEYS! is an all day family festival with live reggae music, the area’s finest food trucks, an amazing “Kids’ Zone” and so much more.

All proceeds from this event will go to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys, Inc. If you LOVE the Keys, please come out and enjoy this amazing event on the waterfront with your family in support of a wonderful cause. Tickets $15 at the gate.

One hundred percent (100%) of the proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Keys.

The City of Lake Worth’s Bryant Park, in Central Palm Beach County, is located at the western base of the Robert Harris (“Lake Worth”) Bridge. This little City has plenty of FREE street parking or pay to park at the Lake Worth Casino and walk over the bridge to Bryant Park (a ½-mile walk each way).

*If you would like to volunteer for this event or need community service hours, click on this link and look for “Questions”, send in your information and help out Habitat for Humanity at “WE LOVE THE KEYS!”

Friday, November 10, 2017

My conversation with Mr. Buddy Tuppen. Does the name “Tuppen” sound familiar? It should.

I had a very good conversation with Mr. Buddy Tuppen. That would be Buddy Tuppen, the son of another Mr. Tuppen who founded Tuppen’s Marine and Tackle on Dixie Hwy. here in Lake Worth. It was an earlier conversation with Mr. Joseph “Jay” Fearnley at the Lake Worth Rotary that set all this in motion. To read about my conversation with Mr. Fearnley use this link.

The Blueway Trail project on the C-51 Canal between the city’s of Lake Worth and West Palm Beach has been getting a tremendous amount of attention on this blog, as you know, but all this took an unexpected turn after speaking with Mr. Fearnley earlier this year: the Blueway Trail in the context of history. There once was a marina on the C-51 Canal in Lake Worth. More on that below; first some images to put this in perspective:

Inside the hashed box: Spillway Park, C-51 Canal and the S-155 “Spillway” structure as it is today. To see this for yourself take Maryland Ave. off Federal Hwy in Lake Worth.

Note the change in orientation and C-51 Canal (on right). This image is from 1937. In the center you can see the early platted streets of what is now the College Park neighborhood in Lake Worth.

This image is from the 1950’s. Compare with the first image above. See the marina on the Lake Worth side of the C-51? How many businesses supported this marina? Motels? Restaurants? Fishing supply stores?

Buddy Tuppen is in his 80s now. His family used to live on 15th Ave. North and would ride his bike with other kids to fish around what is now Spillway Park. Doing the math that must have been around the late 1940s.

He remembers the era when the picture was taken (see image above from the 1950s). This was south and east of the previous Dixie Hwy. bridge. You can see that on the aerial. He said there was also a “lock” so that boats could pass through. He said the land was owned either by the City or the County (Jay Fearnley said the City owned that land). He remembered boats in slips that were perpendicular with the dock which ran parallel to the shoreline of the C-51.

The marina was run by a fellow named Bill Murrelle. After the City or County made him leave he set up shop in Lantana and had a place called Murrelle Marine which is still in business today. Murrelle sold that business but it kept the same name. He has since passed after moving to Sebastian.

Buddy Tuppen went on to give more interesting history: his Grandfather bought the land where Tuppen’s Marine is today. The business began in either 1936 or 1937. His grandfather bought the land for past due taxes, about $38. Buddy said his Grandfather had to borrow the money from friends to make the purchase and wondered how he was going to pay it back.

Prior to being Tuppen’s Marine that lot had been a Ford dealership that was wiped out by the 1928 hurricane. The property sat idle after that hurricane until it was purchased by the Grandfather Tuppen’s in the mid 30’s.

Do you have any more history and/or pictures of this area along the C-51 Canal is Lake Worth? Please feel free to contact me: 561-308-0364; email:

The showroom “Grand Opening” at Tuppen’s in the 1950s. Its still there at 1006 N. Dixie Hwy.

Will another marina open up on the C-51 Canal? If so, customers will be heading to stores like Tuppen’s, eating at our restaurants, and looking for hotels. Just like it used to be in the little City of Lake Worth.

A blog post from yesterday: Historic preservation, historic districts, and an oft-told meme “opt out” rears up again.

But first, an explanation and some clarification. 

The post that’s getting so much attention today is below following a very short video. Why is it getting so much attention? Because of the words “opt out” and another thing called the Secretary of Interior standards for historic preservation. The words opt out are very catchy and grab the public’s attention (you’ll read more about “opt out” later on), especially all those who are excited about the prospect of ‘opting out’ of historic preservation. And just as misleading and misunderstood are the Secretary of Interior standards for historic preservation, which are in fact subjective standards.

Despite what government staff and even knowledgeable proponents of historic preservation would like you to believe, Moses did not write the Secretary of Interior standards. These “standards” are meant to be guidelines. Just like history marches on so do construction materials and better, more efficient ways to protect ones property and provide for ones safety.

Just like “opt out” is a meaningless term that no one can define or explain in a legally-defined way, the words “Secretary of Interior standards” are used reverently by others like they were the Dead Sea Scrolls. The way to solve the problem with historic preservation here in the City of Lake Worth is explained below and we’ll get a lot more accomplished a lot more quickly by “opting out” of using empty rhetoric and misunderstood, confusing words or ‘standards’.

When a city, like the City of Lake Worth for example, decides to veer from the Secretary of Interior Standards there is no penalty like eternal damnation, a purgatory, or even a time-out penalty, forced to stand in a corner at City Hall for ten minutes. However some of those administering the historic preservation programs may get a little annoyed and call someone at the State level to complain but that’s about the extent of it, except of course more lawyers will need to be paid and more Commission meetings held with seemingly endless Kabuki-style debate on the dais:

So. Without further ado. . .

The blog post from yesterday about “Opt Out!”

As explained many times before on this blog a meme is a “word virus”, a word or words transmitted from one person or entity to other people or groups; some memes can spread like wildfire. Many of you in the City of Lake Worth will be familiar with the last time “Opt Out!” was the meme two years ago which ultimately prompted a legal opinion from the law firm Torcivia, Donlon, Goddeau & Ansay:

Ms. Squire states that she did not receive an “opt out” form to opt out of having her property included in the designation of the Northeast Lucerne Townsite Local Historic District.

Why the meme “opt out” is back is no surprise to anyone. Because the City of Lake Worth’s historic preservation program has been so poorly managed, in particular the last 2½ years, the public is completely fed up with it. And so are our elected officials. Back in 1998–1999 I was part of the effort that helped start the historic preservation program here in this City. And I’m not happy at all with what’s become of this program. I know. Because I get the phone calls and emails too. But more about “opt out” below.

The topic of historic preservation and historic districts is now a major topic of discussion and debate at the City Commission and a reporter from NBC5/WPTV was there on Tuesday night, November 7th. As expected, reporter Andrew Lofholm’s news segment finally got the attention of the beat reporter from The Palm Beach Post and a short article was hurriedly put together and appears in today’s (11/9) print edition.

Recommend everyone watch the news segment that appeared on the 11:00 news following the Commission meeting last Tuesday, click on this link to see the video produced by WPTV.

Related to the changes in the historic preservation ordinance, I couldn’t help but notice a few things. First and most glaring, Pamala Ryan, a senior associate lawyer for City Attorney Glen Torcivia gave the presentation for the City’s Community Sustainability Historic Preservation Dept. I can’t recall anything like this ever happening before. The staff at the Historic Preservation Dept. should have been out front in the lead taking the questions and “slings and arrows”, not an attorney. Someone on the dais should have at least questioned why this was the case last Tuesday.

Second reading of “Ordinance No. 2017-27 - amending Chapter 23 Land Development Regulations, Article 5 Supplemental Regulations, Section 23.5-4 Historic Preservation” will be held at the City Commission on December 5th. It will be interesting to see who takes the lead next time.

Now back to the issue, letting residents “opt out”
of historic districts.

Many who purchase a home or property in a historic district are “buying into” historic preservation. But what most people weren’t expecting is the ambiguity, arbitrary decision-making, lack of design guidelines, and bad customer service from what many residents have complained about as well: an unsympathetic historic preservation staff.

It was Commissioner Omari Hardy who opened the door to the possibility of the City allowing property owners to “opt out” of a historic district. Hardy’s idea is not a new one by any means. But it needs to be noted the courts have never ruled on such a thing since the state legislature has never taken up this issue. The practical impact of ‘opting out’ would mean if you didn’t want your home improvements to be reviewed according to the Secretary of Interior standards for historic preservation you could just “opt out” and make whatever changes to your house or commercial structure without regard to those standards.

On the positive side this would greatly facilitate the speed and expense of approval for any style of window, door, roofing material, or siding, just a few examples, in terms of the actual building materials. It would also allow you to construct any size of addition in any style that is not representative of the original historic structure. Scale or size of the addition would not be a factor to be considered if it followed the City’s guidelines for home construction. One could basically build anything on their property as long as it met the standards and regulations contained in the zoning code.

Over time your neighbor and other houses on your block could also choose to “opt out” and be free of such standards. They could also demolish their structure that was formerly in a historic district and build a new building that would only have to meet the current standards contained in the City’s land development regulations for that zoning district. Houses built in the 1920s through the 1960s would not need an extra level of approval for demolition. They could just be torn down with a demolition permit issued by the building department.

But leaving the historic preservation staff out of this for a moment, imagine how that would impact the City of Lake Worth’s character? A group of volunteers has successfully produced and marketed a book called “The Cottages of Lake Worth — Living Large in Small Spaces”. This coffee table book has been marketing the character and charm of this City. What if future owners of these cottages just choose to “opt out” of the historic district they are in? Suddenly we are then a vibrant and charming historic city threatened by losing what made it so special in the first place, its history.

An analogy I’ve used is a “rowboat with fifty small holes”. Allowing property owners to “opt out” of a historic district would sink the entire historic preservation program. The problem IS NOT the historic program, the problem is how it’s been implemented the last 2½ years or so. The backlash we are seeing against the historic preservation program, and the discussion again of allowing homeowners to “opt out”, is due to an overzealous staff administering the program.

Historic districts have been shown to help sustain and increase property values around the nation where they are established and run properly for the benefit of everyone. That can all be destroyed by what is perceived as an overly-critical and time-consuming process experienced by the property owner. What I fear now is the City of Lake Worth is creating a small army of ambassadors telling everyone here in Florida, and beyond, how terrible it is to purchase a home in a historic district.

The changes approved last Tuesday night, passed unanimously on first reading, will make the historic preservation ordinance easier for people to understand and it gives priority to the more important façades of structures, e.g., the front of the home and less so to other parts of the structure. This should make the process easier to administer and more understandable for the property owner.

And don’t forget you can get a property tax exemption on your City taxes for a period of ten years based on the value of improvements to your historic property. That would be lost if people chose to “opt out” of a historic district.

And lastly, when it comes to the need for impact windows and doors and homes that need new roofs — it’s only a matter of time before we get a direct hit by a hurricane — and as the city of Charleston, S.C. is coming to grips with addressing problems and public concern about its own world-renowned historic preservation program:

“We’re losing something
either way.”

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

NBC5/WPTV reporter Andrew Lofholm at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting last night.

Below is an excerpt from the text of the news segment which aired on the 11:00 news last night (Nov. 7th) along with the video from WPTV as well.

Check back tomorrow for more of my observations about what happened last night at “New Business” on the Commission agenda, specifically the idea of allowing property owners to “opt out” of historic districts which would in essence, over time, be the end of this City’s historic preservation program; an analogy, a rowboat with fifty small holes:

Item 11A. Ordinance No. 2017-27 - First Reading - amending Chapter 23 “Land Development Regulations”, Article 5 “Supplemental Regulations”, Section 23.5-4 “Historic Preservation” and set the second reading and public hearing for December 5, 2017.

The WPTV reporter did a good job reporting on this topic and maybe the assignment editor will remember to pencil-in Lofholm for the upcoming meeting on December 5th, second reading at the City Commission.

The deeper question, beyond historic preservation, is the overall vision for our City of Lake Worth. How can we say on one hand our City is “open for business” and there is such a need for affordable housing, and on the other hand we’re squeezing out Millennials and young families with children from being able to find and/or afford to upgrade a home in any of our historic districts? Our City has created its very own housing affordability crisis.

And a question: Why are there no historic districts west of Dixie Hwy.? Our history east of Dixie is more worth saving than our history west of Dixie, you know, “on the other side of the tracks”?

Critics of historic preservation, specifically critics of historic districts, are already using the City of Lake Worth as an example why historic districts are a bad policy idea here in South Florida. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities this City could become a test case state-wide of even nationwide for critics of historic districts and how to go about dismantling them for protection from onerous, expensive regulation and decisions by a too-often unsympathetic bureaucracy.

What’s ironic about all this our very own staff managing our historic preservation program has provided all the ammunition critics have been looking for all along. Our City of Lake Worth could go down in the history books as the city that set back historic preservation efforts two decades or even longer. If that should ever happen, it would be very sad, but not unexpected.

No one can say they are surprised. January 2016 was the tipping point in the City’s South Palm Park neighborhood and then the public reached a “boiling point” in June 2016. We kept hearing from those administering Lake Worth’s historic preservation program they were listening. But they weren’t. And the complaints kept rolling in. The phones of our electeds kept ringing. And now here we are.

Here’s an excerpt from the WPTV news segment
last night
(video below):

     The historical designation rules are set by the state’s Department of Interior. Any local law needs approval, which they finally have. The state rejected the first proposal earlier this year. On Tuesday night in its first reading, relaxed rules were approved 5-0 before city commissioners.
     “I don’t think it’s up to us on the commission to tell people what they can and cannot do to their homes over and above the regulations that we already have,” Commissioner Omari Hardy said in an interview.
     The rules, include allowing hurricane windows, no regulation on fences and approved future guidelines on design options.
     Early next year, Hardy will try to get the law to go one step further by allowing homeowners the option to opt out of historical designation altogether. [emphasis added]

Click on play and the news segment by reporter Andrew Lofholm will begin following a brief advertisement:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Too bad The Palm Beach Post doesn’t have a beat reporter covering the City of Greenacres any more.

Why? Because tonight at 7:00 there’s a meeting at the City of Greenacres’ City Council to consider an ordinance “lengthening terms for elected officials to four [4] years”.

You see. When it comes to consistent political news there are only six cities in Palm Beach County that really matter at the Post:
The City of Lake Worth is a Special City, every Monday. But political news from Greenacres doesn’t matter to the editor(s).

So why is the City of Lake Worth so special every week in the print edition and other cities, towns and villages like Lake Clarke Shores, Palm Springs, Lantana, Hypoluxo, Atlantis and Greenacres aren’t? What gives?

Believe it or not, that question has never been
answered by the editor at the Post.
But you can try writing a Letter to the Editor and maybe it will even get published!

Soft launch of The Cottages of Lake Worth hardcover books, 2nd printing.

Stay tuned for upcoming events and book signings in the near future. The first printing of 1,000 books sold out very quickly thanks to glowing book reviews by Carleton Varney at the Shiny Sheet, reporter Jan Engoren at the Sun Sentinel, a lot of community involvement and, of course, all the volunteers. The 2nd printing of 2,000 books was ordered and just recently delivered.

As part of the “soft launch” the Cottages of Lake Worth volunteers sold 8 more books at the Lake Worth Waterside Farmers Market last Saturday (open every Saturday until April).

Interested in picking up a book or books?
Find out where below.
Two convenient places to pick up the Cottages book in Downtown Lake Worth are the City’s news-
stand at 600 Lake Ave. and bookstore
at 801 Lake Ave. (the Book Cellar just
recently opened
in our City).

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Tomorrow at City Hall: Inaugural 14-member Lake Worth Road Bond Citizens Oversight Committee.

But first, this is very important: There are two consecutive meetings scheduled for Monday (Nov. 6th) starting at 6:00: see Agenda #1 and #2 below. Please share this information with board members and everyone else you know who may be interested in attending one or both of these meetings.

Also important to know: If you have ideas how to spend money from the City of Lake Worth’s 2016 $40M Neighborhood Road Bond referendum the voters passed overwhelmingly and/or the County’s ¢1 Sales Tax proceeds PLEASE READ THE BALLOT LANGUAGE FIRST! For example, suggestions about planting more shrubs, trees, and road beautification are a moot point and are not part of the Neighborhood Road Bond which is to fix and repair INFRASTRUCTURE (funding for plants and trees along roadways will have to come from other sources: grants, donations, philanthropic organizations).

The information below may be a bit difficult for some to understand. For example, on October 17th during public comment at a City Commission meeting, a member of the as-yet-to-meet Neighborhood Road Bond Citizens Oversight Committee said, “Nobody ever talks to me!” Why that is will be partly explained next Monday when Agenda #2 comes up, the “Sunshine Law” (see below) explained by City Attorney Glen Torcivia and Finance Director Marie Elianor.

For all fourteen members of the Road Bond Citizens Oversight Committee and a brief description of this committee’s role click on this link and then scroll down (further down on the same page is more information about the City of Lake Worth’s seven-member Finance Advisory Board as well).

Just to be very clear!

There are two (2) meetings next Monday
at City Hall:

  • 6:00–6:32*: Finance Advisory Board meeting (see Agenda #1 below).
  • 6:32–6:40: Mingle, be charming and vibrant. No yelling, acting out, or misbehavior of any sort will be tolerated.
  • 6:40–7:27: Neighborhood Road Bond Citizens Oversight Committee meeting (see Agenda #2).
  • 7:30: Adjournment.
*Note: All times are approximate and there will be public comment at both meetings. If you’re interested in giving public comment at one or both of these meetings, for the rules and a brief “How to” click on this link. The time limit is three (3) minutes; however, once you’ve made your point it’s completely acceptable to say “Thank You” to the Chair and return to your seat.
     Also of note, one or more members of the City Commission, or any other City board or committee, may attend and speak at public comment.

Agenda #1: City of Lake Worth Finance
Advisory Board.

  • Roll call begins at 6:00.
  • Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Agenda: Additions/deletions/reordering.
  • Approval of minutes.
  • Opening comments by the Chair, Richard Guercio.
  • Public comment: Three (3) minutes per participant.
  • New business: A) New member introductions. B) Responsibilities, Ordinance 2010-03, Glen Torcivia, City Attorney. C) FY18 Approved Budget, Marie Elianor, Financial Services Director. D) Frequency and date of new meetings.
  • Unfinished business.
  • Adjournment at 6:32.

Agenda #2: Orientation and Organizational
Meeting, Neighborhood Road Bond
Citizens Oversight Committee.

  • Roll call at 6:40 [once again, all times are approximate].
  • Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Agenda: Additions/deletions/reordering.
  • Opening comments: A) Glen Torcivia, City Attorney. B) Marie Elianor, Financial Services Director.
  • Public comment.
  • Business: A) Open meeting, introductions. B) Sunshine Law. C) Public Records Law. D) State Code of Ethics. E) Responsibilities (Resolutions 34-2016, 47-2016, and 62-2016). F) Discussion: election of officers. G) Frequency and date of new meetings.
  • Closing comments.
  • Adjournment at 7:30.

And lastly, next Tuesday (Oct. 7th) is a regular meeting of the City Commission, the only one this month (however, there is a City Commission Work Session on Nov. 28th). Next Wednesday is the Historic Resource Preservation board meeting and Thursday the City’s Tree Board meets.