Key vote set for controversial 25-story tower near waterfront

The city’s push to create incentives for a spine of downtown office towers leading to the waterfront gets a key hearing Wednesday before the Downtown Action Committee.

The plan to create the Okeechobee Business District, which would stretch down Okeechobee Boulevard from Rosemary Avenue to Flagler Drive, was prompted by Related Urban Development’s desire to rezone a property 300 feet from the Flagler waterfront to allow a 25-story Class A tower.

An analysis by city staff said jobs and other economic benefits of adding top-tier offices would outweigh the loss of nearby condo residents’ and office tenants’ views and would create open public space along the waterfront, while preserving the historic First Church of Christ Scientist, beside which the tower would rise.

The city’s Planning Board unanimously agreed at its July 26 meeting. The DAC approval represents a final hurdle before the city commission hears the matter at an as-yet-unscheduled date.

Opponents say creating the Okeechobee Business District amounts to poorly disguised spot zoning to allow the developer’s 25-story tower in an area that a 1996 voters’ referendum restricted to 5 stories. They say it would generate traffic at the already busy entry to the Royal Park Bridge and violate voters’ desire to keep tall buildings off the waterfront.

The DAC meeting starts at 9 a.m. in  the city hall auditorium.

Look out for trains downtown! Signal work in progress

 

 

As Brightline upgrades the signal system for its tracks through downtown this week and next, off-duty officers and safety personnel will be stationed at crossings to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians, the rail line says. Safety personnel will “flag” or block the grade crossings as the trains pass through.

The work is taking place Thursday through Tuesday, July 13 through 18, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The following crossings will be affected: 15th Street, 3rd Street, Banyan Boulevard, Clematis Street, Fern Street, Gardenia Street, Hibiscus Street and Okeechobee Boulevard (eastbound and westbound).

  

Immobility study? West Palm explores how to ease parking crunch

(Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

 

This, from the office of Mayor Jeri Muoio:

As a next step in West Palm Beach’s mobility study, city planners are reaching out to merchants and other downtown groups for their ideas on easing downtown parking problems.

According to the Mayor’s Office, city planners recently met to discuss availability and affordability of parking downtown. They are evaluating policy changes to manage demand, especially during events and tourist season.

Consultant Sam Schwartz, retained by Alta Planning + Design, which is conducting the mobility study, is completing an initial report on parking. The report summarizes the existing situation, best practices in parking management,  alternative transportation options, how many parking spaces are available, demand, and what downtown residents and business owners said.

To learn more about the city’s mobility study, visit www.wpbmobility.com.

West Palm news briefs: Cat surgery, parking spaces and homelessness

Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, 3100-3200 N. Military Trail, will offer free cat surgeries for the entire month of July, for to domestic cats belonging to residents of Palm Beach County and free roaming cats. Limited space is available and all interested are asked to visit PeggyAdams.org/schedule-an-appointment to complete the online application.

Domestic cats are by appointment only and strays must be brought must be brought in a covered trap, one cat per trap, and be delivered between 8 and 9 a.m. For additional information, visit PeggyAdams.org or call 561-686-3663.

The Palm Beach County Community Services Department, the Homeless and Housing Alliance (HHA) and the Homeless Advisory Board will host a forum July 25 on the county’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness and to galvanize stakeholders around short-term goals to end chronic homelessness and veteran homelessness by the end of 2018.

The event will take place at Vista Center, 2300 N. Jog Road, in Conference Room 1W 47/50, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This forum will also discuss HHA’s plan to place homeless youth ages 18-24 in housing within 100 days, strategies to increase affordable housing units to assist our homeless population and prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless, and methods for building a more efficient homeless services system.

Starting Monday, July 10, the parking lot adjacent to the former City Hall at 200 2nd St. will no longer be available for parking, due to demolition. In addition and for the duration of the demolition and subsequent construction, all on-street parking at meters along the perimeter of the site at these locations will be unavailable:

• East side of 200 block of Olive.

• North side of 2nd Street (between Olive and Narcissus).

• North Narcissus, 200 block.

• South side, 200 block of Banyan Blvd.

For additional information, contact Parking Administrator Ed Davis at 561-822-1495.

Patricia Cormack of West Palm Beach was honored as Certified Nursing Assistant of the Year by the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) during the FHCA 2017 Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Awards held in St. Petersburg Beach. Cormack was cited as a team leader who exemplifies positivity, punctuality and a winning smile and attitude. In her 30-plus years at Renaissance Health and Rehabilitation, Cormack has served in the dietary department and housekeeping, and as activities assistant.

 

Thousands pack West Palm waterfront for fireworks

Congrats to West Palm Beach’s events staff for packing the waterfront with happy revelers on the 4th. Here are a few photos of the fireworks display over the Lake Worth Lagoon:

$4 pet adoptions today at PBC Animal Care

 

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is offering pet adoptions for $4 dollars today for all animals.

Whether you’re looking for a dog or cat, rabbit or guinea pig, your new best friend is available and will be spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, current on vaccinations, and come with a free bag of Science Diet pet food and more.

Adoptions hours are from 11 a..m. to 6 p.m. today, at the facility at 7100 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach. Visit www.pbcgov.com/animal for more information or to see a listing of all animals available.

For general questions, call 561-233-1200.

Why is Val Kilmer coming to West Palm Beach?

Actor, writer and director Val Kilmer is scheduled to appear at Palm Beach Improv July 9, to introduce a screening of his one-man play about Huckleberry Finn- and Tom Sawyer-author Samuel Clemens.

The show, Citizen Twain, played to sold-out houses in Los Angeles and now Kilmer will present the West Palm Beach screening of his directorial debut about Clemens and his writings as Mark Twain.

Samuel Clemens, 1835-1910.

Kilmer, who appeared in Top Gun, Batman Forever and The Doors, will introduce the 90-minute film and conduct a question and answer period with the audience afterward.

VIP ticket holders will have an opportunity to chat with him after the Q&A.

The show starts at 7 p.m. General admission is $30. VIP tickets are $70. Open to 21 and over, two-drink minimum. Visit http://www.palmbeachimprov.com for more information. Palm Beach Improv is in CityPlace, at 550 S Rosemary Ave.

Who’s running for office in West Palm Beach?

Sylvia Moffett

It’s that time of year when campaigns grind into gear for the March 18 city commission races.

Three of the five commissioners are up for re-election: Sylvia Moffett in District 1 in the North End, Paula Ryan in District 3, which stretches roughly from the El Cid area to the Northwest, and Shanon Materio in District 5, in the South End.

Ryan

So far only Moffett faces a challenge, from pastor Martina Tate Walker, who ran unsuccessfully against her in 2016.

Martina Tate Walker

Materio is holding her campaign kickoff at 5:30 p.m. today, June 28, at the Palm Beach Zoo, 1301 Summit Blvd.

 

Game night 6 p.m. Monday on waterfront green

Aesop’s Tables. (Contributed)

Blogger, Tweeter and international man of mystery Aaron Wormus will host a free community game night at 6 p.m. Monday, June 26, at West Palm Beach’s waterfront green.

Wormus, the “guy” behind the aGuyonClematis Twitter account and blog, will lead the event at the city’s outdoor art exhibition, Aesop’s Tables, where picnic tables are painted with themes of Aesop’s fables.

Equipped with silly games, ice breaker activities and prizes, Wormus will warm us with all things fun while showcasing the exhibition, created by 19 local artists.

For information about Aesop’s Tables and other West Palm Beach summer events, visit wpb.org/events.

Aaron Wormus, fresh from a morning bath at a nuclear waste dump.

 

 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County hosts school supply and backpack drive

Members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County show off their new backpack donated by Tropical Shipping in last year’s school supply drive. (contributed)

Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is hosting a school supply and backpack drive, from now through July 21, to benefit club children and keep them on track for academic success.

Every year, Boys & Girls Clubs works with community partners to send disadvantaged children to school prepared with the supplies they need to succeed. Community members can donate school supplies or host a supply and backpack drive in their neighborhood or office.

Suggested supplies include backpacks, composition books (wide rule), spiral notebooks, construction paper, copy paper, pencils, pens, color pencils and markers, crayons, highlighters, post-It notes, glue sticks, tape rolls, student scissors and other office supplies.

Donations of gift cards to office supply stores or retail vendors are also welcomed and will be used by the clubs to purchase needed supplies from school-issued lists.

For information and drop-off locations, visit www.bgcpbc.org or call 561-683-3287.