Last night, November 9th, the regular monthly Commission workshop was held. We also had a brief special Commission meeting to consider a contract related to Town stormwater drainage.
However, before reporting on those meetings, I must report to you all what to me is a sad and unfortunate turn of events: Because of his deeply held opposition to and belief that the recently passed height increase for District C buildings violates the Town Charter, Commissioner Tom Mills tendered his resignation. I will add here that Town Attorney, Keith Davis, has officially opined that the Code modifications approved with a 4 – 0 vote of the commission at the October meeting are fully and completely in conformity with Town Charter requirements. I asked Commissioner Mills to reconsider his actions. He would not. I will not offer further editorial comments, except to say that I am deeply saddened by Commissioner Mills’ action. The Commission will now begin the process of appointing a replacement Commissioner in accordance with the requirement of the Town Charter, which are spelled out in Sec. 3.12 and provides for the filling of a vacancy on the Town Commission. This provision requires the Town Commission to appoint a “suitable person” to hold the office vacated for the remaining unexpired term and until a successor is qualified and elected. In this case, the appointment will run through March 2022. The Town will promulgate the specifics of the application and selection process in a separate communication.
If you wish to discuss this issue further, please contact me or the other Commissioners, including former Commissioner Mills.
Special Commission Meeting:
A contract to install a pipe liner and tidal backflow valve in the storm drainage outfall pipe at the intersection of Lake and Bamboo was approved by a 5 – 0 vote. As most, if not all Town residents are aware, this storm drainage outflow pipe regularly backs up during king tides and floods the intersection with salt water up to two feet deep. This happens because the pipe outfall is sitting on the Lake bottom and tides force water back into the pipe and out the catch basin onto the street.
Under this contract, we will clean the pipe of root intrusions, which will ultimately block its flow if not dealt with. And install an inline (inside the pipe as opposed to an externally mounted) backflow prevention value. This will block the flow of seawater into the pipe and eliminate the flooding. The value will not impede the outflow of stormwater.
The total cost of the contract is approved not to exceed $59,750. The Town has budgeted $100,000 to install valves on our stormwater outflow pipes. We are in the process of reviewing and formulating plans to address the Town's overall stormwater drainage issues. So, you will be hearing more about this topic.
Six topics were discussed, as follows:
A new Sign Ordinance. This code change is driven by two factors. First, there have been several Supreme Court rulings affecting the regulation of public signage. The proposed modifications bring the Town Code into compliance with these changes. Second, at the request of residents, changes improve the capability of folks holding garage sales, or relators holding open houses to advertise their events. Under the proposed changes, it will be possible to have a total of five signs, one at the event location and four at the north-south street (Lake, Atlantic, and Ocean) intersection. The signs will be uniform and provided by and returned to Town Hall after the event. A sign deposit will be required and will be refunded with the return of the signs. Such sign will not be posted until noon the day before the event and must be taken down immediately after the event ends.
- Because of changes in State Law governing contamination of recycled material, a new Interlocal Agreement with the Solid Waste Authority is necessary. The new agreement will include an explanation of the new stipulations relating to the purity or cleanliness of recycled material. We will be explaining the exact impact on our residents in subsequent communication. However, in general, this new arrangement will mandate the recycled material to be free of collateral contamination.
There was another round of discussion on the question of authorizing the parking of Golf Carts for short durations on the concrete pad at the end of the Inlet access road (official known as Private Road #2). Various compromise ideas were again discussed. But none seemed satisfactory and there was no consensus. The Commission will continue to discuss this issue.
The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County asked the Town to consider joining with other communities in signing a proclamation declaring November 15 -22, 2020 as National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Weeks. It was agreed the Proclamation should be approved and declared at the November 23rd Commission meeting.
- At the request of several Commissioners, the District C code was discussed again. The question raised was whether or not the newly approved increased height should be applied to buildings with depressed parking as well and to define in our code the precise meaning of the term “story”. Commission sentiment seemed to favor defining story as living space. There was no appetite to extend the height increase to buildings with depressed parking. There will be another round of discussion on the definition of “story”.
- The final agenda item was the question of who should pay for the trimming of trees in the Town’s ten foot right of way (also known as “the ten-foot strip”). The Town code clearly states that residents are responsible for maintaining all landscaping, including the area between the property line and the road pavement. But since the Town planted a number of trees in the right of way, for many years the Town has maintained them. However, this is an increasingly expensive proposition, the current annual cost of approximately $100,000, and residents benefit unevenly. The practice was stopped in the 2020 budget year. It is not funded in the 2021 budget. There will be more discussion on this issue.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the foregoing, do not hesitate to call or send an email to any of us.