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Atlantic Crossing

Posted on April 15, 2016 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Our town, Delray Beach, our "Village by the Sea" continues its enormous appeal to every kind of visitor whether a diner, shopper, beach aficionado or exploiters seeking to maximize their profits and ignore our Land Development Regulations (LDRs) at the cost of our residents' quality of life.

The history of our “Village by the Sea” can be found in my latest book – Delray Beach – The Renaissance of a Village by the Sea.

 

Here is a tip of the hat to Mayor Glickstein and our current commissioners for defending our quality of life and our LDRs. They listened to our citizens in voting against approval of the significantly over designed Atlantic Crossing. This monolith was approved by a previous mayor (our former good friend, Woody McDuffie, in his last week in office) and the then commissioners.

As we understand it the current lawsuit brought by the Ohio developer and Mr. DeSantis against the citizens of Delray Beach demands $25 million. This despite the planned density being nearly twice what is allowed under our LDRs.

So, I appreciate the important vote taken recently by our Mayor Glickstein and commissioners Petrolia, Jarjura, Katz and Jacquet. I understand that suit is to appear in the court in October. (Oh, if only they meant October, 2056).

 

Join me in thanking our mayor and commissioners.

 

Sandy

 

To read more about the history of Delray Beach see my book, Delray Beach – The Renaissance of a Village by the Sea, and in particular for the history of the area of Delray Beach used for the planned Atlantic Crossing see Chapter 9.

 

VOTE Mayor Glickstein om March 10th

Posted on March 7, 2015 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

This coming Tuesday, March 10th is our Election Day!Please be sure to vote and urge your friends and neighbors to vote too!

March elections have notoriously light turnouts! Just a few votes make too great a difference.

After reviewing the candidates, I have concluded that while several are near equal in appeal except Mayor Cary Glickstein who stands head and shoulders over his opposition (despite the poisonous, ridiculous and untrue emails from former mayors Alperin and McDuffie who helped get Delray Beach into this terrible situation of Gridlock, loss of our Quality of Life, including voting for Atlantic Crossing, maintaining too high allowable densities,and 2) transferring Block 101 (former City Library and Chamber of Commerce locales) to the CRA to sell, giving away property rightfully owned by the residents "For Public use in perpetuity" with no choice or recompense to the rightful owners, the residents. They eliminated the Reversion Clause Why?

This property was generously long ago given by generous residents to their fellow citizens for public use in perpetuity For years, City Hall, Fire and Police stations were there. Now, as it is for sale by the CRA. Why?.

Transferring to the CRA to sell without the voters' approval is certainly not in the best interests of our residents.

Those two supporters of the Mayor's opposition, Mr. Carney, contributed significantly in creating the mess, the difficulties we must now endure. And we'll soon have to endure Atlantic Crossing's impact.

BUT, Mayor Glickstein has the Integrity, intelligence, Independence and a Passion for our "Small Town brand! And he has worked very, very hard these past few years accomplishing many favorable goals including

1) significantly improving the City's fiscal problems;

2) Putting out to bid the City's Solid Waste removal contract (not done while Alperin and McDuffie were Mayor, saving us taxpayers $8 million;.

3) Replaced the inept, so called City Manager Mr McDuffie voted to bring on board just days before leaving office. (that City Manager who demanded received a large sum from the taxpayers to leave, thanks to two like minded existing commissioners.

Please understand,I do not enjoy directing criticizing individuals like former Majors Alperin and McDuffie, but they continually send out poison emails to voters including me castigating Mayor Glickstein with innuendo, half truths and even erroneous statements. So, I have no choice but to try to respond..

My total commitment is to my hometown, its residents, our quality of life and its "Small town" uniqueness. I have no "sacred cows" beyond those and my church and family

I applaud loudly Mayor Glickstein, Commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Jordana Jarjura who have worked so hard to reverse the pattern of giving away our town to wealthy developers

Delray Beach is coveted. We need not give"Incentives" to developers who refuse to build within our Land Development Regulations (LDRs).

Consider the extra density and height at Worthing Place(Alperin, et al), and Atlantic Crossing by former Mayor McDuffie just days before leaving office. (including giving away NE Seventh Avenue free of charge), land owned by our citizens, not owned by former mayor McDuffie.

Time will tell, of course, but it certainly looks like Mayors Alperin, Carney and McDuffie were not representing the best interests of their citizens while in office.

,

Atlantic Crossing developers

1) initially promised a "national anchor", Where is it?

2) U.S.#1 access of consequence,

3) did not present an authentic Traffic Impact Study and

4) is now cannibalizing Atlantic Plaza of its fine tenants and

5) are salivating over Veteran's Park, given to the residents in 1924 for "Public Use In Perpetuity)." (Watch them closely).

I urge my friends, their friends (please share), relatives and others to Please Vote to Re elect Mayor Cary Glickstein,and vote for Bruce Bastian for Commissioner whom I believe has those same vital characteristics on Integrity, Intelligence, Independence and a Passion For the "Small Town Brand" of the City Of Delray Beach.

I am convinced that together with missioners Petrolia and Jarjura our city will return to its unique quality of life, its small ambiance and we can rest assured the shenanigans of previous Commissions will have, "Gone With The Wind.!

Thank you for your interest and your time.,

Sincerely,

Sandy Simon

Vote for Mayor Glickstein March 10

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On March 10th, only a few days from now, Delray Beach will hold a very important election. Please get out and vote!

 

Today's excellent majority on the City Commission,comprised of Mayor Cary Glickstein,, Shelly Petrolia and Jordana Jarjura, have been successful in turning our political culture around from "anything developers want, they should get" to "This is our city. Respect our Rules, Culture, Quality of Life and the Vision of our citizens"

Those previous Commissions approved the taking of over 100 parking places and sold the city land at give away prices of $6500 per dwelling unit to permit Worthing place. CRA demanded.

The City Commission for some ill advised reasons actually took title to Worthing Place parking garage, in an instant removing it from the City's tax base and making you and me, our city's taxpayers, pay for the lost tax revenue and make up, security, lighting maintenance and insurance.

Then, the same group of political "growth advocates" took another 100 plus parking spaces to build the near empty Old School Square parking garage. The city paid $7 million for that land while removing three employment centers. Again, pressed by and coordinated with the misguided CRA.

Then these same politicians voted to convey the land owned by the citizens and "for public use in perpetuity" where the old library and Chamber of Commerce stood to the CRA so they can sell this delicious and valuable asset and enrich itself to NO benefit to the citizens who are the rightful owners. The CRA is pushing to sell at another under - market price for a proposed iPIC 8 theater complex that should not be in the Central Business District, but a mere one block south where it would be required to provide 800 parking spaces, not 200 in the CBD

The developer estimates that 440,000 movie goers (200,000 more automobiles entering from SE Fourth Avenue? will descend on our downtown to see a movie, taking all parking spaces for many blocks and adding to our existing gridlock.

IT IS FAR TOO BIG. It would be like trying to put your size 8 or 10 foot into a size 4 shoe

Those politicians prior to today's Commission majority created such a mess in City Hall to say nothing of destroying our quality of Life and "small town" brand are at it again. They were the politicians who approved Atlantic Crossing.

Only our Commission Majority including Mayor Glickstein have reconstructed City Hall with more work to be done.

That is why I am committed to Mayor Cary Glickstein, Commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Jordana Jarjura to remain in office.

Thus, I am urging all my friends and their friends to get out and vote for Mayor ZA Glickstein's re-election, and a like minded, experience replacement of Adam Ffrankel's seat which is becoming vacant.

There are several excellent candidates who have placed themselves as candidates for there "Frankel seat.

After meeting with several of them, I am urging my friends and their friends to vote for Mitch Katz. He has the better and longer experience and believes as the others say, that Delray Beach must return to its historic roots as a unique, very special "Village By The Sea."

I am convinced that Mayor Glickstein, Commissioners Petrolia, Jarjura and Katz will have the Independence, Integrity, Intelligence and Passion for keeping Delray Beach unique, special, and retain its historic culture of mutual respect, moderation, courtesy and will find the ways and means to improve our current over building, over trafficked downtown, continue to reverse the trends the CRA and past commissions.

It is not enough to sincerely want a better town, better neighborhoods,but it requires political leaders with courage and know how to find ways to achieve these needed changes.

Thank you for reading this message, paid for by no one.

Sandy Simon

Introduction my research of my new book Remembering II

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Did you know that Delray Beach is the only town on Florida's southeast coast where the first settlers owned their own land and created a "Rural Village By The Sea" culture?

Most cities are the result of "Tenant workers( West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach. tenant farmers those who purchased from northern developers (Lake Worth). And, of course, those who came to remote South Florida to "Get Lost" (And hopefully, never be found (Miami).

Delray's Midwestern culture of understatement, mutual respect and the like, from 1896 until today, 2015, remains in the DNA of the people of our special community. That culture, having nothing top do with population figures, but rather has everything to do with one's definition of a safe,enjoyable and thus coveted quality of life is where people of our community live with an psychic attitude that "Whatever is good for me must be good for the village". And whatever is good for the village must be good for me. Or it is not good for everyone in the village.

When people of a "village" community believe in that culture and have a passion for their "village" then they tend to give to the community and not seek reward from the people of that community.

Here are a few examples I have discovered researching for my new book, REMEMBERING II : "The Renaissance Of A Village By The Sea,"

In 1898 After William Linton who was found to sell lands he didn't own and didn't pay his bills left the small farming "Village By The Sea, Mrs. Sarah Gleason (Gleason Street), widow of Captain Gleason and their partner William Hunt actually GAVE to their neighbors and fellow residents for public use in perpetuity the two miles of beautiful public beaches we enjoy today.

And, in 1924 during the "Florida Land Boom", in keeping with their "village culture" Mr.James and Mrs. Elizabeth Chambers actually GAVE to their fellow residents for public use in perpetuity the entire city block adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway. That entire block is known today as Veteran's Park. In years past as "The City Park, there were shuffle board courts, a beautiful band shell where weekly concerts were held, playgrounds for children, fishing spots for all. 

Imagine what our community would be like without these magnificent, iconic benefits!

But their devotion and generosity toward their fellow residents are not alone. There are many more excellent examples of the generosity and commitment to their fellow residents over the 120 years of Delray Beach's history. Stay tuned.

 

Delray Beach - Vote to maintain the Village by the Sea

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

If you believe as I do that Delray Beach should do all it can to do and maintain it's small town culture, respect it's history and preserve its way of life then you will vote for Cary Glickstein for Mayor and Shelly Petrolia for Commission. I urge you to pass this on to your friends and make sure all of us get to the poles and vote for these very fine people and any other candidate seeking Commission Frankel's seat if that candidate believes as you and I.

Delray Beach - Planning to avoid Diminishing Returs

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Certainly the populations of Florida, Palm Beach County and Delray Beach will increase substantially over the coming years. Our town is at a place where it does not need to give incentives to any developers who press for exemptions, conditional uses, higher densities, taller buildings or closing of service alleys.

We are already overburdening our streets with gridlock daily during the winter season. Our easy access and the quality of life are diminishing. Have we reached the "Point of diminishing Returns?" That is, will each new develop result in less for the people of Delray Beach? At this time, there are 1,000 apartment and condominiums under construction or permitted in or near the core of Delray Beach likely, many more are to come. My question is: who benefits?

Delray Beach - Planning density

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Should we consider down zoning certain lands so that their densities per acre are reduced substantially?

As a point of reference, in the early 1970s, as taller and taller and more and more high rise condominiums were developed south of Delray Beach, inexorably moving north, Highland Beach became a town of nearly all high rise condominiums. The Delray Beach City Commission in its wisdom down zoned the land east of the Intra Coastal Waterway from 45 dwelling units/acre to 15 units/acre. Of course, there was a hue and cry speculators and would be developers , but can you imagine what east Delray Beach would look life today if they had not done that, and can you imagine trying to travel west/west on our one street town with hundreds of more residents trying to get to and from our beautiful beaches.

It is take the same foresight and courage to consider down zoning land in our core so that we don't end up with thousands of new dwellings which our current

infrastructure cannot accommodate. That is why we must elect to our City Commission members who have intelligence, knowledge, courage, a compatible

vision of our future.

Delray Beach - City Elections

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Delray Beach elections are upcoming and will occur on March 10th. It is important that we actively vote and cast our votes for the best people we can.

If you believe Delray Beach is on the right path now, finally, there is something you can do about it. I urge you and all my friends to consider seriously the

progress we have made during the past year with leadership from Mayor Cary Glickstein, Commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Jordana Jarjura.

As the majority of the City Commission, they had to undo many of the misdirected policies of earlier administrations. Then they had to reconstruct our city

government, hire a new City Manager and other city department directors. They have done a good job in stressing quality over quantity.

Delray Beach is a unique town because of its continued existence with a small town culture, unique in southeast Florida. As a result, it is a veritable magnet

for shoppers, diners, visitors, home buyers, tourists and deep pocketed developers. Our Mayor

and these two commissioners are working hard to preserve our quality of life, honor our history and legislate all they can to preserve our uniqueness, despite

our enormous population growth.

Future of Delray Beach - Its up to us!

Posted on February 6, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi, I've been meeting with Mayor Cary Glickstein, discussing the growth and quality of life in Delray Beach. We both agree Delray Beach is a unique town and must stay that way. "QUALITY NOT QUANTITY is our belief.

He has good intentions to keep our unique brand and way of life.

Too many residents have told me they no longer drive, dine or shop in downtown. "It's not the Delray we loved". It's too busy with closed streets, closed Atlantic Avenue, $10 valet parking, etc., ad nauseam.

Have you tried to drive on Atlantic Avenue or Ocean Blvd lately? Twice in the past 10 days I've been hit by cars on clogged Atlantic Avenue by drivers who were upset with the delays on the Avenue and actually told me, "I was trying to get the green light!" so they hit me while I was parallel parking in front of the former Mercer Wenzel building

It took me 45 minutes to get from Atlantic Plaza to Seagate Towers last weekend because streets (including Atlantic Ave.) were closed during the "Winter Art Show". Without the Atlantic Ave. bridge, Linton and George Bush were overloaded and everyone drove on A1A including confused tourists who made numerous U turns.

That is not how I want to live.

The question is what do we want our Delray Beach home to be?

Do we need to accommodate every developer's request?

Do we need to provide housing?

What do you think? I'd like you to tell me and our City Commissioners.

 

Tourism has always generally speaking good for our growth, property values, shopkeepers, restaurants and the like.

As I recall Atlantic Plaza was the last commercial development built by locals who love this city and the last that was built within existing development regulations. There is a difference as compared too Worthing Place. Worthing Place was sold the land by the CRA for far far less than the marketplace value. They asked for and received extra units, more floors than our regulations permitted. Has it really generated as advertised? Then the City Commission accepted the developer's offer to take title of their still empty parking garage. The results?: The city taxpayers now secure, police, maintain, insure and no longer receive ad valorem taxes on the parking garage. Why?

Or the Atlantic Crossing Project. Both of these projects asked for and received exceptions from the height allowance, have density far above the city's regulations and other "gifts" from the City Commission. The resulting traffic congestion will drive shoppers and diners away from Atlantic Avenue

Now comes iPIC movie theaters. They want to be in the Central Business District (CBD) that doesn't permit theaters because they require so much parking, 800 spaces in this case, but only want to provide just over 200 while removing 107 free, street level spaces and replacing them with just 50 spaces in a parking garage. If the theater was built one block south, outside the CBD, it would be required to provide 800 spaces. The CRA which answers to no one, certainly not the citizenry, urges approval including suggesting the city abandoning the North/ South alley which serves for delivery and waste removal from Atlantic Avenue shops.

 

Do you and other residents enjoy living in our unique city as much as you did just a few years ago? And Do you think it's going to get worse every year in the future?

Have we reached the Point of Diminishing Returns? I believe we have.

Residents over the years have given generously to the city, including Veterans Park and our beautiful public beaches because they passionately loved their town.

Now speculators and developers come and take and do not respect our development regulations or our way of life. They don't live here, and seek only more and more profit while we must live for generations with their mess.

Currencies in Delray Beach for many years were mutual respect, mutual interest, charity, kindness, a love for our "Village By The Sea", neighborliness, dignity and generosity.

Today, it seems, the single currency is money and they want more and more.

And several past Mayors and Commissions appear to have lacked the intelligence, knowledge, integrity, independence or a passion for our way of life.

We voters must demand more from future would be commissioners.

 

The same goes for our politically appointed CRA Board members. Frankly, I'd rather see our citizen elected commission and Mayor become the board of Directors of the CRA with perhaps the CRA Board becoming an advisory board. Why have two layers of expensive staffs and $2 million offices?

 

It's time we "Take Back Our City!!!”

I would like to know how you feel about these issues.

Please let me know.

We MUST do something about it if we want our city back!

ACT NOW. Tell our commissioners and Mayor what you want. Remember, they work for us!

Or, please tell me and I'll get your message to them. It is up to us!

Sandy Simon

Delray Beach - A plan

Posted on February 6, 2015 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Cary Glickstein, our current Mayor of Delray Beach, in my opinion, the best Mayor BY FAR over the past 40 years, wrote this Op Ed article that appeared in the Palm Beach Post last week. I am convinced he has the vital characteristics we need in our Mayor and City Commissioners, characteristics apparently lacking in pa Mayors and commissioners during the past 40 years: Intelligence, Integrity, Independence, good character, a vision in keeping with the expectations and desires of our citizens and a passion for our "Village By The Sea, a most unique town with a high quality of life.

 

As he has said, "WE WANT QUALITY AHEAD OF QUANTITY".

 

PLEASE, AT YOUR PLEASURE, READ HIS EXCELLENT STATEMENT.

 

Sandy

 

"As a central tenet of Delray Beach's Comprehensive Plan, is "Village by the Sea" still a relevant, aspirational goal or merely honorific — a tipping of the hat to past generations for what they gave us. It's all of that and more. Yet our town now struggles to balance the sometimes competing priorities of economic development and preserving that which makes Delray so unique and livable.

 

Some feel we have reached a tipping point and are at risk of losing our small-town character and "vibe" that attracted us and sustained us. Others feel we should leverage our popularity with more intense development offering more economic opportunity and diversity. It is a false dichotomy, despite the divide, to think it's one way or the other — that we cannot reconcile those ideals of being good stewards of our built and natural environment and responsibly marshal the market forces we are fortunate to have.

 

As a native Floridian shaped by countless anecdotes of town after town losing their way to the pressures of economic cycles, development trends, short-sighted planning and leadership, only to become another unmemorable example of generic USA, I look to other cities' struggles and success in striking the proper balance.

 

Common themes emerge: great public assets (check), contextual and inclusive planning (ours is 13 years old) and restraint when called for (perhaps now is that time). As Delray looks to enact the first new land development regulations in over a decade, one could argue there is something for everyone.

 

For those looking back for the way forward, we are focused on improving our public realm by making our streets more walkable — great streets where people want to be, where they feel comfortable, safe and charmed by their surroundings, ensuring that new development is memorable and authentic and, as Charleston Mayor Joe Riley suggested, "we are glad it was built." And as we push back on the blunt tools of density and height to re-define what land uses we want to incent and how best to do it, we are taking steps to preserve our iconic main street, Atlantic Avenue, for the ages.

 

For the development community we need as an integral partner to sustain our growth and success, they gain clarity and a more streamlined path from plans to shovels in the ground. Is it perfect? No. Are we done? Never. But on the heels of development projects that unnecessarily divided our community, the proposed new code provides time for us to re-engage the four corners of our city-community in a new, inclusive planning process. After all, Delray has always been good at planning our city — from our pioneer families to the latest master plan that served us so well, updating our plan will prepare us for current challenges.

 

In the end, our city belongs to everybody and when we build here, we are building something for everyone, and while there will always be conflicting and competing visions for what our city should be, we should be in no rush to get there. We are all, at heart, gradualist, our expectations set by the steady passage of time. Delray Beach can grow old competitively and gracefully through proactive, inclusive planning and policy. "Village by the Sea" can be whatever we want it to be.

 

Cary Glickstein is the mayor of Delray Beach.

 

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