|Posted on February 6, 2015 at 8:45 AM|
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.
"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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Categories: Delray Beach