Go for Easy or Solve the Problem?

Residents in the Shady Lakes and surrounding subdivisions have raised concerns about plans for the Shady Lakes Drive Extension for a long time. They have submitted petitions, come to Council meetings and spoken in an organized fashion, and proposed alternatives. Last night’s special City Council Meeting began with a presentation of conceptual proposals for the road in Phase 1 and Phase 2 along with attractive landscaping proposals, followed by Public Comment. Of the roughly 30 folks who spoke, 23 spoke against or had major questions about the implementation. Citizen questions were followed by responses by the staff/consultants. And finally, the Council took a vote on Vice Mayor Jablin’s proposal to proceed with Phase 1 construction and authorize the City Manager to pursue the Phase 2 components addressing aspects of the PGA/Shady Lakes Drive intersection, voting 3:1 with Council Member Premuroso opposed and David Levy absent.

April 20, 2016

Premuroso, during Council discussion, had suggested that his preference was to focus on solving the 117th Court issues prior to doing anything with Shady Lakes, and then determining what should be done with that later. Most residents in Shady Lakes would probably have agreed with that.   See Sarah Peter’s article  on the meeting in the Palm Beach Post here.

One should ask – what problem is being solved? And does the approved portion of the project solve it? Editorializing, if the problem was Central Blvd/117th Ct traffic issues and Safety, then does the Shady Lakes Extension solve that issue? Or was it just the easiest thing to approve because the road is entirely owned by Palm Beach Gardens, and the City has budgeted for it already and everyone involved (staff/consultants) are eager to make progress? Whereas getting FDOT/County/School Board issues resolved in fixing traffic management will be a much longer process and difficult. Time will tell….

See the Shady Lakes plans on the City of Palm Beach Gardens website.

Special City Council Meeting on Shady Lakes Expansion on Wed. 4/20

There will a Special City Council Meeting on Wednesday, April 20th on the Shady Lakes Expansion.  Plans will be on display from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Presentation will be at 7:00 p.m. followed by questions from the public.

New Mayor Marcie Tinsley Leads Smooth Transition

NOTE: There will be a Special City Council Meeting on Shady Lakes Extension on Wed. 4/20 at 7PM.  Plans will be on display at 6pm

The April City Council meeting commenced with the Results of the Election, heartfelt goodbyes to Joe Russo (who was awarded a beautiful crystal gavel, as well as some ‘big shoes’ to fill by in-coming Council member Maria Marino). There was no mention at any time in the meeting, by City Attorney Max Lohman, that there are 2 lawsuits pending hearings related to Group 4’s result and Council member Levy’s eligibility to be seated. David Levy, Group 4 and Maria Marino, Group 2, were administered the oath of office and sworn in.

Congratulations go to Mayor Tinsley, who is only the second female to hold the office of Mayor (Linda Monroe was mayor from 1985-1986) of Palm Beach Gardens. She was nominated by Bert Premuroso, seconded by Eric Jablin and elected unanimously. Mr. Jablin was elected Vice-Mayor.

The three Public Hearings: Compassionate Friends Memorial Garden, Reduction in Square Footage for United Technology’s Center for Intelligent Buildings Technology Complex, and Combining PGA Commons Parcel 2 and 3 PUD Amendment, all passed 5:0 with little discussion after the presentations.

The bulk of the meeting was spent on Presentations, Comments from the Public and Discussion of the Sales Tax Referendum.

April 7, 2016


  • Dorothy Jacks, Chief Deputy Property Appraiser (and candidate for Property Appraiser) gave an update on the Gardens property valuations. Ms. Jacks praised the mix of residential versus commercial properties and careful growth in the City. Her tentative outlook in 2016 Market Valuation for the Gardens was 8-10% or more. Note that those with homesteaded properties would not see more than a 7/10 increase.
  • Mark Bannon, Executive Director of the PBC Commission on Ethics, briefly summarized the role of the Ethics Commission and encouraged the City to make use of their staff when ethics questions arise. There is a database of 400+ advisory opinions and while those are online, the City should ask Ethics staff for assistance. New opinions can be sought as well.
  • FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) gave an update on the I-95 Central Blvd Project – describing and showing images of proposed on/off ramps and intersections in the area between the Military Trail and Donald Ross Rd intersections. The next public meeting on the subject will be in late Sept or early October 2016 and will include a noise study.
  • The Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce has had a 2-year branding initiative which will have it’s big Reveal on April 26th. The Chamber asked for a proclamation in support, by the City, as well as continued financial support, which City Manager Ferris said was already in budget.
  • Sandra Wesson, of the Palm Beach County School System Choice Programs Manager, spoke a bit about the International Baccalaureate programs and requested a letter of support from the Council in order to assist in getting the next 3-year grant. Grove Park and H.L. Watkins Middle School have been participant schools.

Public Comment:

  • Flax Ct – Gary Pitchford, speaking for the neighborhood, expressed their continued displeasure with the progress of the property.
  • Andrea Ciampi had equestions on who was responsible for any I-95 related improvements to Central Blvd – answer was County
  • Eileen Henderson requested biographical information on new Councilmember Marino
  • Michael Marsh, speaking on Corey Jones, thanked the City for writing a letter to State Attorney Aronberg and described the actions by the Florida Legislature on body-cameras as ineffective
  • Tom Murphy, President of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Foundation spoke on upcoming essay contests
  • Rick Sartori, Executive VP of the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber, voiced the Chambers’ support of the Infrastructure Sales Tax Referendum proposal, especially commending the Cultural Council and Economic Developments components of the proposed tax.
  • Matt Baker, along with 5 other residents of the Mirasol area, demanded that Fire Station 64 receive the same staffing as the City’s other 4 fire stations. Fire Rescue Chief Mike Southard has met with Mr. and Mrs. Baker over the last few months. Station64James Ippolito, Division Chief of Emergency Medical Services gave a detailed power point presentation describing how ‘automatic aid’ works in balancing coverage in all areas of the city, with appropriate staff covering each area as vehicles are called to various emergencies. An external study was only begun a few days ago and could take 90-120 days to complete. The residents were requesting immediate increase in staffing to equivalent levels, but both the City Manager and the Chief said that such staffing would cost $234K in overtime for the remainder of the budget year, without any evidence that response time would be improved. Part of the problem with the Mirasol area is that there are gated communities within gated communities, that add to the response time. However response time averages in all 5 stations are all better than targets.

Sales Tax Referendum:

Councilmember Levy kicked off the discussion saying that while he was not for the sales tax in general, if it passed, there should be some way to reduce the millage or give back some of the increased costs back to the residents. Vice-Mayor Jablin described his opposition, as did the remaining council members. They voted 4:0 to not sign the inter-local agreement supporting the sales tax increase. Note that cities representing 50% + 1 of the population of the County must vote in favor of the sales tax referendum in order for it to get on the ballot.  See the Palm Beach Post’s coverage here.

Next City Council Mtg on Thursday, April 7th at 7pm

The next City Council Meeting will be this Thursday, April 7th, at 7pm in City Hall. This is a fairly long agenda with swearing in of the new Council, appointment of new Mayor/Vice-Mayor, several presentations, three public hearings, and a few items for discussion at the end of the meeting. The City Manager did not list details for the City Manager Report.

First on the Agenda is the results of the election. (It is interesting to note that nowhere in the background material is there any mention of any lawsuit or controversy regarding the results). Next will be the selection by the Council of the next Mayor and Vice Mayor. That done, the rest of the meeting will proceed under the auspices of the new Mayor.

Presentations (no detail provided):


Consent Agenda has several Resolutions, Purchase Awards and Proclamations including:

  • Approving a Grant Agreement with the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Division of Water Restoration Assistance for the Palm Beach Gardens Stormwater System Reconstruction Project valued at $250K
  • Allowing the City to create a pool of pre-qualified Community Development Block Grant contractors, with contract valued at $700K over five years, with option to renew for another five years. Openly bid.
  • City Park Expansion Project – earthworks – Piggyback/access Contract valued at $697K
  • Hiring consultant to City’s property and casualty insurance program and risk management services, valued at $180K over 5 years, competitively bid.
  • Lease of multifunction copiers/printers – Piggyback/access contract with Ricoh, for $350K, for five years.

Public Hearings:

  • Resolution 21, 2016 for City-initiated request to approve an Art In Public Places (AIPP)-funded project for the Compassionate Friends Memorial Garden at the City’s Burns Road Community Center property. The estimated budget for the memorial garden and public art is $159,348.20. The City’s current AIPP fund is $435,815.00. The memorial garden is designed to symbolize the lasting memory of loved ones who have passed away, specifically children.
  • Resolution 24, 2016 – a request by Carrier Corporation to reduce the square footage of the Center for Intelligent Buildings Technology Complex Building and associated modifications
  • Resolution 26, 2016 – PUD Amendment combining PGA Commons Parcels 2 and 3 into a single PUD, and other modifications.

Items for Council Action/Discussion includes:

  • Discussion of the Infrastructure Sales Tax (the proposed referendum for November ballot)
  • Internal and External Board Appointments

The agenda (with links to full detail) can be found here. Check the agenda to see if any additional items have been added before the meeting.