Vote in the Group 5 Run-Off Election on Tuesday March 28th!

Congratulations! 14% of us turned out for our City Council Elections on March 14th. But we’re not done. There is a run-off election for Group 5 between Rachelle Litt and Joe Russo on Tuesday March 28th. One of these WILL be on the Council – so it’s up to you to vote again! I’ve linked to their profile answers above, and if you want to do more research – look at responses from our forum here: Candidate Forum Synopsis with Videos for each question.

The polls are open from 7am to 7pm on Tuesday March 28th. There will be no lines! Here are the polling locations. Here is your sample ballot.

You’re active residents – please encourage your family, neighbors and friends to vote too!

Here is a detailed analysis of the March 14th election results. Congratulations to Group 1 winner Mark Marciano and Group 3 winner Matthew Lane.  And thanks to all the fine folks who gave of themselves to run for the Council.

We get the government we deserve – and it’s up to us to watch what they do.

An Analysis of the 2017 PBG Council Election

The March 14 municipal elections in Palm Beach Gardens yielded a pair of winners – Dr. Mark Marciano in Group 1 and Matthew Lane in Group 3. No candidate got a majority in the four way race in Group 5, so Rachelle Litt and Joe Russo will meet in a runoff on 3/28.

In Group 1, the seat currently held by Bert Premuroso, Dr. Marciano performed strongly in most areas of the city, winning by 33 points with 66% of the vote. A long time participant in city government, Mark served on the budget committee for quite a few years and is a regular at city council meetings. His challenger, Michael Paolercio, a newcomer to city politics came closest in Frenchman’s Reserve and Creek, where he lives.

In Group 2, the seat currently held by Eric Jablin, Matthew Lane avoided a runoff in the three way race by capturing 50.2% – a majority by 13 votes. Matthew, who entered the race over a year ago has also been a regular at council meetings and is active in many local civic organizations. Of his two challengers, Quicken Loans founder and past Senate candidate Ron Berman did well in the Gardens last fall, but was a newcomer to city issues and that may have come across. Challenger Katie Gettinger has been active in local issues and a regular at council meetings, but her lightly funded campaign did not do any direct mail or put up signs, possibly limiting her exposure to the voters.

In Group 5, the seat currently held by Mayor Marcie Tinsley, Pharmacist Rachelle Litt and tech enterpreneur Joe Russo won 37% and 34% of the vote respectively, advancing to the runoff election on 3/28. Of the others in this four way race, challenger Kevin Easton, who has run for Council several times before and was a principal in advancing term limits in the Gardens, polled 9% while retired Attorney George Wicker won 20%. Mr. Wicker did especially well in BallenIsles (where he lives), getting 51% of the vote there, 41% of his total vote count. Mr. Wicker also won Frenchman’s Reserve and Creek by 12 votes over Rachelle Litt.

Go to Group 1
Go to Group 3
Go to Group 5

Group 1

Group 1
Strong Marciano Weak Marciano Very Close Weak Paolercio Strong Paolercio
Click the precinct on the map for vote totals.

Precinct Registered Votes Cast Turnout % Marciano Paolercio Marciano
1186 1428 238 17 167 66 71.7
1188 867 68 8 41 26 61.2
1189 73 15 21 3 12 20.0
1190 3158 346 11 225 111 67.0
1192 1474 187 13 134 51 72.4
1194 2024 620 31 316 296 51.6
1238 1668 348 21 218 124 63.7
1240 2483 404 16 289 106 73.2
1242 2488 531 21 378 121 75.8
1244 1539 254 17 175 70 71.4
1246 2377 305 13 166 132 55.7
1247 221 51 23 9 40 18.4
1248 1488 259 17 169 82 67.3
1250 61 14 23 6 7 46.2
1252 2349 1010 43 544 332 62.1
1254 454 66 15 51 11 82.3
1260 1320 186 14 127 54 70.2
1266 479 5 1 2 3 40.0
1268 294 11 4 7 4 63.6
1272 1912 256 13 171 77 69.0
1274 1590 237 15 159 58 73.3
1280 396 47 12 26 21 55.3
1284 2287 184 8 135 42 76.3
1288 37 3 8 2 1 66.7
1290 2114 258 12 196 58 77.2
1292 67 24 36 22 2 91.7
1296 733 45 6 25 19 56.8
1324 1287 82 6 55 26 67.9
1326 553 79 14 61 17 78.2
1340 11 1 9 1 100.0
1352 2202 222 10 145 68 68.1
1360 882 116 13 71 41 63.4
1372 156 6 4 5 100.0
TOTAL 40492 6478 16 4101 2078 66.4

Group 3

Group 3
Strong Lane Weak Lane Very Close Weak Berman/Gettinger Strong Berman/Gettinger
Click the precinct on the map for vote totals.

Precinct Registered Votes Cast Turnout % Berman Gettinger Lane Lane
1186 1428 238 17 58 25 149 64.2
1188 867 68 8 18 27 22 32.8
1189 73 15 21 8 3 1 8.3
1190 3158 346 11 100 85 146 44.1
1192 1474 187 13 39 35 107 59.1
1194 2024 620 31 181 50 341 59.6
1238 1668 348 21 95 33 207 61.8
1240 2483 404 16 125 49 221 55.9
1242 2488 531 21 130 75 303 59.6
1244 1539 254 17 62 38 135 57.4
1246 2377 305 13 79 119 102 34.0
1247 221 51 23 40 2 7 14.3
1248 1488 259 17 72 75 103 41.2
1250 61 14 23 3 2 9 64.3
1252 2349 1010 43 417 90 394 43.7
1254 454 66 15 11 2 48 78.7
1260 1320 186 14 49 41 88 49.4
1266 479 5 1 1 4 80.0
1268 294 11 4 4 5 2 18.2
1272 1912 256 13 74 69 105 42.3
1274 1590 237 15 66 73 87 38.5
1280 396 47 12 13 12 20 44.4
1284 2287 184 8 51 36 87 50.0
1288 37 3 8 3 100.0
1290 2114 258 12 65 47 142 55.9
1292 67 24 36 4 6 9 47.4
1296 733 45 6 19 17 9 20.0
1324 1287 82 6 28 22 32 39.0
1326 553 79 14 16 17 43 56.6
1340 11 1 9 1 0.0
1352 2202 222 10 59 46 106 50.2
1360 882 116 13 29 35 50 43.9
1372 156 6 4 2 2 2 33.3
TOTAL 40492 6478 16 1918 1139 3084 50.2

Group 5

Group 5
Strong Litt Weak Litt Very Close Weak Russo Strong Russo
Click the precinct on the map for vote totals.

Precinct Registered Votes Cast Turnout % Easton Litt Russo Wicker Litt/Russo
1186 1428 238 17 20 127 61 24 67.6
1188 867 68 8 13 22 23 10 48.9
1189 73 15 21 2 13 13.3
1190 3158 346 11 32 119 153 31 43.8
1192 1474 187 13 10 70 73 28 49.0
1194 2024 620 31 53 186 132 198 58.5
1238 1668 348 21 17 161 104 54 60.8
1240 2483 404 16 17 206 132 43 60.9
1242 2488 531 21 25 242 169 77 58.9
1244 1539 254 17 17 104 110 20 48.6
1246 2377 305 13 59 111 97 35 53.4
1247 221 51 23 3 40 8 7.0
1248 1488 259 17 31 104 89 35 53.9
1250 61 14 23 2 6 2 4 75.0
1252 2349 1010 43 11 172 307 515 35.9
1254 454 66 15 4 30 21 10 58.8
1260 1320 186 14 42 69 58 16 54.3
1266 479 5 1 4 1 0.0
1268 294 11 4 1 2 3 5 40.0
1272 1912 256 13 72 76 84 22 47.5
1274 1590 237 15 37 71 110 15 39.2
1280 396 47 12 7 19 14 5 57.6
1284 2287 184 8 11 89 61 18 59.3
1288 37 3 8 2 1 0.0
1290 2114 258 12 21 107 93 32 53.5
1292 67 24 36 5 15 1 25.0
1296 733 45 6 12 21 9 3 70.0
1324 1287 82 6 10 19 44 8 30.2
1326 553 79 14 8 41 27 3 60.3
1340 11 1 9 1 0.0
1352 2202 222 10 25 88 86 21 50.6
1360 882 116 13 18 41 37 20 52.6
1372 156 6 4 3 2 1 66.7
TOTAL 40492 6478 16 578 2315 2175 1263 51.6

Good turnout for PBG Election

Congratulations to the winner in Group 1, Dr. Mark Marciano, who dominated the race with 66% of the vote over challenger Michael Paolercio, and in Group 3 to Matthew Lane who topped 50% in a three way race by 13 votes to avoid a runoff. The Group 5 race moves to a runoff between Rachelle Litt and Joe Russo who captured 37% and 34% respectively in the 4 way race.

Election results last evening were somewhat sporadic, with the Supervisor’s website lagging some of the other reporting sites. Accurate vote counts were not available at until this morning. At one point during the evening, the wrong candidates were reported in various places as having won or advancing to the runoff. For some reason, Palm Beach County still has difficulty with election results and we really haven’t shaken the “curse of the hanging chad.”

Turnout for the three races averaged about 6200 – about 14% of the registered voters. Although low by November election standards (72% of the Gardens voted for President), it was near the top of the range for a March election. The record was reached in 2014 when 7085 turned out for the Jablin /Peragine race. To find another that surpassed this year’s turnout you need to go back to 2005 when 6400 voted in the Jablin / Sartory contest.

The runoff election will be held on March 28. Historically, turnout drastically declines in runoffs. The last March runoff election in the Gardens was in 2004 when David Levy defeated Carl Sabatello in Group 4. Although 6552 voted in the original contest, only 3850 showed up for the runoff. Mr. Levy got 74% – 2864 votes, which was down from the 2909 he got in the first race. Mr. Sabatello’s votes declined from about 1340 in the first contest to about 1000, so turnout (or lack thereof) can have dramatic results. Mr. Russo and Ms. Litt will have to keep their supporters focused to prevail in two weeks.

There was another runoff in 2004, when 6 candidates competed coincident to the August primary election in Group 1. Three times the August vote turned out in November, giving Hal Valeche a narrow victory over Jodie Barnett. It was the presidential election of course that drove that turnout.

Here are the results as reported by the Supervisor of election:

You Passed Term Limits – Now Vote on March 14th!

Almost 80% of the Gardens’ voters in 2014 passed Term Limits. Over 16,000 of us voted for it. So now – it’s time to repeat that kind of voter turnout on Tuesday and select 3 new members for our City Council, rather than the abysmal turnout numbers, (3500-5000 voters) typical in our Municipal Elections. Our local government impacts all of us daily; think about safety, traffic, parks, taxes, ordinances, regulations, policies and practices.

We have good candidates – but they’re not identical in experience or outlook and you have more than enough information to make an informed decision. If you haven’t had an opportunity to meet the candidates or research them, then please check out our

The polls are open from 7am to 7pm on Tuesday March 14th. There will be no lines! Here are polling locations. Here is your sample ballot.

You’re active residents – please encourage your family, neighbors and friends to vote too!

Is it Architecture or Art, Plus Council Goodbyes

This, the last full Council meeting for three of the members, began with heartfelt thanks and goodbyes from Council Member Premuroso, Vice Mayor Jablin and Mayor Tinsley during Items of Resident Interest. See Sarah Peter’s article here.

Comments from the Public also were related to their upcoming departure, with former Mayor Joe Russo, Tom Cairnes of the PGA Corridor, Joseph R Russo and Joanie Elias all thanking the departing council and recounting memories and accomplishments.

March 2, 2017

Resolution 30, 2017 sparked the most fireworks at a Council meeting in quite awhile. Mayor Tinsley had asked that the item be moved to immediately following 2nd reading and adoption of Ordinance 9, 2017 and its associated Resolution 20, 2017 which approved the Gardens Corporate Center PUD – with two eleven story office buildings and a three story garage for the NE corner of PGA Blvd and Alt A1A. The corporate center was approved 5:0 with pyramids (shown in the picture). The controversy arose over the applicant’s request to consider the two pyramids atop the office buildings as art, to meet the AIPP (Art in Public Places) requirement for the complex. gdnscorpctrThe City requires that 1% of the cost of the $40 million project be alloted to AIPP. The cost of the two pyramids atop the buildings come out to almost $1 million, thus over twice the amount needed to meet the AIPP requirements. However staff disagreed strenuously that the pyramids were an intrinsic part of the buildings and in the approval of related waivers (eg height) and were NOT art. The disagreement began immediately with a request by the developer’s representative to postpone the Resolution 30, 2017 to the May City Council meeting. This would mean that an entirely new Council would be hearing the request, while the current Council – which had been involved with the project and just approved it, would have no say. After hearing arguments on both sides, Council Member Woods wanted to postpone to the May meeting, and Council Member Marino also wanted postponement as well. Vice Mayor Jablin made a motion to not postpone the discussion. The motion passed 3:2 with Marino and Woods voting nay.

Both the developer and staff then made their presentations. The developer made his case based on lack of functionality of the pyramids, that the Corporate Center’s site was not visible to the public while the pyramids would be seen by those driving in any direction, and that they were designed by an artist. Staff reiterated that the building approvals were obtained with the pyramids there, that one of the requirements of AIPP is that the artwork be unique (but the buildings are inspired by almost identical building pair in Miami where the pyramids were not counted as art), and that a 2007 ordinance specifically rejects architectural features as art. After much discussion, the Council voted 5:0 to reject the applicant’s request. Council Member Woods did offer compromise suggestions saying that perhaps the developer could do something art-related with the water wall. However staff was quick to point out that the water wall itself was not art and that an art element would have to be added. But that is for a future discussion with the new council.

All other Ordinances and Resolutions passed 5:0 with little discussion. Kathryn Gettinger made comments regarding Ordinances 7 and 8 2017 raising her concerns about the regulations with respect to wheel stops and parking on the grass. George Wicker, on the board at Ballenisles spoke in favor of Resolution 21, 2017 amending documents for the development.

There were no City Manager and City Attorney reports.

2017 PBG Council Candidate Forum Synopsis

For additional information see:

On February 28, PBG Watch, along with the Palm Beach County Tea Party, the Republican Club of the Northern Palm Beaches, the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches, and the North County Democratic Club hosted a candidate forum for the City Council election.

Moderated by WJNO Radio Host Brian Mudd, 9 candidates for three seats answered questions on a variety of current issues. The questions were drawn from a list of 18 in-depth topics that were provided to the candidates before the event.

The candidates are:

Mark Marciano Michael Paolercio Ron Berman Kathryn Gettinger Matthew Lane
Group 1 Group 3
Kevin Easton Rachelle Litt Joe Russo George Wicker
Group 5

A Word about the Video

The video of the event, recorded for youtube by PBG Watch, can be viewed in full HERE. The video icons in the table below are links into the full video that start at the question of interest. If you have trouble viewing any of it, you can click on the “youtube” link under the video frame and view it there using the index provided.

Present for the forum was current Councilpersons Maria Marino and Carl Woods, and Former Gardens Mayors Eric Jablin, David Levy, Joe Russo, Mike Martino, Linda Monroe, and Walter Wiley..

The meeting was kicked off by PBG Watch Co-founder Iris Scheibl, who introduced the leaders of the other sponsoring groups including Mel Grossman, President of Palm Beach County Tea Party, Mary Therese Delate, President of the North County Democratic Club, Marilyn Parmet, President of the Republican Club of the Northern Palm Beaches, Fran Hancock, President of the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches and Fred Scheibl, co-founder of PBG Watch who introduced moderator Brian Mudd. Timekeeping duties were performed by Barbara Grossman of the Palm Beach County Tea Party.

Below you will find a summary of the event, with the questions that were asked, and a link to a video of that section of the forum.

2017 PBGWatch Candidate Forum
Welcome and Moderator Introduction
Opening Statements

Mark Marciano
Michael Paolercio
Ron Berman
Katie Gettinger
Matthew Lane
Kevin Easton
Rachelle Litt
Joe Russo
George Wicker
Round One
Question: Term Limits Council / Staff Relationship – With term limits, the governance experience of a Council member will be less than in the past, and some say that shifts the balance of power to the City Manager and staff. Sunshine laws also have an effect in that Council members can interact privately with staff but not with each other. Do you see this as a problem and how will you balance a good relationship with city staff against your duty to represent constituents?

Answered by Group 1: Mark Marciano and Michael Paolercio.

Question: Sales Tax Revenue – The sales tax will provide a 10 year revenue stream to Palm Beach Gardens totaling $35M, that could have gone to existing and forecast capital projects, reducing property taxes. Instead, the current Council opted to borrow $30M against it and spend it all in 3 years on projects that were created above and beyond the existing capital plan. Did you agree with this decision? Why or why not?

Answered by Group 3: Ron Berman, Katie Gettinger, Matthew Lane

Question: Annexation – The city has developed a long-term annexation plan for those pockets of unincorporated PBC enclaves within and around the city limits. Typically, the neighborhoods annexed gain a government but end up paying higher taxes. Some neighborhoods desire to be annexed and request it of the city. Others would rather not. How agressive should the city be in acquiring these pockets of independence, and is it beneficial to grow the city in this way?

Answered by Group 5: Kevin Easton, Rachelle Litt, Joe Russo and George Wicker.

Round Two
Question: Community Differences – Palm Beach Gardens consists of both high end, gated, golf course communities and older un-gated neighborhoods of more moderate housing. These neighborhood types have different lifestyles and different expectations from the City Government. Do you see this as a problem, and how would you balance the needs of disparate communities?

Answered by Group 1: Michael Paolercio and Mark Marciano.

Question Council Districts – With the growth of the city, and its spread out west with Avenir, there will be geographic differences within the city that some say would benefit by a district organization. Council positions would either be elected to represent a specific district by the voters who live there, or they would continue to be elected city-wide but be required to live in the district and represent it as is done in West Palm Beach. Do you favor such a change? Why / Why not?

Answered by Group 3: Matthew Lane, Katie Gettinger and Ron Berman.

Question Special Interests – The representatives of business or neighborhood groups, for example the PGA Corridor Association or the BallenIsles HOA, meet regularly with Council and staff and frequently speak in support of council actions at the monthly meetings. How will you weigh this input against the issues and positions that matter to the parts of the city that are less organized and vocal?

Answered by Group 5: George Wicker, Joe Russo, Rachelle Litt, Kevin Easton.

Wildcard Round
Question: Political Goals – Ultimately, in politics, what is your goal – what office would you like to achieve politically?

Answered by Group 1: Mark Marciano and Michael Paolercio.

Question: Transparency – Regardless of the popularity of an issue or position, what will you do in terms of transparency, will you promise to always be forthright, engage the community and be accountable to your constituents and the media?

Answered by Group 3: Ron Berman, Katie Gettinger and Matthew Lane.

Question: Catalyst – At what point and why did you decide to run for public office and what is it that you think you can move the needle on?

Answered by Group 5: Kevin Easton, Rachelle Litt, Joe Russo and George Wicker.

Round Three
Question: Road Projects – Traffic is a growing concern, particularly with continued development both within and around the city limits. The Beeline flyover, State route 7, the Hood Road I95 interchange and the widening of Northlake blvd, could help but they also have negative aspects. How forcefully should the city lobby the FDOT, either alone or through the Palm Beach MPO to affect if, how and when these road projects proceed?

Answered by Group 1: Michael Paolercio and Mark Marciano.

Question: Growth in Spending – With property valuations continuing to rise, there is less pressure on programs and tax rates. Assuming this continues, how can we prevent the explosion of spending that occurred during the last period of rising property values? With low expected inflation and modest population growth, how do you decide what is an acceptable level of spending growth?

Answered by Group 3: Matthew Lane, Katie Gettinger and Ron Berman.

Question: Inspector General Funding – The voters overwhelmingly approved the Inspector General and Ethics Ordinances and their application to municipal as well as county government. Many cities, including Palm Beach Gardens won on appeal the lawsuit challenging the right of the county to bill the cities for the cost of the IG Office. How much do you value independent IG oversight of Palm Beach Gardens, and how should these PBG specific services be compensated?

Answered by Group 5: George Wicker, Joe Russo, Rachelle Litt and Kevin Easton.

Closing Statements and Audience Questions
Closing Statements

Mark Marciano
Michael Paolercio
Ron Berman
Katie Gettinger
Matthew Lane
Kevin Easton
Rachelle Litt
Joe Russo
George Wicker
Audience Questions

Next City Council Mtg on Thursday March 2nd

The next City Council Meeting will be this Thursday, March 2nd, at 7pm in City Hall.  This meeting will be the last full meeting for 3 of our Council – Mayor Tinsley, Vice Mayor Jablin and Council Member Premuroso. The elections are on March 14 and the new members will be seated at the April meeting. Reminder – Tuesday, February 28th is our Council Candidate Forum . See our detailed candidate profiles and our Voters’ Guide with links to additional information.

Announcements/Presentations: none listed

Consent Agenda includes:

  • Resolution 10, 2017 – Lease for the Engine 6 and Engine 7 Replacements from Ten-8 Equipment, Inc. and financed through Leasing 2, Inc. The lease term is for seven years, with a one-year delay in start of payments and the total cost is $1,323,476.
  • Resolution 29, 2017 – A Resolution in opposition of HB 7005 (2017), titled Economic Programs. HB 7005 repeals specified economic programs, such as Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI}, Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation (Visit Florida), and the Quick Action Closing Fund. Additionally, it transfers all duties, functions, records, pending issues, existing contracts, administrative authority, administrative rules, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations and other public funds related to the programs in EFI and Visit Florida to the Department of Economic Opportunity.
  • Purchase Award – for Community Services Department for Tires and Related Services – a piggyback/access contract for 2 years for $300K
  • Purchase Award – for Fire/Rescue for Public Safety Uniforms, openly bid for 5 years, with option to renew for 5 years, in the amount of $379K.
  • Purchase Award – for Golf Department for Lighting for the Golf Course Driving Range – a piggyback/access contract for $192K

City Manager Report – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:

  • Second Reading and Adoption of the following Ordinances (and accompanying Resolutions as applicable):
    • Ordinance 8, 2016 which had first reading Nov. 16, 2016 – EAR BASED AMENDMENT – changes to the Comprehensive Plan elements
    • Ordinance 1 and 2, 2017 – Trevis Isles
    • Ordinance 7, 2017 – Land Developement Regulations amendment
    • Ordinance 8, 2017 – Property Maintenance Standards (Chapter 79) amendments
    • Ordinance 9, 2017 – Gardens Corporate Center PUD ‘replacement’
    • Ordinance 10, 2017 – Budget Amendment for FY2017 – An amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016/17 budget to record the issuance of the City of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Public Improvement Bond, Series 2017, and projected One-Cent Infrastructure Sales Surtax revenue from January 1, 2017, through September 30, 2017.
  • New Business
    • Resolution 21, 2017 – A request from the Ballenlsles Community Association to amend the side setback standard for screen enclosures and patio decks for residential properties in Parcel One, the Coral Cay neighborhood, of the Ballenlsles Planned Community Development (PCD).
    • Ordinance 12, 2017 – First Reading for Business Center at the Gardens – Rezoning, Planned Unit Development (PUD) Site Plan, and Major Conditional Use Public Hearing and Consideration for Approval: A request from Riverside Drive Investors, LLC to rezone a 3.44-acre parcel of land from Light Industrial (M1A) to a Planned Unit Development (PUD) Overlay with an underlying zoning designation of M1A, along with Site Plan approval for an 18,650-square-foot laboratory/research and development building, and Major Conditional Use approval for a three story, 99,183-square-foot self-storage building.
    • Resolution 24, 2017 – A request from Frenchman’s Reserve Country Club, Inc. to amend the Planned Community Development (PCD) Master Plan to modify the existing configuration of the golf course to construct a new short-game course and reconfigure certain areas of the upland preserve within the Frenchman’s Reserve PCD. Frenchman’s Reserve PCD is located on the east side of Alternate A1A at the intersection of Hood Road and Alternate A1A.
    • Resolution 23, 2017 – A request from Frenchman’s Reserve Country Club, Inc. for approval to amend the Site Plan for the existing Frenchman’s Reserve Clubhouse site to allow a 3, 128-square-foot expansion to the existing fitness center and spa; the construction of a new 1,590-squarefoot one-story tennis center building; a new 6,750-square-foot one-story restaurant building; a new 1,975-square-foot golf teaching facility; updates to the clubhouse architecture; an additional porte-cochere; a new splash pad; and associated modifications to the parking lot.
    • Resolution 30, 2017 – A request from Gardens Corporate Center, LLC for approval of two pyramid-shaped building rooftop architectural elements located at the top of two proposed 11-story professional office buildings in the Gardens Corporate Center Planned Unit Development (PUD) Phase 2 to serve as Art in Public Places. The applicant is requesting that the rooftop elements be considered AIPP. Staff does not agree, says that those elements are integral to the architecture of the 2 buildings (approved in Ordinance 9 and related Resolution above) and recommends DENIAL of Resolution 30, 2017 as presented.

Check the agenda to see if any additional items have been added before the meeting here.

Martino: Educate Yourself, Pick Your Favorite and Vote on March 14!

On Thursday, February 16th, I attended the North County Neighborhood Coalition Candidate Forum involving the nine City Council candidates for the three open seats, Groups 1, 3, and 5, in Palm Beach Gardens. My attendance was for the purpose of learning more about the individuals who will shape the future of the Gardens. There will be another Candidate Forum on February 28th at the Palm Beach Gardens Library. The election will be held on Tuesday, March 14th.

The forum was well attended. The moderator, Beth Kigel, President and CEO of the Northern Palm Beaches Chamber of Commerce, asked the appropriate and pertinent questions that one would expect of Gardens’ Council candidates and kept the forum on schedule. As time permitted there were several questions for the candidates from the forum audience. The one question that was not asked, however, was, “How would you as Council member embrace, maintain, and improve the older, original Plats of the City?” In my opinion, all of the candidates acquitted themselves with decorum and handled the questions asked of them to the best of their abilities.

One could postulate from the literature handouts and from the candidates themselves that their backgrounds, life experiences, and ages vary rather widely. If you prefer a lawyer, a volunteer/homemaker with a Business Administration degree, several very successful business entrepreneurs, a Doctor of Optometry, a Pharmacist, a neighborhood activist and protector with a degree in Criminology, and a non-profit Executive Director who is a native of Palm Beach Gardens, make your choice, and vote accordingly.

The forum really was an interesting, enlightening, and for me an enjoyable two hours. However, some of the answers and comments from the candidates I would take issue with. From my perspective, Candidates should know more about the Gardens’ historical background and not solely refer to the “last 25 years”, which quite frankly, depending on who you ask, haven’t been that great. Candidates should not just know there are term limits but should know why there are term limits. They should know Council members are advisors to City committees and not members. Candidates should know the in and outs of City Charter. They should understand that the City Manager’s job is to administer the policy directives of the City Council.

This March 14th City Council election is the most important and significant Palm Beach Gardens election in decades. It behooves all Palm Beach Gardens registered voters to educate themselves about the candidates, select your favorite, and most importantly, VOTE.

“Artistry”, Art, Live Theater and $30 Million Bond Awarded to PNC Bank

This month’s agenda was long and so was the City Council Meeting – however all was completed within about 3 hours and all items were passed 5:0 except for the Second Reading of Ordinance 3, 2017 which passed 3:2, as it did on First Reading.  Mayor Tinsley and Council Member Premuroso both voted against, citing that their concerns and comments were unchanged from last month.  A brief summary follows of key discussion items.

February 9, 2017


City Attorney Lohman gave an overview of a draft ordinance on how to deal with reasonable accomodation for disabilities. While applicable to Sober Homes, the ordinance would apply to all and would entail a set of procedures, annual recertification and associated regulatory costs. The State Legislature is also proposing bills as part of their Sober Homes Task Force. See Sarah Peters’ article: How a new rule could help gardens keep tabs on sober homes. 

Items of Resident Interest:   Council Member Marino (and the rest of the Council) was pleased that in his annual presentation to the PGA Corridor Association, Dr. Hank Fishkind praised and supported the Council’s decision to go for a $30 million bond at this time, citing low interest rates.

City Manager Report:   City Manager Ferris summarized two golf-related events and then gave examples of Code Compliance success stories, and in the case of those unable to afford to bring their properties up to compliance, the coordination of volunteers to help achieve it.

Ordinances and Resolutions:

  • Resolution 14, 2017 awarded the issuance of the $30 million bond to PNC Bank National Association. Their proposal was the most competitive of those submitted. Finance Administrator Allan Owens also reiterated Dr. Fishkind’s endorsement of bonding the sales tax revenue. The 3 year spending requirement was summarized once again.  Municipal Bonds are tax exempt and any funds remaining at the end of the 3 years can’t be invested at higher yields than gotten from the bonds.  Resident Kathryn Gettinger asked about the specificity of the list of projects and what happens if the County land can’t be purchased. Mayor Tinsley confirmed that the list of projects identified last month were the projects to which the money would be allocated and that progress was being made on the County’s land. Mr. Owens, in replying to a similar question also said the list was solidified but the specific costs for each project could and would be adjusted as actual costs came in.  salestaxprojects
  • Ordinance 10, 2017 placed the proceeds of the bond into a single capital improvement fund to be applied to the projects codified last month, with the addition of the Tennis Center.
  • The most major modification in Ordinance 7, 2017 fixing the ‘glitch’ list on the Land Use Regulations, last updated in 2013, was a new section on Valet Parking. There was discussion among the council members on how quickly to implement and enforce the new regulations. Most felt that the proposed date of October, 2017 would allow the affected centers and businesses to be informed, apply and conform to the changes.
  • First reading of Ordinance 9, 2017 repealed the original plans for the project from 2001 for the Intersection of PGA and Alternate A1A and introduced the new plans for 2 Eleven Story professional office buildings with a 3 story parking garage in between. The Council praised the artistic nature of the buildings and the picture here shows the view of the buildings from the PGA Flyover.  gdnscorpctr
  • Speaking of art – Resolution 17, 2017 now permits the PGA Multiplex Cinema to have live entertainment. While no new dining options are planned, other than the usual movie theater concession choices, the owner does plan to come forward in the future to seek wine and beer licensing. Two of the six theaters will be used for live entertainment performances (such as musicals, comedians and small plays) with matinee and evening shows.
  • Art (in Public Places) was also discussed in Resolution 19, 2017 which approved the latest Artistic Sculpture by Mark aippethaneFuller to be placed on Donald Ross parkway buffer adjacent to Alton PCD. The only modification made to the Ordinance was to have the sculpture lit from dusk to dawn. The stainless steel sculpture is of an Ethane Molecule.
  • Resolution 18, 2017 approved “Artistry”, which is the new 469 Single Family home community as part of the Alton PCD. Homes will range from $750K-$1.5 Million on the Parcel G site west of I-95.

Next City Council Mtg on Thursday, Feb. 9th at 7pm

The next City Council Meeting will be this Thursday, February 9th, at 7pm in City Hall. Thursday’s agenda is once again very long. Is it because staff and every developer in the Gardens is rushing to get their 2017 business accomplished by March, while they still know who will be on the Council? Nevertheless it will be difficult to complete in the usual time. Residents and businesses may want to read Ordinances 7 and 8 described below.

Announcements/Presentations includes a presentation by City Attorney Lohman called ‘reasonable accomodation request’. No additional detail is provided.

Consent Agenda includes:

  • A Purchase award for Emergency Debris and Disaster Recovery Services, openly competed and of unknown value for 5 years. “The City’s current contract for Emergency Debris and Disaster Recovery Services expired December 31, 2016. A replacement contract is needed to allow the City the ability to provide debris management and recovery services during emergency events. These services are provided under strict guidelines mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that allows for reimbursement for proper and appropriate charges. This is a contingent contract with an unknown dollar value that will only be activated in the event of an emergency such as a storm, hurricane, wildfire, etc.”
  • A Piggyback/Access contract with Macmillan Oil for Gasoline/Diesel for 3 years in the amount of $2 million.
  • Two Braun ambulances that were leased under Resolution 101, 2012 are due for replacement in January 2018. The manufacturer needs one year in advance to manufacture and deliver the ambulances, so the procurement action must take place a year in advance. The total cost for the two vehicles is $647K.
  • Those following high-speed rail may be interested to read a resolution in support of “Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act”. ” The public purpose and intent of the “Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act”, SB 386 (2017) filed by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne) and HB 269 (2017) filed by Representative Marylynn Magar (R-Hobe Sound), is to give the State of Florida and local governments some regulatory control over high-speed passenger rail systems insofar as such authority is not preempted by federal laws or regulations.

City Manager Report – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:

  • Second Reading and Adoption of: Balsama Large Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment; Balsamo Rezoning; Ordinance 3, 2017 – Budget Amendment with over $3 million in new spending taken from Budget Stabilization Reserve Account; Redefinition and recreation of the Budget Oversight Review Board (to include the Sales Tax Surtax).
  • Resolution 14, 2017 Authorizing the issuance of the City of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Public Improvement Bond, Series 2017, in an amount not-to-exceed $30,000,000 to finance construction of certain infrastructure projects, (which were discussed and approved in Resolution 12, 2017 in the January meeting, spending 85% of the $30 million bond covering the $35 million expected 10-year revenue from the Infrastructure Sales Surtax in 3 years.) “Signing of the Bond documents is scheduled for February 27, 2017, with funding to occur on February 28, 2017.”
  • Ordinance 10, 2017, First Reading of a Budget Amendment directly related to Resolution 14, 2017. “This amendment records the $30,000,000 par amount of the Bond as Other Financing Sources and the estimated Costs of Issuance in the amount of $65,000, as reflected on Exhibit “1” attached to the Ordinance. This budget amendment further establishes the initial Capital Improvement Budget for the infrastructure projects to be funded with the Tax in the amount of $29,935,000, which is the net amount deposited into the Fund after deducting the Costs of Issuance”….the City of Palm Beach Gardens’ share of the sales tax surtax “would be $3,123,250 annually, or approximately $260,000 monthly. Accordingly, this budget amendment records $2,340,000 of Tax Revenue for the period from January 1, 2017, through September 30, 2017 (9 months X $260,000 = $2,340,000), as reflected on the attached Exhibit “1 “. These funds will be held in Designated Reserves to be used for debt service payments on the Bond that will begin in FY 2018.
  • Ordinance 7, 2017 A City-initiated request to amend various sections of the City’s Land Development Regulations, Chapter 78. Note – while much of this ordinance is described as cleanup in nature – there are new sections (such as for valet parking, parking and storage of portable units) and changes to existing (such as for garage sales, what defines artwork, landscaping, signage, parking (spaces, striping, bumpers), as well as changes to definitions. These modifications were approved by the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board on January 10, 2017. However businesses, HOAs and residents should probably skim to see if impacted.
  • Ordinance 8, 2017 – An amendment to Chapter 79. Property Maintenance Standards. The amendment has modifications to almost every paragraph of the existing chapter. Since this impacts every property in Palm Beach Gardens – everyone who has property should read it.
  • Ordinance 9, 2017 – the applicant is requesting a total repeal of previously approved plans for Gardens Corporate Center PUD (the NE Corner of PGA Blvd and Alt A1A) for 2 six-story buildings and a six-story parking garage and replacing the plans with 2 eleven-story buildings and a three-story parking garage between them.
  • Resolution 15, 2017 – A request for approval from Ballenlsles Country Club, Inc. for a Site Plan Amendment allowing modifications to the Clubhouse Site Plan to provide for a 23,287 -square-foot expansion of the existing clubhouse, and an additional one- (1) story, 2,997-square-foot administration building located on the Clubhouse site (Parcel 28) of the Ballenlsles Planned Community Development (PCD)
  • Resolution 16, 2017 – The subject request is to modify the approved Corporate Center at the Gardens Planned Unit Development (PUD) Master Signage Program and request a waiver for an additional tenant wall sign to be located on the north elevation of Building A. The site is located on the northwest corner of Northcorp Parkway and RCA Boulevard, immediately east of Interstate 95.
  • Resolution 17, 2017 – A request from Arctic Holdings, LLC requesting an expansion of an existing Major Conditional Use to allow live entertainment in the existing multiplex cinema building in the Loehmann’s Plaza, located on the southwest corner of PGA Boulevard and RCA Boulevard, east of Interstate 95. Here is Sarah Peters’ story on this from last month.
  • Resolution 18, 2017 – The subject petition is a request for a Site Plan approval to construct a 469 single-family unit residential neighborhood on the 206-acre Parcel G neighborhood district within the Alton PCD. The neighborhood will be a gated residential subdivision with a clubhouse and amenities and 61 acres of upland preserve areas with accessible trails.
  • Resolution 19, 2017 – Alton PCD is requesting approval of a “Gateway” art piece to be located along Donald Ross Road within 55-foot PCD Buffer easement on Parcel B of the Alton PCD. The piece will be located on the south side of the meandering sidewalk along Donald Ross Road, just east of the pedestrian bench. The proposed art piece is a “ball and stick” sculpture representation of the Ethane molecule.

Check the agenda to see if any additional items have been added before the meeting here.  

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