New Lake Worth commissioners stress working for all residents

New City Commissioners Omari Hardy (second from left) and Herman Robinson (second from right) were sworn in Tuesday afternoon. (Kevin D. Thompson/The Palm Beach Post)

LAKE WORTH — It’s official: Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson are city commissioners.

Hardy, 27, who will serve District 2 and Robinson, 71, a District 4 commissioner, were sworn in today by City Attorney Glen Torcivia  at a special meeting at City Hall.

Hardy, a civics teacher at Roosevelt Middle School, thanked his parents and sister and pledged to serve all residents.

“I believe it’s my job to represent this whole city,” Hardy said. “If you find I’m dismissive…or not listening, please let me know.”

He also thanked former Christopher McVoy for his service.

Hardy, who moved to Lake Worth three years ago, said his motivation to serve started about a year ago when he went to a Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association meeting and heard residents’ frustrations.

“I wasn’t sure how I was going to give voice to those frustrations.,” he said. “I hope to solve some of those problems that gave rise to those frustrations.”

He added that many city residents, especially those who live west of Dixie Highway, feel the government doesn’t work for them.

“It’s the responsibility of everybody on this dias to inspire trust and to bring information to the people,” Hardy said.

Robinson, a long-time community organizer who has served on several city boards, echoed Hardy’s comments, saying it’s important for the commission to work for all resisdents.

Building trust is one of the keys to doing that, Robinson said.

Robinson also stressed he wants to see the Gulfstream Hotel renovation project move forward.

“I’m just ready to get to work,” Robinson said.

 

 

 

 

 

Will Lake Worth’s Gulfstream Hotel project see another delay?

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LAKE WORTH — Not so fast on the start of that $70 million Gulfstream Hotel renovation project.

After the city last month prevailed in a lawsuit filed by three residents over building heights, City Attorney Glen Torcivia told The Palm Beach Post after tonight’s special City Commission meeting that an appeal was filed Monday.

“I’m disappointed,” Torcivia said. “It seems to be another delaying tactic….but they have the right to appeal.”

Torcivia informed city commissioners immediately after the 25-minute meeting. Mayor Pam Triolo was overheard saying, “Are you serious?”

The original suit, filed by former Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden and two others, was unanimously dismissed by a three-judge panel on Aug. 11, seemingly clearing the way for the long-discussed makeover of the historic hotel, built in 1925, to begin soon.

Now, that’s not certain, Torcivia said.

“It could be three to five more months before this is resolved,” Torcivia said.

Hudson Holdings, the Delray Beach developer working on the project, said the company was set to file permits to demolish two structures on the site. The project was going to be done in two phases, with the first slated to start in about four months, Steven Michael, Hudson Holdings co-owner, told The Palm Beach Post last month.

The city spent $11,000 defending the first lawsuit, Torcivia said. It could spend an another $5,000 on an appeal, he added.

“I think people want the city to move forward and this is just another delaying tactic” Torcivia said.

 

Lake Worth plans to recoup attorney fees over Gulfstream lawsuit

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LAKE WORTH — The lawsuit filed against the city over building heights and the $70 million Gulfstream Hotel renovation project may be dead, the legal saga isn’t over.

The city, after all, had to spend money defending the lawsuit. Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting wondered how much the city shelled out.

City Attorney Glen Torcivia said he didn’t know the exact dollar amount. But he did know the city would be filing a motion seeking to recoup attorney fees and court costs.

“Court costs are relatively easy to recover and it’s usually a very small amount,” he said. “Attorney’s fees are harder to recover. My (best estimate) is that attorney fees were $25,000.”

Maxwell echoed what many residents have been saying after the suit was dismissed last week.

“I’m hoping now the folks that own the Gulfstream Hotel will understand they have a clear path to redeveloping the hotel,” Maxwell said.

Lawsuit over Lake Worth’s building heights dismissed

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LAKE WORTH — A lawsuit filed by a former city commissioner against the city over building heights and the $60 million Gulfstream Hotel renovation project was unanimously dismissed this afternoon, according to City Attorney Glen Torcivia.

“That the three judge panel ruled unanimously without a hearing illustrated the strength of the city’s position,” Torcivia told The Palm Beach Post. “It’s the best ruling you can get.”

In a statement, Mayor Pam Triolo said, “This community has longed for the reopening of our beautiful, historic hotel and this decision now clears the way. The Gulfstream Hotel will revitalize the community and serve as a catalyst in our downtown to bring in much-needed tourism for our businesses and great lodging for the friends and relatives of our residents.”

Former City Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden, along with two residents, sued the city earlier this year, claiming city commissioners were in violation of the city charter that states building heights can’t exceed 45 feet.

The Gulfstream is 85 feet, while the planned annex hotel is 65 feet.

In a referendum three years ago, 55 percent of Lake Worth residents requested that the maximum height should not exceed 45 feet in the area a block away from the Intracoastal Wateray. The city argued the vote became moot after the state Legislature took the power to vote on building heights away from residents.

The lawsuit stalled the project, helmed by developer Hudson Holdings. The city has given the developer all the approvals it needs to restore the historic hotel.

“Now we can move forward with financing and a construction loan,” said Steven Michaels, Hudson Holdings’ co-owner. “This is great news.”

Golden did not return a call seeking comment.

Check back for more on this developing story at mypalmbeachpost.com.

Hudson Holdings gets final OK for $60 million Gulfstream Hotel project

LAKE WORTH — The Gulfstream Hotel is coming back from the dead.

After a marathon discussion, the Historic Resources Preservation Board by a unanimous vote at a special meeting tonight, approved Hudson Holdings‘ major site plan to restore the historic hotel, built in the 1920s, to its former glory.

Vice Chair Darrin Engel had to recuse himself because of a conflict.

The Gulfstream Hotel located at 1 Lake Ave in Lake Worth.
The Gulfstream Hotel located at 1 Lake Ave in Lake Worth.

City Commissioners have already approved key zoning changes to move the $60 million project forward. Tonight’s vote by the Historic Resources board represents the final vote Hudson Holdings needed before starting work on the 91-year-old hotel.

During presentations by the city and representatives for Hudson Holdings, everything from landscaping to where the buildings will be situated to how overflow parking will be addressed, were discussed.

Check back later at mypalmbeachpost.com for this developing story.

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.

 

 

 

$60 million Gulf Stream project up for final vote tonight

LAKE WORTH —  Psst….got a second?

The Gulfstream Hotel located at 1 Lake Ave in Lake Worth.
The Gulfstream Hotel located at 1 Lake Ave in Lake Worth. 

Let me tell you something. Perhaps you’ve heard. Maybe not. A Delray Beach developer — Hudson Holdings — wants to restore the Gulf Stream Hotel to its heavenly grandeur for roughly $60 million.

The City Commission has already approved key zoning changes to allow the project to inch forward, a move that pleased many growth-seeking residents while irking those who fear the project will ruin Lake Worth’s small town charm.

The final vote comes tonight from the city’s Historic Resources Preservation Board at a special meeting scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Up for discussion: the site plan. If approved, Hudson Holdings says the hotel can be restored within 15 months.

Still, there’s a little lawsuit issue that needs to be resolved. Three residents — including former commissioner Jo-Ann Golden — recently sued the city, claiming commissioners were in violation of the city charter that states building heights can exceed 45 feet.

The city, however, says it’s confident the suit won’t slow — or derail — the project.

Please follow me on Twitter @KevinDThompson1 or feel free to call at 561-820-4573 or email me at kthompson@pbpost.com with story ideas, comments and really nice places to listen to live jazz.