City voters approved a charter amendment today that limits building heights along most of Lake and Lucerne avenues to 45 feet — a measure proponents said was needed to preserve the city’s small-town feel.
The limit is 20 feet shorter than the 65-foot height limit the city’s comprehensive plan allows for buildings east of Federal Highway along Lake and Lucerne avenues, an area the city has designated for a hotel district.
With all 17 precincts reporting, voter support for the building height limits was ahead of the opposition by a comfortable margin.
Laurel Decker, chairwoman of the Respectful Planning Lake Worth Political Committee that pushed for the height limits, said voters approved the charter change because they want a low-rise community.
“Whatever it takes to get a small-town feel, that’s what they want,” Decker said.
Decker said the margin of victory would have been higher if the opposing PAC had not distributed yard signs that she said confused voters by urging them to vote no “to help keep Lake Worth lo-rise.”
The charter amendment also limits building heights to 35 feet between F and A streets along Lake and Lucerne avenues. The limits extend north to Second Avenue North and south to First Avenue South.
“It was close,” said Greg Rice, treasurer of the Friends of Gulfstream Political Committee, a PAC formed in February to oppose the building height limits. “We’re a democracy, and the people got to vote.”
City voters also approved by a wide margin a charter change that moves city elections from November back to March, when most other Palm Beach County cities hold elections.
Today’s decision reverses Lake Worth voters’ 2007 decision to move city elections to November.
The move to March elections means that Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell and Commissioner Andy Amoroso will have four months added to their terms. Instead of facing reelection in November, their terms will expire in March 2014.
Commissioners Christopher McVoy and John Szerdi also will have their terms extended. They’ll be up for reelection in March 2015 instead of November 2014.