City officials are preparing for the three-month process of amending the city’s comprehensive plan to incorporate building height limits approved by city voters on March 12.
The amendment to the city charter, approved by a 271-vote margin, limits the heights of buildings along Lake and Lucerne avenues to 45 feet east of Federal Highway — and to 35 feet between F and A streets. The limits extend north to Second Avenue North and south to First Avenue South.
The voter-approved height limit east of Federal Highway is 20 feet shorter than the comprehensive plan allows. Amending the comprehensive plan will ensure that it and the city charter are not in conflict.
A tentative schedule for amending the comprehensive plan outlined by William Waters, the city’s community sustainability director, includes:
- April 15: Completing a draft of the needs analysis outlining changes to the city’s Mixed Use Downtown future land-use district.
- May 1: Public hearing before the Planning & Zoning Board, which will provide a recommendation on the amendment to the city commission.
- May 21 or June 4: City commission to consider the future land-use text amendment on first reading. (The date depends on meeting deadlines for advertising.)
- June: Request an expedited review by the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity.
- July 2: Public hearing and city commission vote (second reading) on the amendment.
Commissioners John Szerdi and Christopher McVoy said Tuesday that some voters were confused about impact of the building heights question on the March 12 ballot — even though commissioners postponed the referendum from November until March to give voters a chance to study the issue.
McVoy said voters were confused by campaign signs urging them to oppose the charter amendment to “help Lake Worth stay lo-rise.” Szerdi said some voters were told that voting against the height limits would allow developers to build tall buildings near their homes.
Szerdi suggested another “more comprehensive” referendum on building heights throughout the city next March.