Com­mis­sion­ers should be thanked

Palm Beach Daily News - - OPINION - By JULIE ARASKOG

While as a Town Coun­cil mem­ber, I have not writ­ten a let­ter to the Palm Beach Daily News on is­sues that could come be­fore us, I felt obliged to do so after read­ing a re­cent let­ter (“Board’s de­ci­sions war­rant re­view”) and hear­ing com­plaints about the Ar­chi­tec­tural Com­mis­sion from res­i­dents, whose main point of ref­er­ence was that let­ter.

I will not com­ment on the ap­pli­cant or the pro­posed home as that could come be­fore us. I will just ad­dress the du­ties ARCOM mem­bers have, the pur­pose of the or­di­nance, the laws in­volved and the ded­i­ca­tion and time our ARCOM com­mis­sion­ers de­vote to their vol­un­tary po­si­tion. Many res­i­dents do not un­der­stand the process or the or­di­nance. I hope this will clear up some of the mis­un­der­stand­ing.

That let­ter asked res­i­dents to more closely scru­ti­nize ARCOM. I lis­ten to or at­tend ev­ery ARCOM meet­ing. I hope every­one who has an opin­ion based on that let­ter will lis­ten to the ap­pli­ca­ble meet­ings and read the neigh­bors’ let­ters, as I be­lieve a very dif­fer­ent opin­ion will re­sult.

I be­lieve the take-away will be that we have ded­i­cated ARCOM com­mis­sion­ers who are do­ing a stel­lar job of fol­low­ing the law they must legally fol­low to main­tain our town’s beauty.

Be­fore be­ing elected, I worked dili­gently to in­form the Town Coun­cil about the ARCOM or­di­nance and the laws com­mis­sion­ers are re­quired to fol­low in what is a quasi-ju­di­cial hear­ing. The ARCOM or­di­nance is sep­a­rate from zon­ing laws and vari­ances, and holds the same weight as the law, as seen in the ARCOM or­di­nance at right.

The ARCOM or­di­nance was too long to print in its en­tirety, but I rec­om­mend every­one read it. As you can see from the ex­cerpts I have cho­sen, the or­di­nance in these ar­eas fo­cuses on the pro­tec­tion of ad­join­ing neigh­bors and those within 200 feet in re­gard to the ap­pear­ance of mass, pri­vacy, de­sign, height and ma­te­ri­als. It also re­quires spa­cious­ness, fit, charm, high qual­ity and har­mony in re­la­tion to the town as a whole. The or­di­nance also pro­tects the char­ac­ter of the im­me­di­ate ar­eas or neigh­bor­ing ar­eas.

ARCOM pro­tects the beauty of our town and the ex­ist­ing res­i­dents’ prop­erty rights, while at the same time hop­ing to find a plan pleas­ing to the ap­pli­cant.

We are lucky to have qual­i­fied and ded­i­cated com­mis­sion­ers on ARCOM who spend end­less hours study­ing plans, meet­ing with ar­chi­tects and then at­tend­ing meet­ings once a month from 9 a.m. un­til 5 or 6 p.m. They spend their own money to fly in for meet­ings. They ded­i­cate their time and money to pre­serve the beauty of Palm Beach. They should be thanked for their ef­forts and not at­tacked for vot­ing in a man­ner that they be­lieve fol­lowed the law from the ev­i­dence pre­sented.

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