Commissioners should be thanked
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.