Meeting Date01/24/2023
Public Comment TopicNew Business
Choose Which Item Your Comment Corresponds WithItem A
For or AgainstN/A
NameMonica Bilotti
Comments to be read into record

Urgent request: save our structures

Dear Mayor and City Commissioners,

First, let me say 2,195 for a one bedroom apartment at minimum is a little steep for Lake Worth, but that's what's proposed for these buildings. Not low income housing. Let's make sure we read the fine print.

Please halt the CRA’s November 8th’s vote to direct staff to prepare a contract for demolition of historic homes on South L, South K and 1st Ave S. 

As a 15-year resident and an educational background in design, I know the value of our downtown is its location and its history. We luckily cant change its location, but we can be easily erase its history and in the process turn it into something we may not like. No matter what replaces the buildings that are there, The existing buildings need maintenance and building code upgrades, but so will any replacement buildings.   The CRA has failed to maintain the historical consistency of our downtown, carry out needed maintenance and building code upgrades and in the process has created blight. 

If the Commission doesn’t step in and halt the demolition of the 1920s to 1950s historic homes, the remaining historic homes that are left, lose value.  If we invest money into maintaining these homes, bringing them into building code compliance for existing buildings and making energy efficiency improvements and creating sustainable, drought tolerant native landscapes, all of these homes will increase in value. 

There has been an increase in restoration and renovation of historic beach towns up and down the coast in the past half-dozen years and a corresponding  increase in home values.    

Let’s make these period homes, wood frame vernacular, masonry vernacular, bungalow, mid-century modern and minimal traditional, to be historically accurate, updated and beautiful.  Instead of a yesteryear village that people pay to visit at a fair, Old Town can once again be a livable, vibrant place.  Traditional Building Conference hosts a two-day event at the Kravis Center and a busload of attendees visit our Old Town Historic District.  Let’s set a goal to create that walkable and livable place for future visitors.

Around the country I've seen buildings like these used as boutiques, Michelin star restaurants, as well as live-work spaces, rentals, offices or residences. Communities we visit on vacation, like Provincetown, Charleston and key west are filled with understated historic, but architecturally interesting buildings. 

We have plenty of empty lots to develop to increase our tax base that are not in historic districts.  However, once our historic structures are gone, just like the nature that was here before these buildings, they're gone forever. 

It's up to the City Commission to preserve and enhance the homes we already have in our Old Town Historic District.  Current and future residents and visitors will cherish them.


Please take a vote today to prevent the CRA from signing a demolition contract.  Instead, let’s create architectural design and landscaping standards so we can put out an invitation to bid for restoration and renovation of these eight historic structures, which have been laid fallow for nearly five years by a reckless and imprudent speculative development scheme.
Recently grants have become available to save historic structures and with a little patience and the right parameters, these can be extremely valuable, contributing structures to our quaint beach town. We have all seen the before and afters in this town and how beautiful they turn out. I hope that's what you choose to do with these structures.

Thank you very much, 

Monica Bilotti

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