Palm Beach County commissioners voted 5-2 Monday to postpone a decision on comprehensive plan changes to accommodate the Iota Carol/Delray Linton Groves development project west of The Acreage.
Commissioners had given preliminary approval to changes last year, which were then reviewed by state government officials. Two of the commissioners who voted in favor of those changes have been replaced by new commissioners, and new County Mayor Paulette Burdick – who has expressed concern about over-development in the county – now chairs commission meetings.
Burdick and Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, whose district includes the project site, voted against the postponement.
The project, which calls for the construction of 1,030 homes on a 1,288-acre tract, will be reconsidered by the commission when it meets on April 8.
A routine vote on a Palm Beach County proclamation at Tuesday’s county commission meeting prompted a lengthy discussion on school choice.
Commissioner Steve Abrams was asked to introduce declaring Jan. 22-28 as “School Choice Week in Palm Beach County.” The motion passed, but Mayor Paulette Burdick and new commissioner Mack Bernard voted no and did not sign the proclamation.
“If you go on their web site, it is very much about charter schools. It is very much about using public funding for vouchers and scholarships,” Burdick, who sat on the county school board from 1994 to 2010, said of the group National School Choice Week.
Abrams said the group is non-partisan and doesn’t lobby and that it fully supports the option of public schools.
“It’s not about charters,” he said. “It’s not about vouchers. It’s not about tuition tax credits. All those controversial type issues. It’s about appreciating that we offer choices in the county.”
Abrams said that after hearing fellow commissioners weren’t comfortable with the group’s original proposed wording, he rewrote it himself “to best reflect the types of choices our parents and
The proclamation “does not have to do with certain types of schools that some of us, myself included, are not happy about,” said colleague Mary Lou Berger, who said she and her siblings spent their youths in parochial schools. “It’s about the choice that parents have.”
Abrams then offered to change the wording to refer only to choice in Palm Beach County; “then we don’t have to affiliate with that group at all.” He even changed the date to Feb. 22-28.
Burdick still felt the commission, by approving the proclamation, was at least indirectly supporting the national group. Bernard did not speak on the issue.
The Palm Beach County Commission changed the guard Tuesday with laughs, hugs and tears.
The commission also made a surprise pick for its mostly-ceremonial mayor’s post, selecting Paulette Burdick 4-3 over colleague Steven Abrams.
The panel Tuesday said goodbye to Shelley Vana, out by term limits, and Priscilla Taylor, defeated for reelection in August.
It then swore in former state representative Dave Kerner, who won Vana’s seat, and former Delray Beach City Commissioner and former state representative Mack Bernard, who replaces Taylor.
By tradition, outgoing Vice-Mayor Hal Valeche was next in line for mayor. But Valeche, hospitalized for weeks in late October and early November,said Nov. 9 he would not stand for mayor, citing his health.
Since the position was created, the board traditionally has turned to the person who is Vice Mayor and is chairman when the commission sits as the governing board of the Solid Waste Authority. That would be Valeche.
Next up would be Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, the current vice chair of the Solid Waste Authority’s board. But only Burdick and Abrams were nominated Tuesday. McKinlay later was unanimously picked for vice mayor. McKinlay said later she hadn’t sought the top post and was happy with the pick.
Abrams had been the first mayor when the panel switched to the title from “commission chair,” and Kerner said later he voted for Burdick because she hadn’t had the post yet.
In 2013, Burdick, who as vice mayor traditionally would be next in line, was passed over for Shelley Vana in a move she later called “petty” and blamed on her growth-management stances. Burdick said Tuesday that was in the past and she was ready to take on her new duties.
The South Florida Water Management District has designed a 581-acre piece of Palm Beach County’s Agricultural Reserve to be surplus and available for sale, increasing the prospect of more development in a farming zone some fear is being gobbled up by builders.
The district co-owns the 581 acres with Palm Beach County. A majority of the seven-member county commission would have to agree to a sale.
Last year, when the district first began discussing the idea of declaring the land surplus and taking bids on it, Commissioners Paulette Burdick and Melissa McKinlay opposed private ownership of the land, which is part of a 624-acre tract purchased with public money in 2000.