New plan is 60 years in the making
Related: Master Plan Presentation, Public Hearings
By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
When home builders Richard and Herbert Ross acquired the land that would become the Village of North Palm Beach in 1956, a master plan for the community was developed. The city got its official charter on Aug. 13, 1956.
In the almost 60 years since that time, and all the changes that go with six decades of growth, there hasn't been another master plan developed. Until now.
"The original plan has served us well," said Jim Kelly, Village Manager, in a recent interview. "Now let's take that 60 years of experience and build on it."
The formal process for developing the new 10-year master plan started in 2015 with enlisting the help of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC), a "not-for-profit organization created by and for local governments to provide planning and technical assistance services and assist in carrying out Florida's growth management programs. It was established in 1976 through an interlocal agreement between Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach counties. Membership includes all four counties and 50 municipalities."
But rewind to 2014, when Kelly was hired into his current position. One of his first actions was hold a public forum and invite North Palm Beach residents to talk about changes they would like. What the nearly 40 who attended that session voiced still rings true. "They really nailed it," said Kelly. Their suggestions "have been re-affirmed over and over."
Public input and feedback to any proposed plan or changes is paramount in Kelly's mind. To that end, the city has been running an online survey for the past month, inviting public opinion on a wide range of topics. On Saturday, Jan. 30, everyone is invited to attend a Public Design Workshop "to help shape the future of North Palm Beach and create a new Village Master Plan." It will be held from 9 am to 3 pm at the Conservatory School's cafeteria at 401 Anchorage Dr.
Kelly reflected on the exciting opportunities the city has in front of it, noting the influx of more young families. "We now have three generations of families" who call the Village home -- people who appreciate the sense of community and family-friendly environment. Not to mention the idyllic weather and proximity to water.
Among the factors under consideration:
He also praised the city council, who always put the interests of the city and its citizens above all else. "They are 100 percent behind this effort," he said.
The key to all of it, Kelly believes, is educating the public so the best decisions get made. All the more reason to attend the Master Plan session Jan. 30.
You could say the future of what the founders started 60 years ago depends on it.
The new master plan is practical, not pie-in-the-sky."