The Board of Directors of Vernon Heights will be having a meeting to discuss maintenance and damage to the community as a result of Hurricane Irma

The meeting will be held at the home of:
Carla Blockson
1802 Pierce Dr
Lake Worth, FL 33460

Friday, 6:00 pm, September 22. 2017

(notification of meeting under Florida Statutes 720.316)

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Lake Cove Project Information and Update

Vernon Heights was approached by Meritage Homes, the developer/purchaser of the property to our south, regarding the proposed development to be called Lake Cove.

The plan, as originally presented, proposed 53 Single-Family homes, with approximately 1,600 to 3,000 square footage, and values from the low $300,000’s to the high $300,000’s. The proposal was to have a single entrance off Vernon Street at Pierce Drive.

A meeting was held on Monday, May 1, and was attended by some residents of Vernon Heights, the Developer Meritage Homes; the planning and engineering firm for the project, Kimley-Horn Engineering; and several members of the City of Lake Worth’s Staff from the Planning & Zoning Department. At that meeting, it was made very clear by the residents that the single access/entry plan was completely unacceptable and we did not want the only entrance to Lake Cove to be via our neighborhood. At that time, Meritage Homes was scheduled to present their proposal to the City’s Planning & Zoning Board on May 3.

On May 2, the Developer cancelled their proposed presentation to the City and went back to the drawing board to redesign their entryway options to include access via 19th Avenue North. On May 12, the plans were re-submitted to the City.

Our newly elected City Commissioner, Omari Hardy, requested a meeting to hear what the residents’ concerns were and that meeting was held on May 17. Omari shared the revised plans for Lake Cove.

There will be an entry to Lake Cove on 19th Avenue North, as well as Vernon Street. While the Developer felt that an entry on 19th Avenue North wasn’t attractive due to the surrounding homes/condominiums, the City has stepped up their plans to include this corridor on the initial Bond repairs. The City also has plans to encourage residents and property owners along that corridor to beautify their properties or face consequences via liens and Code Enforcement violations. This would include the condominiums located immediately east of the proposed entrance, between A and the proposed Lake Cove project. The newly submitted plans reflect that there will now be 57 homes, as the engineers revised the plans for some of the homes. As we understand it, that was done so that the revenue from the additional homes would offset the cost of the new entryway on 19th. We have been reassured by the City and Meritage Homes that there will be NO construction traffic entering from Vernon Heights. The Developer is scheduled to present their revised plans for approval to the Planning & Zoning Board on June 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers. We encourage residents to attend the Planning & Zoning meeting to hear the Developer’s presentation to the City and let the City know your concerns. We must have a presence if we wish to have the City realize our concerns regarding this project.

The Board of Directors will be holding a Special Board Meeting on Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center to discuss this project. There will be 15 minutes of open discussion at the beginning of the meeting. The Board will then be discussing the issues to present to the Developer at a meeting to be held on May 31, which will be attended by some members of the Board and some key residents who will comprise a Planning Committee. We are on limited time on May 25, as we must relinquish our use of the room at 9:00 p.m.

We must accept that this project/development is going to happen and we cannot prevent it. We can adapt, compromise and work with the Developer to have them meet our requirements and make it a win-win situation for everyone, or we can fight tooth and nail and alienate this Developer who may walk away from the project because we are so unwilling to compromise. We will then have made two enemies, the City and the Developer. Keep in mind, however, that another developer will take their place and the next developer may not be as agreeable to working with us and may do as they please without so much as a consultation.

The Board makes a solemn vow to keep everyone’s best interests at heart, particularly those residents likely to be most affected by this project. Your opinion matters and we want to hear from you. We will keep you advised as to the progress of the project.

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October is GONE – Here Come the Holidays!!

So, I’ve been suffering from writer’s block or busy-ness overload or something….It’s been very hard to sit and gather my thoughts. Here’s what I have:

For the most part, the neighborhood seems to have survived Hurricane Matthew, relatively unharmed. The most notable loss was that of the large Ficus Tree at Pierce and Kelso…. We are, however, grateful that there was no serious damage to the occupants or home located on the property. I hope that none of you had family or loved ones to our north that suffered any serious losses due to Matthew’s visit. The question now is, are YOUR shutters down? It’s safer to take them down. Leaving them up will send a message that may be interpreted as “no one is here right now, come on in and help yourself to our belongings!!”

Late September and early October also saw the loss of two long time and much loved neighbors, Jasper “Jack” Langley and William “Bill” Earl. Both of these gentlemen will be sorely missed by all. I know that I miss seeing Jack in his red golf cart, with his trust companion Boston, the yellow lab, patrolling the neighborhood and looking out for everyone’s property. Likewise, we’ll all miss Bill Earl sitting in his driveway with a friendly greeting and big smile and wave to all. I especially miss the sound of Bill’s (my fellow early-bird) truck starting up with its throaty rumble, and driving out of the neighborhood on his way to work every day.

In September, the Palm Beach County Commission gave us final approval of our REAP Grant. We can now move forward with our neighborhood Crime Watch Program and designing our banners. We have a year to fulfill our obligation to the County. Do you want to be a Block Captain? We need volunteers to keep an eye out for your immediate neighbors’ homes. It doesn’t cost a thing and will help keep our neighborhood safe and crime free. Please contact me at (561) 301-0123 if you want to volunteer to be your block captain.

Don’t forget that Annual Dues will become due and payable on January 1, 2017. You will be receiving your statements sometime during the early part of December. We are hoping to have an on-line payment system via our bank, PNC, in place so you can choose to pay your dues via check as you have in the past or on-line direct from you to the Bank.

We are trying to take our neighborhood into a virtual world via utilization of electronic newsletters, on line payments, and, eventually, text messaging. If you are receiving this, we’ve got your info. Please encourage your immediate neighbors to let us know their e-mail addresses and to friend our Facebook page so they can be notified of events and other important information relating to our neighborhood.

For the moment, this is all the creativity I can muster. I’m hoping that whatever planets need to align for me to get my mojo back will do so soon!! I will work on getting it back and posting a more informative, entertaining newsletter for November soon!!

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Back to Business…

b2b2Summer 2016 is behind us, the kids are back in school or off to college everyone seems to be settling into the fall routine.  Football is being played.  I’m hoping that we are on the downside of Hurricane Season and that we don’t have to experience any serious weather issues between now and December 1.   I hope everyone survived this summer’s brutal heat considering it didn’t seem like we ever had any respite from last summer.  So, with hopefulness, we can now say Winter is Coming!

For Vernon Heights Board of Directors it’s back to business, having held our first Board meeting since June on Tuesday, September 13.  Deputy Frank Acierno of PBSO attended and at that time, we had not had any reportable crimes in the neighborhood, which was good news.  Since then, however, there was a break in and there was a large police presence in the neighborhood looking for the suspect.  As I understand it, he was able to elude police via an escape into the woods on the south side of the neighborhood.  I certainly didn’t want to “lead” my update to all of you with news like this, but all members of the NAPC had been contacted by Community Liaison Deputy Benito Gaspar and Property Crimes Detective Michael Donovan from PBSO District 14.  They are requesting that ALL homeowners who have surveillance cameras on their property register with them so that when an incident occurs PBSO Road Patrol and Detectives would be able to contact residents regarding possible footage of the incident.  Property owners would register directly with PBSO and this list would be an investigative tool ONLY to be used exclusively by PBSO.  This list would be stored in house and all information is kept confidential.  Accordingly, if you are interested in being part of PBSO’s proactive crime prevention team, they will need the following information:

Name, Address, Phone Number, Neighborhood Association Name

If applicable, Name of Security Company that monitors cameras

If self-operated, who can PBSO call to obtain video retrieval?

Please contact Deputy Benito Gaspar (561) 301-2575 with your information as requested above.

So, now, on to more positive news.  The skinny on the meetings.  I acknowledge and understand that these meetings are dull and boring.  I am trying to make them more interesting for residents and so the following format will be instituted beginning in October.  Meetings will start at 7:00 p.m. and there will be a speaker who (I hope) will bring information regarding local issues of interest and importance to you.  The allotted time will be 30 minutes for the presentation.

At the conclusion of the presentation, we will open the floor for a maximum of 10 minutes for questions and issues brought to the Board by residents.  Should you have something you wish to have included on the agenda for the Board to discuss, please submit it via e-mail (vernonheightspoa461@aol.com) by the Friday before the meeting (2d Tuesday of each month).  The business portion of the meeting will begin at 7:30 or as soon thereafter as possible.  During the meetings, the Board will address issues presented, budgets, plans for the neighborhood, etc., which were properly placed on the agenda.  The goal is to stay focused and move forward with as few interruptions as possible and conclude the meeting early enough to catch prime time TV!

We are conducting Requests for Proposals from Fencing Companies in order to replace the fence along A Street.  We hope to have the proposals by the October meeting and some of the work started on this project before the end of the year.  If you have a great fence company, please let me know!!

We await word from the Palm Beach County Commission as to when we will receive the REAP Grant we were awarded to establish our neighborhood Crime Watch Program and for installation of the Banners announcing our area.  We are soliciting “logo” ideas from residents.  If you are artistically inclined, I’m encouraging you to submit a proposal for the Banners.  The criteria requires that it be a tasteful depiction of our neighborhood name.  It will be placed on a vertical banner, so please keep that in mind.  If you would like to submit a drawing, please do so by October 7 so it can be presented to the Board at our October 11 meeting and voted on by the Board.

Vernon Heights will be sponsoring a hole at the PBSO Toy Drive Golf Tournament which will take place at the Atlantis Golf Course on October 9.  PBSO is seeking both sponsors and players for this event.  Each year the proceeds from this event assist the Community Policing (CP) Unit in providing Christmas gifts for low income or families enduring hardships during the holidays.  In 2015, generous donations were able to provide breakfast and Christmas gifts to 120 needy families (350 kids) from the City of Lake Worth – the children were the recipients of 800 gifts and 65 bicycles.  If you or your business are interested in sponsoring a hole or participating in the Golf Event, please contact D/S Devin Zuchowski (561) 662-1850 or Benito Gaspar (561) 301-2575.

Take a Book, Leave a Book.  Encourage reading for all, especially children.  The Board voted to install two Little Free Libraries in Vernon Heights.    The LFLs will be located at the East entrance to the Park on Vernon Street, and the other will be installed in the island at the island on Pierce.  They will be built and installed by Raymond Casazza within the next several months.  We need someone to paint and decorate them – it’s artist’s choice and you can let your creative juices flow!!  We are also looking for one or two volunteers to Steward the LFL on Vernon Street and we will need books – particularly children’s books — to fill it with.  Please contact Tina Casazza or Carla Blockson if you are interested in Stewarding or if you have some books you’d like to donate.  little-free-library

As a member of the NAPC, Vernon Heights will be participating in two Evening on the Avenue Events, and “manning” the Beer Tent (we get to keep all the tips) twice in early 2017.  You can stay for as little as one hour or stay for the entire 4 hour shift.  The requirement is that 4 people are in attendance at the tent for the duration of the evening (6:00 p.m. to 10).  I will be there for all 4 hours and if you are interested in volunteering to help sell some beers, please contact me, Tina Casazza at (561) 301-0123 or by e-mailing:  vernonheightspoa461@aol.com.

There will be a community-wide Yard Sale on November 12 from 8:00 a.m. to Noon.  If you have something to sell, that’s the day to do it.  Residents in Lake Worth are allowed only 1 Yard sale per year without necessity of obtaining a permit.  Start gathering those items that you no longer use, that the kids don’t play with any longer and that you’ve been meaning to get rid of, but just haven’t!!

In case you didn’t know, this year, Vernon Heights entered a raft into the Great American Raft Race for Fourth of July.  The raft was built with by Raymond Casazza, Ron Gonsalves, Tom Bassie, Joe Dively, Will Baldwin and Scott Westveer (who made a cameo appearance from California one weekend).  Sally Gonsalves used her artistic talents to help draw and paint the raft.  While the Race never took place, we did participate in the Parade and we were awarded the “First Timer’s” trophy.the-winners-of-the-first-timers-trophy 1We hope to participate again next year and will notify everyone when to start planning its construction.

Decal distribution will recommence now that the brutal summer heat is diminishing and I won’t pass out walking from door to door and greet neighbors bathed in sweat!!  I look forward to meeting those of you that I don’t know!!

I’m sure there are other things I’m supposed to inform you of, however, I think this little missive has been lengthy enough and you are probably losing interest right about now.  Since it’s back to business, I will likely have more news in a few days to post.  Thanks for reading to the end and I hope to see you all soon….

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4th of July Thank You — YOU Made it a Success!!!

Thanks for attending!Thank-you

So…this post is long overdue. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to EVERYONE who helped make our 2d Annual July 4 Party such a success….Thanks to Dave Cotton, for cooking; Thanks to Theresa Leiser for her mad watermelon cutting skills; Thanks to Tom Bassie, Will Baldwin and Joe Dively for site set up and breakdown; Thanks to Carla Blockson and Lauren Dively for running the kids’ games; Thanks to Peter Leiser and Anthony Bennett for Judging the Bake Off. Thanks to every single person who attended and brought food for all of us to share. Thanks, especially, to my wonderful husband, Raymond Casazza, who worked tirelessly to set the site up, make sure there was ice, lights and power, for breaking down the site and just generally helping ensure our event was a success!!

Our Raft won the First Timer’s Award and I am confident Vernon Heights would have won the Raft Race if it had occurred.  Thank you to Holly and Jason Andreotta and RainLife Barrels for donating the Barrels used to create the craft; Thanks to Ron Gonsalves, Will Baldwin, Joe Dively, Tom Bassie, Sally Gonsalves, and Raymond Casazza for designing; building and decorating the vessel.  We now know what we have to do to ensure more trophies next year!!

Thank you ALL and I look forward to our next event!!!!

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