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.