Thank you, Palm Beach Daily News. Fine editorial [Sept. 22, 2019 Palm Beach Daily News, All Wet on Sea streets study].


Thank you, Town Council. A wise vote, based on fact, reversing Landmarks (LPC). Anyone can listen to the LPC votes overturned. The meetings can be clearly heard (audiotapes August-September LPC). Their votes were based on emotion, not facts.


The LPC put no facts, documents in the record at their hearings. Their hearing was unnoticed to homes they encumbered, irrespective of Florida’s notice laws, Constitution and Sunshine law.


The council protected us from a serious mistake involving many millions worth of real estate.


Facts not cited by the LPC: an amazing two-thirds of Sea [street] homes are in FEMA high-risk zones, [which is] an impossible situation if the homes had been forced landmarked as LPC threatened. And impossible to explain to prospective home buyers too. [It’s also] financially deadly to those homeowners, most of whom are older, retired, some unwell, and without extra millions to get them out of the situation. Add to that, worsening hurricanes and Intracoastal flooding.


Facts: Only two out of 90 in-town homes last considered for Landmarking are on the Seas streets. The other 88 were in other parts of town [per town expert Jane Day’s last report to the council].


And that is only two out of the total of 167 Sea Street homes. A broad principle in landmark practice requires a far greater percentage of homes landmarkable for a district: as much as 80 percent in order to be a district (this per town expert testimony in past council hearings). Past experts [have] pointed out that many Sea street homes are newer [and] considerably changed, thus not landmarkable.


Fact: Jane Day, the town’s former expert, explained in her 2010 report (apparently not read by any on the LPC) that forced landmarking is not needed, as the town already has a strict Architectural Review Committee (ARCOM). There are already edicts [and] town rules about the Seas streets [that] ARCOM relies on to curb architects and builders. That is why the Seas look great today.


Facts: the Sea streets have far fewer homes knocked down than other town areas. The charm has only improved even this year. It is the LPC that has unfounded fears, not Sea street owners. We have real fact-based concerns. Experienced brokers often list homes [on the streets] as “not landmarked.”


Studies show districts are helpful in near blighted areas, but landmarking is undesired where land is already very valuable.


We longtime Sea street owners, real estate and trial attorneys, accountants, judges, developers, are knowledgeable now on this. The LPC says they want us “educated.” We are more knowledgeable and educated than most on the LPC.


Hopefully the upcoming “symposium” is about voluntary landmarking [and] how the town could help that happen. It is forced landmarking that the council and Sea street neighbors were against.


Forced landmarking is falling out of favor throughout the U.S., as it creates needless municipal expense, risk and disharmony.


Steven Jeffrey Greenwald, Esq.


Owner of a Sea street home