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Delray Beach OKs community gardens rules

By David Sedore, Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH — Delray Beach City Commissioners took a step toward the greening of the city Tuesday by approving first reading of an ordinance allowing and regulating community gardens.

The new rules were the idea of the city’s Green Implementation and Advancement Board and are intended to allow the gardens as a temporary use on vacant lots. Commissioners must pass the ordinance a second time in June before it becomes law.

Among other things, the ordinance sets out where the gardens can be established, the hours they can be worked and creates a series of rules intended to keep the gardens from becoming eyesores.

The gardens can’t be used for commercial purposes, chemical pesticides and fertilizers are prohibited in order to encourage organics and a minimum of four food crops must be grown.

Also Tuesday, commissioners reversed course slightly on accepting a sculpture  William DeBilzan planned to donate to the city to be displayed permanently at Worthing Park. Instead of accepting the donation, the city agreed to lease the work, valued at $130,000, for five years. The work still will be displayed at Worthing Park but the lease deal will allow the city to rotate other pieces at the site.

The city’s public art advisory board recommended the deal, believing that Worthing Park, in the heart of Delray’s downtown, is too prominent a site to have one work permanently on displayed to the exclusion of others.

Under the deal, the city will cover the cost of installing and removing the sculpture, about $2,500 for each move.

Commissioners allowed the subdivision of a parcel of land on Lowry Street near Andrews Avenue in Delray’s beach district. The owner of the land wanted to divide the property into four lots but one of the lots technically came up short of the city’s rules for lot depth because of its odd shape.

Commissioners agreed to sell a home at 5175 NW 6th Street to Nicaisse Eloi for $102,000. The city bought the home and fixed it up under the federally funded Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The deal also includes a $20,000 second mortgage for Eloi.

Community Improvement Director Lula Butler said the city turned a profit on the sale of the home, which is located in the Rainberry Woods neighborhood. The city also has turned a profit overall on homes bought and sold through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which was created to help cities buy foreclosed homes to keep neighborhoods from deteriorating.

Mayor Woodie McDuffie said there is renewed interested in the digital divide initiative intended to provide free internet service to families within the city’s poorer neighborhoods. The project requires $87,000 to buy “radios” needed to broadcast wireless signals, plus about $5,250 to cover recurring costs. The radios would be installed on electric poles in an area between Lake Ida Road and Southwest 10th.

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APRIL 2, 2011 click to go home
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