The new Westlake City Council chose Councilwoman Katrina Long Robinson as its vice mayor on Monday at a meeting that also included the hiring of several key consultants and a report on the widening of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road.
Robinson, a charter school teacher and West Palm Beach resident, replaced former Councilman Anthony Fritz, who submitted his resignation from the Palm Beach County Jail in June shortly after Westlake’s surprise incorporation.
Mayor Roger Manning asked for nominations for the vice mayor position, and Robinson volunteered. She was chosen 5-0. The other council members are John Stanavitch, Kare Crump and Phillip Everett.
The council also approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement with Jupiter-based NZ Consultants for professional planning and zoning services related to the creation of a comprehensive master plan and land development regulations.
Interim City Manager Ken Cassel said that after reviewing requests for qualifications, based on recommendations at the council’s August meeting, he had entered into negotiations with NZ Consultants and had a contract ready. A motion to approve the resolution carried 5-0.
The council also approved a resolution for the manager to enter into an agreement with Chen Moore & Associates for engineering services. The firm has offices across the state, including one in West Palm Beach. A motion to approve the resolution carried 5-0.
During his manager’s report, Cassel said that the contractor for the Seminole Improvement District has begun work widening Seminole Pratt Whitney Road.
“The signs went up the last couple of days, and they have actually started clearing and grubbing on the west side just north of the school,” Cassel said. “They are working their way north. They will be building the west side first, and sometime in May, they will be switching traffic to the west and building the east side.”
He said it is a 540-day contract. Right now it is planned to be a four-lane divided highway, but negotiations are underway with Palm Beach County to make it three lanes each way.
The cost is estimated at $12.4 million for the four-lane divided highway, with an additional $1.6 million to increase the lanes to three each way.
Cassel explained that it is a lot cheaper to build six lanes all at once than to go back afterward and add a lane each way. Although the work is underway, he said there are still a few months to work out an agreement with the county for the additional lanes.
He added that prior to any lane changes, message boards would be posted warning drivers at least a week ahead of time about the changes.
ABOVE: The Minto West/Westlake conceptual plan.