I was very troubled to hear that Darrell Lange is running for the Royal Palm Beach Village Council. I had the unfortunate experience of appearing before Mr. Lange while he sat on the Planning & Zoning Commission.
I was treated with insolence and total disrespect by him and Commissioner Jackie Larson. I came before them as a representative of my homeowners’ association with a request to remove trees whose roots had caused severe damage to some of our driveways and walkways. The trees, varieties that grow to a height of more than 30 feet and are now banned from being planted in the village, were planted on strips of land 2 to 4 feet wide. Planted with village permission many years ago, I might add.
I explained to the committee that the driveways and walkways were cracked and lifted to the point of being serious trip hazards for our residents and their guests. Mr. Lange asked me if anyone fell and had we been sued. Is it necessary for someone to be hurt before Mr. Lange believes a problem should be resolved?
I was accused by Mr. Lange and Ms. Larson of hating trees and nature. Because of their “personal opinions” the HOA was forced to hire a certified arborist at great unnecessary expense. They did not like that the arborist didn’t agree with them and continued to do everything they could to prevent the HOA from moving forward.
The Planning & Zoning Commission required the HOA to provide them with nine presentation packets, including drawings, pictures and tree varieties a week before the meeting. During the meeting, I was asked if we had pictures, making it obvious that they hadn’t even looked at our presentation packet.
Mr. Lange and other committee members didn’t take the time to see if what we presented met village codes and rules. Mr. Lange pressed his personal opinion versus what the village standards, codes and/or rules called for, causing our HOA a substantial amount of money.
Mr. Lange’s job should have been to follow the rules and codes of the village, which he showed a total lack of knowledge about, and to improve the community — not to work on a personal agenda or press his personal opinions.
Mr. Lange claims to want more public engagement, yet he doesn’t listen to public opinion unless it mirrors his own.
Councilman Dave Swift, who clearly understood the issue at hand, apologized for the committee’s disrespect and illegal behavior and told me he would bring it to the council’s attention, which he did. I find Councilman Swift to be a man of integrity who always has the best interest of this community at heart, listens to the people who live here and treats the residents of Royal Palm Beach with respect.
I encourage the readers to vote for Dave Swift and re-elect an honest, honorable man with a proven track record.
Valerie Gerold, Royal Palm Beach