Two New Members Take Seats On Wellington’s Zoning Board

The Wellington Municipal Complex.

Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board met on Wednesday, Sept. 12. At issue were the election for positions of chair and vice chair and the approval of Chapter 7 of the village’s amended land development regulations.

At the meeting, the board welcomed two new members: Dr. Carmine Priore and Maureen Martinez.

Priore has been involved with Wellington government since before incorporation. He was first elected to the Acme Improvement District Board of Supervisors in 1992 and served as the board’s president from 1994 to 1996. After incorporation, he was elected to the inaugural Wellington Village Council in 1996 and served, with a brief hiatus, through 2012. His tenure also included serving as Wellington’s second mayor from 1998 to 2000. He was appointed to the PZA board by Vice Mayor Michael Drahos.

Martinez, who was appointed to the board by Councilman Michael Napoleone, grew up in Palm Beach County and lived in an unincorporated area for 13 years before moving to Wellington three years ago. She is a former Palm Beach County prosecutor who is currently a litigator with the national law firm McDonald Hopkins based in the West Palm Beach office.

“I wanted to serve on the board because it is an active board,” Martinez said. “It plays a significant role in the community.”

Returning members of the board include Kenneth Kopp, Stephen Levin, Elizabeth Mariaca, Jeffrey Robbert and Alan Shullman.

The election for chair saw a contest between two-term incumbent Mariaca and returning board member Levin. Mariaca was named chair in a close 4-3 vote with support from Kopp, Robbert and Martinez. Levin, Priore and Shullman dissented.

Levin was again a candidate in the second election of the night — this time for vice chair against incumbent Kopp. In another 4-3 split, Levin was elected vice chair, with Martinez proving the swing vote. Mariaca, Kopp and Robbert dissented.

Levin described himself as a “serial entrepreneur” who had sought a vacant Wellington Village Council seat in 2016 that ultimately went to Councilwoman Tanya Siskind.

The remainder of the meeting focused on a presentation by Development Review Coordinator Cory Lyn Cramer. The village is in the midst of rewriting its land development regulations (LDRs). Thus far, the PZA board has approved the revised chapters 1, 2, 5, 8 and 9, and the development review manual (DRM). Chapter 5 and the DRM have been approved by the council. Votes on the remaining chapters will be held when the entirety of the rewrite has been completed.

The Sept. 12 meeting focused on Chapter 7. This chapter includes rules on lighting, signage and vegetation, including trees.

The discussion surrounded the manner in which property owners could clear vegetation from their land. Currently, removal of more than 30 percent of a property’s vegetation requires a permit to comply with village code. This is to ensure that the village enjoys a healthy tree canopy and that damaged or dead trees are replaced.

The one key amendment to the chapter proposed by staff was to lower the 30 percent threshold down to 10 percent. This would require property owners in the village to seek permitting to remove more than 10 percent of vegetation to comply with code. After a brief discussion between board members and staff, the proposal was approved unanimously by the board.

The revised Chapter 7 will now make its way to the council for final approval. Cramer reported that village staff is currently working on Chapter 6 and that Chapter 3 would soon be in development.