Lantana: Passive park plan worries nearby residents

By Mary Thurwachter

    Lantana officials revealed a conceptual plan to turn a one-acre site on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway into a passive waterfront park with 31 parking spaces.
    The site, at 106-120 N. Lake Drive, just north of Ocean Avenue, was purchased early last year by the town for just under $1.2 million and was considered a good deal. The previous sale price in 2006 was $5.3 million.
    Proposed amenities for the park would include a handicapped-accessible path from the parking meter area to the water, a kayak/canoe launch, and minor upgrades to the existing pier to make it safe for public use, and porch-swing pergolas around a fountain.
“There will be many more meetings (on the proposal),” Mayor Dave Stewart said during the council’s April 8 meeting. “This is just conceptual.”
    “I like it — no carbon footprint,” said Council Member Phil Aridas. “It’s a neat little plus for our town.”
    But neighbors to the property were less enthused.
    “Residents need to be considered,” said Monica Kaufman, who lives on North Lake Drive. She was concerned, she said, about people walking through her backyard to get to the park.
    Town attorney R. Max Lohman said an application process and site plan would follow. “A details discussion at this time is premature,” he said.
    Steve Gantz, a father of three who has a home next to the proposed park, expressed worries about loss of privacy. “I bought this house never expecting a public park next to it. It’s scary.”
    Gantz vowed to take the matter to court.
    “I don’t want to spend a fortune on legal fees, but you give me no choice. You guys are limiting my options.”

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