Palm Beach Civic Association 81st season logo

Protecting the quality of life since 1944.

Our Town by William Kelly: Civic Association forum to spotlight zoning and development in Palm Beach

The Palm Beach Civic Association will launch its 80th anniversary season at its Welcome Back Community Forum on Tuesday, November 7, at the Mandel Recreation Center.

The public is invited to attend the gathering, which will be from 10 a.m. until noon.

Michael Pucillo, the Civic Association’s chairman and chief executive officer, and Mary Robosson, its president and chief operating officer, will welcome the audience to the forum, which will focus on matters crucial to the town.

The keynote speaker will be Sean S. Suder, the zoning consultant assisting town leaders in mapping out the future of development on the island.

Town Council President Margaret Zeidman will deliver an update on issues facing the council during the coming season.

“The Palm Beach Civic Association is pleased to provide a forum that will focus on building and zoning matters, including those that are expected to go before the Town Council this season and potential changes to the zoning code,” Pucillo said.

Palm Beach is contending with intense development pressure that has triggered residents’ concerns about overbuilding, traffic and the potential loss of Palm Beach’s small-town character.

Suder is the lead principal and founder of Cincinnati-based ZoneCo, which is advising the town on how to reform its antiquated zoning code to fit today’s conditions and challenges.

Suder is a land-use attorney and planner who has worked on zoning projects for more than 30 communities in 17 states. He said zoning regulations touch on all aspects of growth and building in the town.

“Zoning affects everyone in the community,” Suder said. “A lot of times people do not pay attention to zoning until it affects them directly. Right now, the town is taking a fresh look at its zoning for the first time in 50 years.”

Zeidman said there is a “high speed train” of commercial development requests headed toward the council.

The council’s task is to strike a balance between the aims of the property owners and the guiding principles of the town’s comprehensive plan, which Zeidman said will continue to protect Palm Beach’s small-town charm.

“Owners have the right to develop their property within the zoning code and in accordance with the comprehensive plan,” she said. “The comprehensive plan calls for keeping a lid on density and not intensifying land uses. It is going to be a struggle.”

Zeidman said she will also update Tuesday’s audience on other top issues, including utility undergrounding, potable water, public safety, the town budget, and restoration of the Royal Poinciana Playhouse, North Fire Station and Phipps Ocean Park.

Suder and Zeidman are expected to answer questions from audience members following their remarks.

You can learn more about Tuesday’s forum and how to register to attend by logging onto the Civic Association’s website,

The forum is being sponsored by Northern Trust bank.

Founded in 1944, the Civic Association is a nonprofit organization charged with protecting and enhancing the quality of life in Palm Beach by taking proactive stands on civic affairs, working with local government, engaging with residents on key town issues, and encouraging citizen involvement in the community.

“We encourage our residents to become involved, in keeping with our mission, to protect and preserve the island of Palm Beach,” Robosson said. “Engaging residents on key issues is what the Civic Association stands for, for 80 years now.”

RSVP for the Welcome Back Community Forum here.


Sponsored by:

Cleveland Clinic Florida