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Here’s The Scoop …The April 27, 2011 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Commission Meeting … Looking At A Mid-Year Budget “Holistically” … #2 …

April 29, 2011 by Barbara

“THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT THE BUDGET’S PRETTY MUCH RIGHT ON TARGET WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT HOLISTICALLY” ..TM Connie Hoffmann 4/27/11

‘The word “holistic” is identified as meaning looking at something as a whole, rather than in separate parts’

Dear Readers …the mid-year budget report was made with a power-point presentation by soon to be former Acting Finance Director Doug Haag …(more about this in the TM monthly report  in the next post )…  The Commissioners and the residents were not privy to the report prior to this presentation due to the report being finished the afternoon of this meeting according to TM Hoffmann…This writer was surprised VM Dodd did not take issue with that and cannot fathom why after being given a choice of the regular presentation Haag said would take 30 minutes to present chose the 10 minute abbreviated version only to approve it without having the time to look through it thoroughly… It should have been accepted and the approval should have been tabled until they had the time to see whether they approved it or not… The motion to approve was made by the VM and seconded by Comm.Clottey…It passed 5-0 … Mr Haag after reiterating what the Town Manager said about not finishing until that afternoon and offering up the choice of versions …was advised by the TM to do the condensed version and if anyone had any questions it would be expanded on..which occurred … Mr Haag started with the General Fund Summary and said everything seems to be on track …He spoke of the revenues for communications tax being $30,000 lower than it should be and it would be looked into…He stated revenues for building permits being $19,000 down as well while miscellaneous revenues are up $5,000 due to lien search fees and insurance refunds…The General Fund expenditures “should be $100,000 below budget barring anything unforeseen issues between now and Sept. 30th”..The Power-point stated “Which will more than offset the projected revenue shortfall … The Parking Transfer Fund is running pretty tight according to Haag and he said they would talk transfer from Parking Fund to the General Fund later or could stop and address it..The TM spoke about the ad valorem and the record number of appeals on properties …They just now received 2009 figures from the property appraiser which amounted to $84,000 deducted from our ad valorem taxes this year and late last year and they are now doing the 2010 appeals which will amount to more deductions to come for what we can collect…She went on  state the Town is allowed to only budget to 95% on potential revenues and that is what keeps us from experiencing a problem when those appeals are granted… Mr. Haag stated that General Fund revenues were just about the same this year as last at the mid-year point 73% this yr vs 75% last year… The total General Fund budget is about $10.1 million … He asked for any questions on the General Fund and received no response from the Commission…

The Police Forfeiture Fund had some good news in picking up an additional $9,600 and has a budgeted amount of $37,000 of which the Chief  will be requesting $28,900 per New Business agenda item 17a  for 2 security cameras and a traffic citation writing machine …He added in summary the LETF has a $200,000 balance right now…

The Sewer Fund Mr Haag stated “This gets a little bit more complicated. It’s been a big discussion for several months”…He went on to say “where we stand  at this point …at the mid point of the year is at the break even point”…He said it was due to the $81,400 credit issued from Pompano Beach to the Town for the SRClub mistakes (SRClub was charged from the time it was finished with construction as a commercial property rather than a residential one…statute of limitations only allowed the Town to recoup 4 yrs. or billing errors and the Comm. previously voted to retain that credit due to the Town paying over and beyond what the actual charges should have been to SRC for many years due to a behind the doors decision made by a select few that came to light with this new administration/commission..prev. posts)… He continued on to say from a revenue standpoint we are just now starting to see the impact of the rate increase passed and collections that began with the March 2011 billing..monitoring that increase will continue going forward…He also stated we no longer have revenues from SRC as part of the revenue stream ..(VM Dodd spoke about this later on…I believe Mr Haag’s point was that interest we may have received for however long the Town held onto the SRC monies after Fort Lauderdale dispersed them to the Town before the Town turned them plus whatever additional monies were added to pay the Pompano Beach bill)… He went on to say on the expenditure side that $81,400 credit was reflected as an expenditure because it was credited to our Master Sewer acct. with Pompano Beach….He added that the Commission made the decision that SRC would now be billed directly from Pompano Beach …(should have begun this month) …He said the increase in the Master Sewer rate came in as projected and added that the TM and Asst. TM were “pretty prophetic” in what they planned for 15% as the fixed charge came in at 13% /volume charge 14%… He said the “Good news” was “all things taken into consideration in terms of the eventual impact of rate increase revenues still should exceed budget”…He said that should meet the Commissioners goal to build or rebuild some of those reserves for future capital repairs and /or replacement…The Town Manager chimed in to say the reason the revenue will exceed budget is due to last summers decision to budget a small amount to come in from the rate increase as well as the Commissions decision to do the rate increase “in one fell swoop” …She said we will see more revenue and that will build up the reserve to do repairs and replacement ..No dollar amount was shown or asked about as well as no discussion on where we are as far as knowing the full extent of  what will be required and when .. (such as full replacement of sewers and/or relining existing sewers…something that this writer thinks was lost due to the Master Plan revision morphing into a full-out redevelopment of the Town…far more than preserving and enhancing) …

The Fire Fund Mr Haag said was also tracking close to what it had the previous year  with 86.2% this yr vs 87% last year in revenues… The expenditures are below budget because they have not made any transfers yet for vehicle /equipment reserve (power-point said they are budgeted at $47,000) but 50% of it will be done in April (this meeting was held on April 27th) with the remainder in late summer which is typical…At this point Haag stated they did not anticipate any problems …

The Parking Fund … Mr Haag said “Near and dear to all of us” ..(Hmmm… all of whom?) … He said there was “alot going on here”… This fund’s current year and last year were “very, very close”.. “The one glaring exception is on the parking fines due to a delay in the payment process” with the California vendor…He said they were trying to schedule a conference call with them to find out why there have been so many delays in getting the monies in… The TM quickly added that we know thew amount they owe us and we’ll be fine with that amount of revenue coming in… Haag concurred and went on to talk of the number of changes made including reprogramming the business district meters to be $1.25 and hr. from $1  which will generate $25,000 this year …He said we actually budgeted $67,000 and that will come from a combination of revenue streams …the business district meter rate increases…and tonight’s agenda item to increase other rates bringing in an additional $22,000 in revenues as well as the pay stations now being used which have brought other towns 20-30% revenue increases …We have conservatively estimated a 10% increase from them for the balance of the fiscal year to bring in $23,000 in revenues…He said expenditures would be a little bit under at this point but overall revenues should be very close or maybe a little bit over budget… maybe even $10,000 over … Next up was the Parking Fund Transfer portion of the equation not discussed during the General Fund Summary …On this point Mr. Haag said it was up to the Commission to decide whether to make the full transfer into the General Fund from the Parking Fund …Not doing so would build up the parking reserves and to some extent this would be an option barring any issues arising in the General Fund this summer that would necessitate that transfer going through as it has in the past… The TM said the full amount budgeted for the transfer was $200,000 and if they could keep expenses below what was budgeted in the General Fund that money could be used for improvements such as more pay stations and parking lot configurations that they think need to be done to make them more efficient…

The Mayor acknowledged Comm. Sasser who asked Mr. Haag to go back to bullet points concerning the reprogramming and the adopted increases on the agenda and confirm they were both for a combined revenue for this fiscal year..Haag confirmed they were  and the TM added they were as well explaining that some meters in town were never reprogrammed for the rate increase which were included in the bullets he was referring to… Comm. Sasser asked about a parking lot loan and if he was correct we had one and if it was shown and where it was in the expenditures of the Parking Fund …Haag said he was correct …we do have a parking lot loan and it is shown in expenditures…He stated we pay it quarterly and the last payment to SunTrust Bank was made March 30th 2011 for approx. $47,000 in principal and interest…Comm. Sasser wanted to know how much we own on the loan and the TM stated she had just looked into this due to it coming up before…She said not to hold her to it but it was approx. $1.4 million …Haag thought $1.5 million … The TM added it did have a pre-penalty attached (another Colon pre-penalty loan debacle) …of $102,000 adding that we would cover that with the interest savings over a 2 year period but she said “the issue of whether that’s a smart thing to do right now or not I think is a different discussion and we can have that tonight”… Comm. Sasser said he would like to have it… The Mayor tried to cut him off (seems to be a bad habit of hers these days)…Comm. Sasser said he would yield in a minute and asked what bank the loan was with the TM responded SunTrust…Hearing that Comm. Sasser asked if we had other accounts in SunTrust to which Mr. Haag responded we do…Comm.Sasser said we could then renegotiate or try to renegotiate with them (shades of the last Comm. and no negotiations made by the former TM with SunTrust on the last loan we repaid) … assuming direction to repay the loan is made … Comm. Sasser stated he would ask…The Town Manager said if that decision was made to pay off the loan they could certainly ask… Comm. Sasser said we have the money to pay it off so the discussion should take place … The TM asked if the discussion should be at the Roundtable or now and Comm. Sasser said either and it was up to the Mayor… The Mayor cut in without Comm. Sasser yielding and before the Vice Mayor who was next spoke …She asked as a point of information if this was a proprietary fund and if that was correct were the payments of this loan coming from the revenues in the parking fund …Before an answer was given the Mayor added they were not “anything from ad valorem taxes comes from or goes to. The parking fund subsidizes the paybacks of that loan is that correct Mr. Haag?’…Mr. Haag first responded correct but quickly added “it’s not a subsidy because it’s a valid parking fund expense so it’s paid from parking revenues.”… The Mayor said “It’s all the payments, the revenues from the parking fund go pay off the parking loan and the interest.”…Haag again said correct..Mayor Minnet said “There isn’t any other taxpayer”…Haag interjected “There is no taxpayer subsidy per say.”..Town Manager Hoffmann injected “It’s not taxpayer money, it’s parking revenue.”… The Mayor said “So if we decide to pay that off do we have the money within the parking fund to pay off that loan?”…The TM was emphatic in her reply “No!”… The Mayor reiterated “No, so where would we get the  money to pay off the loan. We do have it but how would we, would we have to borrow that? How would we do that?”… Mr. Haag said we could borrow it and said there were a couple of different options … he said “Obviously there’s funds available.”…He said the General Fund or possibly the Capital Fund…The TM said it would be “inappropriate fro m the Capital fund though”…The Mayor said “That’s my question. Can we borrow from that capital or General Fund to pay off a proprietary fund such as the parking fund?”..Mr Haag responded “If the Commission so desired it would be possible to borrow from the General Fund.”…The Mayor “But currently the parking fund is able to pay the interest and the money generated and show a positive cash flow, correct?”… Mr Haag again responded correct and added that up to this point the fund was able to transfer additional funds into the General Fund…The Mayor replied “Great! Ok.”… Comm. Sasser asked if he still had the floor… The Mayor did apologize thinking he had yielded…or so she said… Comm. Sasser stated while he understood we are paying for it out of the parking fund we are moving funds out of the parking fund into the General Fund for use in the General Fund…He asked for verification from Mr. Haag… and seeing he had it he continued on to state if we paid off the loan an no longer had that debt service in the parking fund then we would have more funds available to move to the General Fund if we wanted to …Mr. Haag agreed that was a fair assessment and said “In fact that money could then go to repay the loan, the payoff  amount that was subsidized through the General Fund.”… Comm. Sasser finished up by saying “So we would have more money in the General Fund if we wanted to have it.” and then he yielded … Mr Haag  did throw into the mix that in today’s market it is very, very, very difficult for municipalities to borrow money in any way, shape or form and it was something to be considered in terms of a business analysis and if somewhere down the line we wanted to borrow it could be problematic…(This writer would like some research done on municipalities with no debt and surplus cash reserves before taking this one to the bank and not paying off the last debt we have…pun intended) … Vice Mayor Dodd took his bite at the apple to discuss the LETF portion and inform all that according to state statutes 15% of the total LETF must be used in any given year and if we have $200,000 we are under the required use…He told the Chief of the BSO to add onto his request for the year… It was at this point he told Mr. Haag of the problem he had with the SRC analogy of being a revenue stream benefit to the Town due to more going out than coming in after all was said and done… Comm. Vincent tried to ask a question and was cut off by the Mayor for not pushing his button…It was Comm. Clottey’s turn and she asked Mr Haag how many years were left on the parking loan…He was not sure and apologized for not doing his homework on the loan issue…The TM said she thought it was 2020 and the paperwork was on her desk and could be brought in during the break …(it never came …or if it did it was not brought forth)… Comm. Clottey asked if the Town paid the full $200,000 would that trigger the pre-penalty…The TM interjected that what Comm. Clottey was asking about was an extra payment…Mr. Haag said it was standard language and would most likely still produce the penalty payment…The TM asked for them to look at it before giving an opinion…The Mayor chimed in to say it was time to back off and give the staff time to get the answers …Mr. Haag concurred …The Mayor went on to say staff was not sure of these questions..(it appeared to this writer they were sure of the Mayor’s but not Comm.s Sasser and Clottey)… Comm. Vincent said that “Comm. Clottey asked the question with the terms left on it. I’m assuming 8 years, that was a guess with 2020. Considering it’s self funding I’m all for continued pay down of this. Like you said earlier Doug (Haag) with the inability to borrow money these days , not that the town of Lauderdale by the Sea would have any issues. We’re  pretty strong. I think we could probably bargain a good deal but at this point again I think I would rather have cash in the bank. My opinion on that and let the fund let the revenues from the parking fund self fund this for the time being and with that I yield.”… The Mayor asked if there were any more questions for M.r Haag or could he proceed with the presentation?… The Town Manager said he was actually done… and then made the statement “The bottom line is that the budget’s pretty much right on target when you look at it holistically.”… Mr. Haag again stated the hard copy detailed report would be in the Commissioner’s in box the next day …The TM said the next time they would receive a report like this would be the first of July as they prepare for the new budget… The Mayor ended the Finance Report discussion by saying that due to the questions asked the parking fund loan should be on the next Roundtable per Comm. Sasser’s request…

BC- Before that meeting the Commission should ask for figures… What the cost is of the interest and what is the difference between it and the abysmal rate we are getting by putting that same $1.5 million into a couple of CDs as stated in the TM Report to be posted next…(An avid reader pointed this out to this writer)… Also of course is the questions Comm. Sasser so rightly and aptly put forth …

Also of note…If the Acting Finance Director is correct in his statement of no monies for municipalities anytime soon in any way shape or form …again I ask why have we gone so far off the reservation with the Master Plan Redevelopment of this Town?… These statements made further add fuel to the fire as far as I as a taxpayer am concerned that the referendum items for the redevelopment big ticket items must be on the March 2012 ballot for voters to decide on whether to have bonds which would definitely be required after we burn through the 8-9 million that seems destined to be spent sooner rather than later from the looks of it…

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … The April 27, 2011 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Regular Commission Meeting … #1 ..

April 28, 2011 by Barbara

SHORT END OF THE WISH? ….

Dear Readers … The BCbythesea daughter is again in Scotland doing research and Lilly is walking holding one of Nana’s fingers more as a security blanket than out of need …so needless to say time for watching the Commission meting last evening and posting the full detailed run-thru will happen over the next few days…

Not really sure the Town Chaplain should get so political in the invocation as it they seem to sound of late …but I do agree we should remember “why people vacation here ” and “call it home”…instead of multiple reasons we find wrong…

Public comments … The signage issue brought forth by Alley Oop …looks again like a snafu of aiding a new business…The signage has been discussed and discussed…the speaker has from what I have seen and read had easy access to the Town and has been touted by the Town …So to not know or find out what sign was allowed …Let’s see how this one ends up…. Guy Contrada from Aruba Beach Cafe told the rest of the story that had Comm. Vincent already to accommodate one manager of one hotel by tearing up a median at the roundtable meeting Mon. night (prev. post)… Mr Contrada explained he was under the impression he had straightened it out as he took action as soon as he was made aware of the situation…He said it was unusual and reiterated VM Dodd’s comments made to Comm. Vincent of deliveries being 3 days a week… Arthur Franczak suddenly appearing at each meeting to comment has led to many wondering if he will throw his hat in the ring for the next municipal election as a candidate from the north…He lives in Terra Mar… I recall Mr. Franczak from John Thompson and how much time and effort Mr. Franczak put into going over the Town CAFR looking for where our taxpayer monies were …So needless to say his stance and comments at the podium are not new to this writer….. A woman that lives in Terra Mar spoke ominously of neighbors using code for their own agenda…we have heard this before …seems it is old vs. new with who is in charge… Hopefully this newcomer to the podium will be contacted by development to explain much of what she was asking for is already in place…Edmund Malkoon spoke for the first time in a while …He talked about the long term part of the study…(no one does not want it done at this point, just don’t do it without the votes)… He added needing information on the life of the buildings we have (Town Hall) and the opportunity for selling the public safety building as we build a Town Hall Complex (this writer wrote before it was purchased we didn’t need it ) …He also concurred with this writer and many, many others to go back to 2 commission meetings… Marie Chiarello and her same comments which add up to no referendum …don’t let the people from the south stop the momentum is being seen as the UOT stance which is is loser if they pursue it full force …The voters from the south and Sea Ranch Club decide who wins and loses their seat…They always vote with their pocketbooks…If there are no referendum items for the Town Hall, undergrounding, parking garages on it…If those items are stalled or voted down to be on the ballot I guarantee you those same voters will still vote with their pocketbooks and vote those candidates out for those that will allow them a say or reverse the current Commission’s decision after the March election…No threat is needed just a look at what has happened before and the still shaky financial times the voters are living through… We are not alone… I saw this article on Monday as I sat in the dentist’s office…

‘The retail/hotel/apartment development Addison Park on Clark will transform the corner of Clark and Addison, if it ever gets built.

By Rod O’Connor

“Nobody is going to tell me that’s a great building,” says architect John Lahey, gesturing toward the dilapidated four-story structure above the Salt and Pepper Diner at 3537 North Clark Street. The president of Solomon Cordwell Buenz is making the case for his firm’s design for Addison Park on Clark, the controversial hotel, apartment and retail development planned for the southeast corner of Clark and Addison, across the street from Wrigley Field. When the wrecking ball arrives, which doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon, it will raze this building and at least a half-dozen others. We cross over to Addison Street, where Lahey points out more industrial edifices separated by vacant parking lots. “I remember coming here as a kid in the ’60s when it was a beat-up ballpark in a beat-up neighborhood. And the best thing about it was you could get seats anytime you wanted.”

Times have changed. In those days, no one much cared what was being built in Wrigleyville. But the former working-class enclave started booming in the ’80s, during the Harry Caray era. By the ’90s the neighborhood had morphed into the Bourbon Street of the Midwest, a party zone where flocks of unrestrained bachelorette partyers could throw back $5 cans of Bud at Sluggers alongside Cubbie-crazy suburbanites on an afternoon hall pass. Wrigley Field is now one of the top tourist attractions in Illinois, and real estate in the area sells for a premium. Developer Steven Schultz began snatching up parcels of land in the then-burgeoning entertainment district in the ’80s, eventually purchasing nearly the entire east side of the 3500 block of North Clark and most of the stretch of Addison between Clark and Sheffield. Now, Schultz and his partners hope that will be the footprint for the biggest transformation of the neighborhood since the Friendly Confines opened in 1914.

The plan, approved by 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney and his Community Directed Development Council (a group representing Lakeview neighborhood organizations and business leaders), passed the City Council last summer without dissent. It calls for 135 apartments averaging 835 square feet each with estimated monthly rents of $1,800–$2,000, 137 hotel rooms and more than 145,000 square feet of retail space. M&R Development, the company overseeing the project on behalf of Schultz, touts its many pluses: 500 jobs created; widened sidewalks; an environmentally friendly LEED Silver–certified design; and a much-needed hotel for Cardinals fans and other visitors.

The design has gone through many changes since it was introduced more than three years ago, which Rob Nash, public outreach manager for the project, credits to the more than 30 meetings the development team held with community organizations. In early versions, the hotel tower stood 22 stories tall, dwarfing Wrigley Field; now, the drawings call for the brick- and glass-faced structure to feature an eight-story tower, approximately the same height as the AT&T building immediately to the south. The Clark Street side, originally a monolithic slab, was broken up with what Lahey refers to as “eccentric slots and bays” and differing brick patterns that showcase the individual storefronts. The residents’ requests for parking were granted, to the tune of 399 underground spaces. “I thought they did a good job listening to the community’s concerns,” says Diann Marsalek, president of the Lake View Citizens’ Council.

“The most exciting thing, from a business standpoint, is the hotel. There are very few hotels in an area that has very high tourism,” says Bennett Lawson, deputy alderman for the 44th Ward. Lawson points out that, along with Cubs fans during baseball season, the area’s gay and lesbian events draw a half-million people a few weekends a year.

Still, some residents say the design—even with the changes—resembles a strip mall. Last May, leading up to the City Council vote on June 30, more than 13,000 people signed up for a Facebook page called “People Against the Malling of Wrigleyville.”

“It’s going to stick out like a sore thumb,” says Ken Vangeloff, 49, who has lived a few blocks from Wrigley for 15 years. “What they originally proposed was preposterous. This way, the alderman comes off looking good: ‘Look at how far we made them come down.’ The greatest thing in the world is you have Wrigley Field as the centerpiece of the neighborhood. But you drop this eight-story building down and it’s going to be hideous.”

The fact that Schultz has referenced chain stores such as Best Buy and CVS as potential tenants hasn’t helped change opinions that the project could sap the neighborhood of its diversity and character. (No retailers have been finalized at this point, Nash says.)

“My biggest fear is [the retail portion] winds up being empty,” says Charlie Schmidt, president of the Hawthorne Neighbors, one of four community groups whose areas border the project. “If a Best Buy could work there, more power to ’em. But I don’t know who would go to Best Buy across the street from Cubs Park. I wouldn’t.” Equally distressing to some opponents is the loss of the iconic iO improv theater, Goose Island brewpub and other existing businesses that could be forced out.

For his part, Lahey, the architect, is confused by criticism from some local businesses and residents that his design is somehow “suburbanizing” the neighborhood. “What’s suburban about a building that has retail, that defines the street wall and has high-density residential next to an urban-transit stop? That’s about as un-suburban as you can get,” he says.

But the Cubs could six-peat as World Series champs before a single shovel is lifted. After receiving City Council approval, M&R Development expressed hope to the construction-trade press that it would break ground as early as this spring. But as of press time, no construction permits have been issued and there is no indication that financing has been secured for the estimated $100 million project. One of the conditions from the city is that the developers will not begin demolition until they receive full financing; and once the construction begins it must continue uninterrupted, to minimize the impact on the neighborhood

“I can’t give you an expected start time. But once the process begins, it’s expected to take 18–24 months to complete,” Nash says. “We don’t anticipate a problem [with financing]; we’ve had a great deal of interest. But obviously the financing has to be worked out. And in today’s economy that is more complicated.” Nash also points out that M&R Development—which is leading the hotel and apartment components—has an equity stake in Addison Park on Clark, which speaks to its commitment.

But although Hyatt Corporation is listed as the potential hotel partner on the Addison Park on Clark website, and Nash says Hyatt is still interested in the site, Laurie Cole, Hyatt’s director of corporate communications, says there’s no formal agreement at this point.

And at a recent Wrigley Field Annual Advisory Community Meeting, when an audience member asked Cubs vice president of community affairs Mike Lufrano for an update on the long-stalled Triangle Parcel development on the southeast corner of Clark and Waveland, he compared the Ricketts family’s funding struggles with the Addison Park on Clark project, saying both projects were “in the same boat.”

Deputy alderman Lawson stresses the quiet period is not atypical for a project of this size. What the city has approved is called a Planned Development, which is an envelope for the parcel of land that includes the underlying zoning, fixed height and square footage, and general usage. Putting together the construction documents and navigating the permitting process can easily take more than six months, he says. “There are some specific things [the development team has] to do for this project; for example, the city has to vacate an alley. So while they’re finalizing their construction plan and financing, we don’t hear a lot from them.”

“I don’t think anybody knows anything,” says Charna Halpern, founder and longtime owner of iO, and the project’s most vocal opponent last summer. “I’ve gotten calls from staff at Goose Island and Salt and Pepper asking me [about when the demolition might begin], ‘Do you know if it’s going to be in a year? Am I going to lose my job?’ ” According to Halpern, the contract with her landlord (Schultz) requires she be given at least one year’s notice before having to vacate. She has yet to be notified “and I don’t expect that to happen for a while,” she says. Schultz’s office did not respond to inquiries, but Nash says Schultz typically does not comment on the details of private agreements. (Interestingly, Halpern and Schultz are cousins.)

Nash also stresses it’s incorrect to assume none of the current businesses will return. “The spaces that are designed would accommodate virtually every business that’s currently on the site,” he says. “It’s hard for a business to shut down while construction is going on. But for those that have the interest and the wherewithal, and the space works and the terms work…they would certainly be welcome back to the development.”

With ongoing negotiations likely occurring between existing tenants and Schultz, none of the businesses contacted along Clark Street responded to questions about their plans once—and if—the project moves forward. The only business that has confirmed it won’t return is iO. In past reports, Halpern said she was originally told she was going to be included in the new development, but there are no theater spaces in the current plans. Last summer, Halpern said she had her eye on a new location in Lincoln Square, but she now says she’s looking “anywhere and everywhere.” The only place she will not relocate, she says, is the 44th Ward, where she feels Ald. Tunney could’ve gotten more involved on behalf of the affected businesses.

But others in the neighborhood credit Tunney with helping shepherd a project that could ultimately have a positive impact on the neighborhood—especially on the nearly vacant Addison side. “He’s kept [the developers] on the straight and narrow,” says Schmidt, of the Hawthorne Neighbors. “We’re setting a precedent. [If we’re not careful] Wrigleyville could become a Disneyland here in the Midwest. You have to be very cognizant of the fact that whatever you’re promising could come back to haunt you.”’

http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/12398817/wrigleyville-development

The reports from the public safety providers were met with no questions and no commentary except some lighthearted banter about VFD Chief/Fire Marshal Steve Paine having a twin brother now also on the VFD…Comm. Vincent thanked him for the action taken in closing down the hotels recently (Little Inn Too has been shut down for much of the same violations found at the former Holiday Inn on Pine owned by the same person) ….I disagree with any kudos to the Fire Marshal due to it being his job over the previous year to see the problems far earlier and shut them down then… As far as the BSO report which also had no discussion….on the monthly report that is…earlier in the day the Sentinel online had this …
‘Crime rate down in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

12:59 p.m. EDT, April 27, 2011
sfl-cmdb-lauderdale-by-the-sea-crime-stats
Serious crime in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea decreased over the last year, according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In 2010, 193 serious crimes were reported in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, down from 216 in 2009. The crime rate – or number of crimes reported per 100,000 residents – was 3276, down from 3649 in 2009.

FDLE reported the following crime figures for Lauderdale-By-The-Sea:

Video: Storms, tornadoes rip across the South, killing at least 185

- 0 murders in 2010, 0 in 2009;

- 1 rape, 1 in 2009;

- 6 robberies, 5 in 2009;

- 9 aggravated assaults, 16 in 2009;

- 48 burglaries, 30 in 2009;

- 120 larcenies, 157 in 2009;

- 9 motor vehicle thefts, 7 in 2009;

FDLE reported that 25 percent of the crimes were cleared in 2010.

To search more crime statistics in Broward and Palm Beach counties visit www.sun-sentinel.com/crimestats’

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/lauderdale-by-the-sea/sfl-cmdb-lauderdale-by-the-sea-crime-stats,0,4111154.story

This is where I will stop for now due to time constraints… coming up…the mid-year budget report which was not online before the meeting or turned over to the Commission to prepare for …due it was stated it not being done until yesterday afternoon… The discussion of paying off the$ 1.4 million parking lot debt…The Mayor believes is not necessary … and this writer strongly disagrees ….The TM report which veered off course with the first item on the BSO negotiations .. Way off course ….in this writer’s opinion …but hopefully when addressed again at the May Rountable meeting will be reined in based on timing /recent past such forays into alternative public safety providers and the last municipal election where this very topic was an important component and BSO staying in place was discussed at every stop along the campaign trail … The rest of the TM report needs some air time which I will provide as it was not addressed on the podium ….We had a plethora of 1st /2nd Ordinances and Resolutions passed with little discussion and only one having a public comment made when it was opened up for input… I do hope the Commission read all that was provided and/or were assured by the TM and TAtty. that any addition/deletions were included in the final product …for we have seen in the past such acts as portions not being stricken or items being slipped in… and of course Comm. comments…and new business which was light…

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop .. The April 25, 2011 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Roundtable Public Input Meeting Results …

April 26, 2011 by Barbara

WHEN AN ELEPHANT COMES IN THE ROOM INTRODUCE HIM! …

Dear Readers … as expected by this writer the one hour and fifteen minute Commission Roundtable was a totally unnecessary meeting and watching it was like watching the insufferable Master Plan Steering Committee meetings which more often than not provided nothing but the same regurgitated discussion from most sitting at the table!… Where is the organization in this town from the top down?… Why is no one standing up and reminding all that promises were made for less meetings not more…especially a meeting like this that surely have had the same results with an item added onto the Wednesday April 27th Reg. Commission meeting including the backup of the public input results with the Town Manager’s list of items she felt could easily be removed from the Master Plan …Those items removed barrier island interpretive center/public access to the Intracoastal/Town of LBTS included on neighborhood entry signs and finally parking garages which were deemed a low priority that big ticket item but rose up again in some additional El Mar Drive discussion and reversal decision….. to quash the multi-purpose lane …That was a due to a deja vu El Mar Drive “McIntee  Median Walkways” public comment made by El Mar resident David Nixon quashing the ridiculous Panitsas idea that was MPSC backed  …(see below) …

At least three of the participants … Vice Mayor Dodd/Comm. Sasser and Comm. Clottey stated in the first go-round they needed the actual costs before making any decisions … Mayor Minnet and Comm. Vincent seemed to be putting their fingers up in the air to teeter back and forth on any given item throughout….

I will tell you all right now at this juncture this is shaping up to be those who do not want any referendums on the March ballot due to the past history of March elections and their certainty that the voters will vote no…They want the Commission to make the decision …I am even told by a few that the big ticket items are now off the table so why include them in March …Come on! …That’s until after the election no doubt!… The TM definitely balked last night when the same three Dodd/Sasser/Clottey said a new Town Hall was not a high priority …(17-0 public input results) …She went on to talk about RMA’s Town Square development where the El Prado parking lot is … I have said when asked ….I don’t think anyone in the south end of town gives a hoot about changing the El Prado parking lot into a Town Square anytime soon …It just seems it’s RMA and the Town Manager are enamored with this concept …(as well as 16-1 PI result voters) …The TM did say it cannot be done without parking being at a new Town Hall …She even went on to talk about having UM do renderings when Comm. Vincent asked if we have any.. Michael Arker introduced them in 2005 as previously posted and as all those at the table are well aware of…The TM also spoke of other land that could be back on the tax roll if we build a new Town Hall ..Comm. Vincent fell for that one saying “if we could recoup money”..and then paraphrasing what the TM said…The Mayor waffling said “will be a priority? …Not until we have costs.”… … So it is definitely not off the table!

I still believe that after we get the RMA and UM reports which will include such major redevelopment and more it should be the voters who decide how and if we fund them … No doubt it will also be the north vs the south once again with what I’m hearing…Candidates who do not support the voters deciding will most likely be the losers at the polls…Remember the last elections …with those who were friendly with opponents and even had their signs in their yards…only to vote the opposite way … It will be the same this time around…

What needs to happen asap is for the Town Manager to direct the Town Clerk and the Town Atty. to contact the Broward Supervisor of Elections and bring to the Commission the timeline and steps necessary to be ready to put those items on the ballot in March … Any delay in doing this will speak volumes and dredge up past such actions we witnessed from previous administrations…

At the meeting public comments were made by three residents out of a room of approximately a dozen attending I am told… First up was David Nixon who spoke positively about the planning meetings but took issue with the multi-purpose lane as stated above… He said he called FDOT to get their professional opinion about such a lane and found they had a division for pedestrian and bicycle safety…He told them of the Commission’s decision for a multi-purpose lane on El Mar Drive and they pulled up Google Map as they responded after a long pause …He said they felt it was not only dangerous but a “disaster waiting to happen”..He said they had a saying “don’t mix heels with wheels”…They went on to reiterate what has been brought up before when the “McIntee Median Walkways” were in play…the puzzle pieces of crossing traffic to abide by the multi-purpose lane just would have been the case for the walkways in the medians…(sound familiar?) … He asked them for ideas and they said widen the sidewalks …make that change and go from there…He ended by talking of it being very expensive for the town when a personal injury attorney makes the same inquiry he did on behalf of his client… Nance Nixon also spoke about attending all the meetings and the multi-purpose lane she does not want …She held up sheets of comments and input she took to all the residents and hoteliers …She had most of them to turn over and would provide the rest of what the stakeholders want El Mar Drive to look like … Arthur Franczak a resident of Terra Mar and Manager for the Shore Haven Resort Inn spoke about lowering taxes the impact the Master Plan redevelopment decisions will have on the taxpayers…He asked about revenues vs. the impact ..He used the Bougainvilla Parking Lot and the Comm. Blvd. Pavilion as examples and also spoke of the maintenance costs involved in projects but never costed out in the decision making process …(The TM said they will look into that later in the meeting) … He spoke of wanting a lean government not a bloated one and letting him keep his money for he will spend it better… The Manager of the Driftwood came forward once again to complain about parking on El Mar Drive and delivery trucks.. (This was addressed at length later in the meeting…but how long has she been Manager there…it’s a commercial area after all…) …

I knew we were headed down that old familiar path when Mayor Minnet spoke of why this meeting was called …She actually stated what I did on this site when I came back to write in December almost verbatim!… She said low attendance to all these meetings could be people are happy, apathetic or against it… She spoke of the charette on May 21st with UM and how that one is most important to attend …She then went into election- mode picking up pieces of what was said here and there …stating it “is important we move forward with a plan that is consistent”…then adding “not spending the taxpayers money” onto the tail end of her reasons for doing all this… She asked for recommendations to be sent to all Commissioners and the Town …She went on to thank all those that attended and said there was “great energy”..

Commissioner Sasser tried but failed to nip this meeting in the bud by asking if there was “any structure” or was this going to be open discussion …He said “what are we trying to do?”… The Mayor responded “What is the Master Plan?”..She said are we “taking it as a whole?”..”I don’t think so.”…She said this was the time to decide what items they wanted to move forward on and those they did not…

Comm. Sasser stated he agreed with Arthur (Franczak) that they can’t make decisions without the financial component …and that there was not alot of difference between the Master Plan from 2005 and the one they have today…

The TM added she thought the maintenance costs were a “good point”…She said “My mantra is focus”..She said they had so many projects and some have no support and they should be dropped…

The Mayor chimed in about the Interpretive Center and said just drop it..the priority is drainage (residential storm drainage  21-0)and signage  (actually results were for El Prado Park signage 22-1/residential signage 12-11 w/ 1 “don’t care” )..

Comm. Sasser continued on to say what we are really discussing is alot more conceptual…the hotels and structures…

The Mayor spoke of items that could be addressed by ordinances and P & Z process and that won’t cost us money…(really?) …

Comm. Vincent said “the meetings were phenomenal” and went on to talk about the reason they were there was to resolve the issues for Driftwood ..(Huh?) … He spoke of the multi-purpose lane and said he too heard about the legality of that (David Nixon later brought back up to the podium by Comm. Vincent said there was no illegality) …He too followed the Mayor by going all over the place acknowledging Arthur (Franczak) and how much this is gonna cost as well stating there was alot of things they needed to do as a commission …

Comm. Clottey also said the multi-purpose lane was dangerous (she needs to speak into the mike) …and any El Mar Drive improvements need to include the people who live on El Mar Drive to have a say..She said she can’t make any decisions on anything without a cost and people don’t want an increase in taxes…

Vice Mayor Dodd thanked the participants and said this was a wonderful report …absolutely terrific …(wouldn’t have gone that far with results from only 35 participants) … He too stated as he has from the start on the undergrounding project that the real costs need to be shown before any decisions to see what burden will come to those who will be required to fund it and hook up to it…He said he didn’t want to redesign it and then dig it up again… He again stated let the people decide if they want it and how to fund it …He didn’t want to get into the “nitty gritty” of what they discard until after they got the reports back..then prioritize…

Comm. Sasser said “El Mar’s not even on here and we’re talking El Mar!”…

The TM said she had no disagreement on anything she was hearing and asked if there was anything else they could drop…

The Mayor stated they were all agreeing and expounded “This event was to drop items off the list”…”on or off”…”focus in and identify.”…

The TM said “At least the Barrier Island Interpretive Center (16-5 public input results) and public access into the Intracoastal”.. (8-6 PI results)

Comm. Sasser began by emphatically stating “No, not at this time”…VM Dodd said “No” as well and spoke that public money should not be used for the access…

The TM went on to add to the drop list painting the bike lane on A1A…Comm. Sasser was opposed at this time …VM Dodd opposed …but Mayor Minnet said it should stay on for the UM study of A1A (the item had 8-6 in favor as result of PI mtgs) …Comm. Vincent felt it could be “wonderful”… Comm. Sasser trying hard informed his fellow commissioners that investigating will cost money …and again said it was a no from him…Comm. Vincent countered saying they can wait until after the UM report…

Town Manager Hoffmann went ahead and brought forth the designation of a Marine Park (5-4 PI results) …Comm. Sasser immediately continued on with his mantra of the evening “No at this time.”… Comm. Clottey asked about how this fir in with the reef project and was told they were separate issues …The TM said the underwater marine park designation required “going to the Feds”…and it was a long process…Comm. Clottey asked if people from the community could do it and TM Hoffmann told her the Town would need to be involved with the it as well as state and federal levels of government…VM Dodd said he did not want to lose the “vision” and spoke of his long term desire to have other coral reef projects as well as the one under contract to promote tourism …as far as the designation hassle let it come down the line … The Mayor and Comm. Vincent agreed ..

The Town Manager said that was her list of items …

Vice Mayor Dodd said “parking garages” …(13-1 PI results) ..

The Mayor asked “high,medium,low” for priority …

Comm. Sasser replied “low”…The Mayor said “we’re in consensus”…saying it’s not necessary at this time as she went on to talk about the new parking ordinance and utilizing our current surface parking areas better…She asked for any other ideas…

Comm. Vincent asked about aesthetic alleyways…(13-0 PI results) … The Mayor responded the alleyways and portals are important vistas…(maintaining vistas 16-0 PI results) ….She asked about highlighting historical buildings and structure asking if we have any…( actual wording in results question Identify, preserve, protect and highlight historic buildings/structures…12-1 w/3 “don’t care” votes PI results) .. Comm. Sasser  responded it was an “integral part” of the design process…

VM Dodd asked about a 3-story Town Hall Complex being a high priority (17-0 PI results) …Comm. Clottey responded “not at this time” …VM Dodd said he seconded that …This is when the TM went on to talk of other land that could then be put on the tax rolls… Mayor Minnet responded we need to get the costs…Comm. Clottey agreed ….Comm. Vincent chimed in about the possibility to “recoup money”…TM Hoffmann said it would need to done “if we ever want to develop El Prado as a public square”…We would “need to develop Town Hall” …The Mayor said “It’s an important part of the plan, in the future”…Comm. Sasser agreed and said once more put it on referendum …He said let the citizens decide… The Mayor said it it will be a priority but not until we have the costs …This is when Comm. Vincent asked about renderings …and Comm. Clottey said that would cost more …Comm. Sasser said this is part of the high level costs we should get from RMA…not plans …TM Hoffmann sais she would talk to UMiami for renderings…and went on again to speak of RMA’s “strong suggestion” of turning El Prado Parkinginto a square…It should be a part of the UM charette…design cost and the 5 year plan …. The Mayor said that lot is on A1A so UM should include it ….(So don’t fall for Town Hall being off the table  and no need for a referendum on it) …

The Mayor was about to end this portion of the meeting and the TM asked about the residential sheet and the Town being mentioned on neighborhood signage (12-11 w/1 “don’t care”)…The Mayorsaid she didn’t see it as a priority and Com. Sasser agreed…

BC- of note thus far…if you look at the decisions and designations made last night and prior to last night by this commission and the public input results based on 35 people (although most votes don’t add up to 35) …There is no rhyme or reason to most of their decisions…if truly based on this process thus far ….Some low priority designations are on some items with most of the favorable votes …and high priority or pre-emptive decisions such as $30,000 for neighborhood entryway signs were made when the vote was evenly split for and opposed… Hmmmm….

Com. Sasser wanted to address what the Commission heard from the people who spoke at public comments and get the thoughts of his fellow Commissioners referring to 1 lane/ 2 lane El Mar Drive happening after the 2005 Master Plan and the changes made ..He asked if they were willing to answer the question of 2 lanes or 1&1/2 …and then the multi-purpose lane as well..He added “people walk all over anyway”… He said “this core issue needs to be addressed”… The Mayor wanted it clarified what 4 lanes and 2 lanes meant (2 lanes on each side is 4 lanes/ 1 lane on each side is 2 lanes) …  She also spoke of already having both in the south end and north end of El Mar…Comm. Vincent said it’s a must to address it and spoke of taking out a portion of the median by Ham N’Eggs to accommodate the delivery trucks ..”we need to do it”… The Mayor countered him about ordinances that were in place and being updated and Driftwood calling in code… VM Dodd agreed with the Mayor and informed Comm. Vincent that they were really only talking about 3 days a week for deliveries and certain morning hours…so why give up the medians ..He added that Planner Ward said trucks were traffic calming … VM Dodd briefly reminded all the background of the change back to 2 lanes each side and how going to 1 &1/2 lanes or 16 feet would take away special event parking in town… From the looks of it someone in the audience disagreed with the Vice Mayor and he wasn’t backing down on this point…The Mayor chimed in to say if you eliminate El Mar parking for events we would need a parking garage (not off the table) … Comm. Clottey went back to the bike lane being on the right side of the road (David Nixon stated in his comments that FDOT said drivers look to the right for bikers) …she stated it was dangerous with backout parking and perhaps they should ride in the middle of the road…(yikes!) … Comm. Sasser responded to Clottey “where do bikers go today?”…

The Mayor spoke of  “Focus”… “key decisions” …and the Commission was “elected to make these decisions”…She asked if they were going to stay with the decisions they make or go back and forth?…She asked if it was 2 lanes on each side or change it?.. Comm. Vincent said “it’s  been drafted up Here”…He said it was a single lane by High Noon and both the Mayor and VM countered him that he was incorrect….and you can go around the trucks there…Comm.Vincent still wanted to take out the median saying it was not a “big issue”… The Mayor asked about designating areas for loading and unloading for deliveries only…The Vice Mayor said we would lose parking revenue as Comm. Vincent balked…The VM informed him deliveries are made on Tues./Thur. & Sat. morning when breakfast crowd comes…

The TM said “The elephant in the room is delivery trucks”… Comm. Sasser chuckled and said “There’s two elephants in the room…go from 2 lanes either side and lose parking”… Comm. Vincent said “Mr. Nixon disagreed”..(That must have been who commented while the VM was speaking).. Comm. Vincent asked for Mr. Nixon to be allowed to speak again and the Mayor grudgingly allowed it … David Nixon said he didn’t want to confuse multi-lane with 2 lanes ..He wants the sidewalks widened to 8-10 ft…and as far as 2 lanes-1 lane he’s “agnostic” on it …just no multipurpose lane..The Mayor did not think the Commission made a decision on the multi-purpose lane and was quickly advised they had..Mr Nixon continued to join in the discussion from the podium and the Mayor clearly unhappy stopped him and said this is exactly what she did not want to happen (by allowing him back up) … VM Dodd responded once again it was a safety issue of the width…The Mayor still tried to stick to her interpretation of the prior vote on the multi-purpose lane …Comm. Vincent joined her in not correctly recalling their vote by stating it would be multi-purpose as needed …(still it would be marked and a multi-purpose lane) …The TM stated it will be 2 travel lanes and 1 will be used for parking…The Mayor added “no multi-purpose”… The TM said “Here’s where we’re at now 2 lanes, no multi-purpose lane, special event parking, 8 foot sidewalks”.. VM Dodd said not if it curt into the medians to allow for 8 foot sidewalks …Comm. Vincent went gunning for the VM not understanding which medians the VM was talking about… The TM said there would not be room for a bike lane …and they would widen the sidewalks using some of the swale area available and deal with delivery issues…

BC- after all of the MPSC meetings and all of the Commission discussions and votes …it was decided as all at the table agreed El Mar Drive would remain 2 lanes! … Government at it’s finest!… All those hours of staff time…boards/committees …attorneys …consultant$…to come full circle to what we have now…….pricele$$! …

VM Dodd added on wine bars to the agenda which he previously proposed as an allowed business and is to addressed in a 2nd reading ordinance tomorrow night…The TAtty. found that beer must also be allowed at wine bars..The TAtty. said if the category was extended it could be readdressed …After some discussion with Comm. Sasser opposed to spending time on it ..it was agreed to bring it back as a separate ordinance discussion at a future roundtable meeting…

With that they adjourned…

More to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Pre- Decision Making At The April 25, 2011 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Commission Roundtable Meeting Tonight …. Hold Still …

April 24, 2011 by Barbara

MAKING MASTER PLAN CHANGES IN LBTS ….

“Five, four, three, two, one

Hold still, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, stop

Hold still, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, stop
Hold still

Settle down, settle down now
We’re gonna get our wiggles out
Get our wiggles out
Come on, let’s play this game
Here we go

Hold still, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, stop

Hold still, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, stop
Hold still

Settle, settle down, settle down now
We got all the wiggles out
Now it’s time to settle down
Settle, settle down, settle down now

We got all the wiggles out
Got all the wiggles out
It’s time to settle down
Hold still”

Credits :
songwriters: deibert, adam
© tunes by nickelodeon inc.
Link to video… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLSpXaokFkc

Dear Readers … I am still avoiding posting part 3 of the April 12, 2011 LBTS Roundtable much like avoidance of doing a term paper you know is due but you just don’t want to do it… I think because as much as I found Ms. Ward a refreshing change from listening to the now former consultant /former Town Planner Walter Keller ..(the Comm. directed the TM to give him his walking papers at that meeting after listening to the Ward presentation which acknowledged some longtime assertions by many that the Town codes and the Town Charter are not in sync) … much of what she discussed was redundant .. Much of what she said we might have happen is already in place…such as single family homes in the hotel/motel district …townhomes next to single family homes … mixed-use in the business district…citing Broward County’s Flex requirement which comes with a quota I believe …which leads this writer to think perhaps some Comp. plan requirements may have been brushed aside for as long as possible to avoid those quotas being imposed on us sooner rather than later ….. Planner Ward did a repeat presentation for the P & Z last Wed. night with as expected no one in the audience in Jarvis Hall and only 4 board members plus a Town Atty. as well as the development secretary Colleen, former Development Dir. Jeff Bowman and Acting Development Dir., Asst. TM Bud Bentley who I am told left the meeting early on …. I caught the last part of a few questions and answers from the members due to it being my daughter’s birthday and have yet to watch the video online of what I missed …Thus furthering the avoidance in writing both up…

Now for picture…lyrics and video above….Yogabbagabba is Lilly’s favorite show to watch and learn from … I felt the song was perfect for the Commission to watch and learn from before they sit down at the Roundtable meeting tonight and make any definitive decisions on the Master Plan results from the Public Input meetings based on 35 participants ….

Originally when my daughter introduced me to Lilly’s favorite show I wondered how can a throwback to the 80’s with its cast of characters and music be such a hit in 2011 … It’s because it appeals to not only to the parents of those little ones watching but to their grandparents…It brings forth a familiarity that encompasses them all … Much like our small unique seaside town set between two larger seaside cities … A place where there are so many accessible portals offering entry to the beach  … A place that has a historic pier and a popular must-visit restaurant right on the widest beach in Broward County that offers tourists and locals alike that unequivocal feel of familiarity …With Aruba Beach Cafe and Anglin’s Fishing Pier (definitely not “shoddy”) in place the only thing required at the most eastern destination point of LBTS  is still what was discussed at the start of any capital improvements in town over the last few years ….wider sidewalks with a deeper turn-around lane in front of  the Commercial Beach Pavilion …Easier access for pedestrians to the pavilion from the Aruba Beach Cafe side …fewer parking spaces that are parallel rather than backout…removal or modification of the existing medians to ensure some buffer remains and the correct drainage to prevent Lake Colon from rising up … This is what should have been ready to go right now as this season ends in LBTS… This should have been the contained size project that could have shown all of us what how a well executed project is done from beginning to end in this town… Something we have not seen before …. Unfortunately, it has been shoved aside as this Master Plan “revision” has escalated to big ticket items and what appears to be a full-scale redevelopment of the entire town …with a list of consultants with ties to Pompano Beach, Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale along with those who feel it is 2005 and it’s back to full- speed ahead with making us look like every other town that has been redeveloped over the last decade in Florida … When is the last time you stopped at a 4-way stoplight and did not see the same stores or gas stations in the same style buildings at each corner making one town indistinguishable from another?….

I have written before why I moved to this town from Pompano Beach after living there for 8 years on an Intracoastal point lot over 12 years ago …It was great to look out at the Intracoastal but to go anywhere in Pompano Beach we had to get in the car and drive on Federal Highway….From the moment we bought in LBTS  I felt like I was on vacation each and every day …with Mack’s Groves ….being able to walk into town… eat at Aruba Beach Cafe as well as the other local restaurants ….walk onto the pier …feeling what the tourists feel  ….Pompano Beach is not who I want to emulate in redevelopment…They failed the last go round …The big plans failed … (the plans I have seen and heard for this new PB redevelopment plan sound a lot like plans I heard the last time) … Fort Lauderdale saw some of major draws take a nose dive … Delray Beach while I like to visit there has a millage rate that is almost double what we have maintained in LBTS …. So there has to be another way…there just has to be… Somewhere between “piecemeal” and massive redevelopment…

I was and still am interested in knowing where we left off with out CRA when it was quashed … I was and still am interested in getting those involved back to the table to see what they offer up… I was and still am for an economic development committee to update what has changed since 2005  …But I want the voters to decide in March what we do as a result if the consensus is to redevelop beyond our means requiring either bonds or loans  ..

I do not want government running health care …I do not want government running banks…I do not want government running the automobile industry … So why would I want my local government to be running redevelopment of businesses in my town in a partnership that uses taxpayer money? …  I still believe the only incentives that local government should offer is to get rid of all the red tape and make it easier for private businesses to succeed through the oft-mentioned fast-tracking of permits and less costly permit fees …. I felt the full parking exemption would be such an incentive … but instead the Town took a left-turn into our local government needing to own parking garages… and buying more property to do so …The first such acquisition attempt post the parking exemption- lite plan that was finally approved failed to garner any Commission directive to proceed at the Roundtable only after monies were spent for two appraisals etc … According to the backup for that agenda item the Town is allowed to spend up to $30,000 per the purchasing manual on each such acquisition without Commission approval in order to not tip their hand in bidding on a property…The amount spent for the apartment building appraisals etc…on Bougainvilla was not disclosed or asked about at that time or contained in the backup … I as a taxpayer don’t want to go into a partnership with a developer who can simply walk away as we have seen so many do …

What do we want LBTS to look like?… It’s a question asked by the consultants and the Administration… For that answer from this writer…it’s simple… just take another look at the downtown “core” anchors  that make us the tourist destination we are … Aruba Beach Cafe and Anglin’s Pier then follow-up that coastal style going west on Commercial toward the Intracoastal and north and south on El Mar Drive in the business district “Town Square”… It keeps this “historic” component to the town in check with what drew most of us here in the first place …. (undergrounding the utilities needs to be a referendum item ) ….A quick look at the difference between Mack’s Groves and Wings shows what not to do…

Whether it’s Chicago, Philadelphia or Williamsburg Va…. the historic “core” districts are preserved and enhanced while areas that surround them are different but complimentary in there redevelopment and new development … They are differing components that make up”urban living”… This was a topic Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk discussed when she first came to the MPSC to talk about LBTS and urban planning  … She spoke of hi-rises and low-rises and how they fit together… We see that here with hi-rises in the north ..north of Pine and south …south of Palm …as well as Oriana…and Minto … along with hotel updating and redevelopment such as High Noon, Sea Lord  and the Away Inn among others…..They can fit together well for the future of this town as long as the historic “core” downtown district is kept intact…as a destination worth coming to and living by …

As I was writing this I was listening to Meet The Press…Andrew Sullivan a commentator was speaking about an upcoming visit to Oxford..He said he was told he would be staying in the new buildings and was quite upset thinking he would be in some awful prefab structure…He called to complain about the accommodations in the new building only to be told “don’t worry the new buildings were built in 1791!”… Perfect timing …

So a word to the wise ……

“Hold still, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, go

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, stop

Hold still”

…until you get the reports from the University of Miami, the RMA 5 year financial plan and receive the RFPs for undergrounding the utilities… Then prepare to hear from the voters in March with or without a referendum…  although those who want another term in office will make sure it is with…

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Flashback To Hapimag … Land Swaps and Redevelopment In Lauderdale-By-The-Sea …

April 23, 2011 by Barbara

WHY A MARCH 2012 REFERENDUM IS A MUST ….

RMA rendering of Town Plaza Redevelopment at LBTS presentation April 5, 2011….

Dear Readers …as we face yet another meeting to discuss the Master Plan and redevelopment in LBTS on Monday night (April 25, 2011 6:30 pm) …prev. post) ..this writer was reminded and has informed some of those now in charge who were unaware of the not so distant past of where the parking originally was located for the beach east of Town Hall… A fast Google provided a few tidbits from back then…(see below) … The letter writer in the last Sentinel article was (is?) a member of the CIC who credits their PAC for the Hapimag defeat in their historical summary… Any thoughts of a sitting commission deciding on big ticket redevelopment such as a new Town Hall Complex which would include changing the current El Prado Parking lot to a Town Square … parking garages …and underground utilities on El Mar Drive without the voters having a say can kiss their future goodbye…
Remember the original text written by George Santayana, who, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” …and in LBTS that means at the March Municipal elections! …

Sentinel articles…

Sales history

“N/A on Oct. 1, 2009 / New Construction New Construction
B: Vbs Condominium Assn Inc
S: Minto Villas By The Sea Llc
N/A on July 30, 2007 / New Construction New Construction
B: Minto Villas By The Sea Llc
S: Minto Communities Llc
Price reflects a multiple-parcel transaction.
$14,500,000 on Dec. 22, 2003
B: Village By The Sea Dev Llc
S: Hapimag Vacations Corp
Price reflects a multiple-parcel transaction.
$1,000 on May 16, 2001 / ForeclosureForeclosure
B: Hapimag Vacations Corp
S: Broward County Circuit Court, Glenn H Friedt
Price reflects a multiple-parcel transaction.
N/A on April 10, 2001
B: Vsp Partnership Ltd, Lbts Partnership Ltd
S: Cambridge Resort Group Llc
Price reflects a multiple-parcel transaction.”
………………
“`Dream’ Project Gets Dose Of Reality
November 26, 1999|By LANE KELLEY Staff Writer

The March vote will be essentially a vote to take another vote should Hapimag continue to push the project. That’s probably a long shot, considering that the Swiss company already has started pulling back from the project.

The company redrew its plans after a wave of protest in July. Town Manager Bob Baldwin, who originally called the project a “millennium event,” said Hapimag officials told him in October that they would get back to him, but gave no date.

Hapimag’s attorney for the project, Debbie Orshefsky of Fort Lauderdale, said a new chief executive at the company’s Swiss headquarters has put the project in limbo.

“It’s kind of sitting there,” Orshefsky said.

However, Parker isn’t ready to declare victory yet. He says there is even a way he could support the project: if it abides by height restrictions and doesn’t require a land swap with the city. That would require Hapimag to go back to the drawing board and design a totally different project.

FOR THE RECORD – UNPUBLISHED CORRECTION
The sizes of the building and the land regarding the El Prado project in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea were wrong in an election story in Community News on Feb. 27 on page 10. Although the project initially was slated to be 70 feet high, or seven stories tall, it was modified to 44 feet. Also, the project is about two acres.
We regret the errors.”
………………..
“Beachfront Land Deal Making Waves
Dispute Brews In Resort Town
November 13, 2001|By Karla D. Shores Staff Writer

Growing discord in this breezy resort town is becoming more tangled than the seaweed that washes ashore.

From now until next spring, residents, city leaders and lawyers will throw themselves into spats over semantics, platting histories and, simply, the value of a nice ocean view.

The argument centers on a plan for a Swiss vacation club to swap 1.95 acres it owns for 1.3 acres of prime beachfront now used by the city as a street and for parking.

The company, named Hapimag, wants to build a $24 million project of four upscale suite hotels on an area off State Road A1A just north of Commercial Boulevard, known as El Prado.

Some, including the mayor, want the swap. Others don’t because they think their low-rise community’s open view of the sea will be blocked by the three- and four-story buildings.”
……………….
“Hotel Firm Backs Off Resort
Ocean View To Remain For Now
December 18, 2001|By Karla D. Shores Staff Writer

Residents fighting to keep El Prado an untouched vista from State Road A1A to the ocean will get what they want, for now.

The Swiss hotel company that had plans to build a members-only five-star beach resort off State Road A1A just north of Commercial Boulevard decided last week to pull out of the deal.

The company, named Hapimag, has worked with the town for two years to build a $24 million project of four upscale suite hotels on the area known as El Prado.

Now the company is holding back for several reasons, including a slump in the tourism industry, said Hapimag attorney Debbie Orshefsky.

Hapimag executives also want to re-evaluate the project before moving on, Orshefsky said. She shared no specifics but said Hapimag plans to come back to the town with a new request early next year”
………….
“Don’t Let Developer Write Regulations
January 03, 2002

Re “Hotel firm backs off resort in Lauderdale by the Sea,” (Dec. 18): Hapimag will be back and it may decide to live without the land swap. However, they also want to rewrite our zoning regulations relative to height and density regulations, thereby doubling the number of units currently allowed per acre and increasing the current height limitation.

Recent history teaches us that when the citizens object to what the mayor and commissioners want, scare tactics are subtly introduced. First, vote for this building height limit charter amendment or you will have 15-story hotels all along the beach. Then: If we don’t annex the Intracoastal/beach area, Fort Lauderdale will annex us. Now, the latest: If we don’t give Hapimag what it wants, they will sell the land. Would you rather have Hapimag or — (Fill in the blank with your worst nightmare)?

The fact of the matter is that with or without the land swap, if we allow the height and density changes and grant the variances, Hapimag could then sell the land to whomever they want, recoup their architectural and legal fees, and still return to Switzerland with a hefty profit. The reality of this possibility is evidenced by Hapimag’s refusal to give the town a guarantee that they will, in fact, build the planned resort on the land.

Applying for zoning variances is one thing, but rewriting our zoning regulations and thereby forever altering our height and density restrictions is unacceptable. Hapimag is welcome and encouraged to build a resort in this town — on the land they purchased and in compliance with our current ordinances, codes and regulations.

Diane McSweeney

Lauderdale- By-the-Sea”

……………….

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Concerned Citizens Of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Better Make It their Business To Be In Jarvis Hall On Monday Night April 25, 2011 At 6:30 PM …

April 22, 2011 by Barbara

IT’S TIME TO SPEAK OUT  …

Dear Readers … this writer was planning to to wait to post until Monday…but a look at the Town website yesterday showed that the Roundtable on the Community Input Session (aka resident/citizen input ) results discussed at the Roundtable April 12, 2011 which were supposed to take place on either April 25th or May 9th is now slated for Monday night at 6:30 pm…

“The Town Commission has scheduled a roundtable meeting for 6:30PM on April 25 to review the ideas suggested by residents at the Master Plan Community Input sessions.”

Not only do I find it completely insane to have this meeting the night after Easter and during Passover (the regular commission meeting was changed from Tues. April 26th to Wed. April 27th due to Passover) …But also due to the fact that in the backup provided online  (link below) the Commission is supposed to make decisions based on 35 people out of a town of 7000!… Come on!…

From page 3 of the backup…

“The goal of Monday night’s Roundtable discussion is for the Commission to discuss
whether they wish to make any changes or additions to the Master Plan based on the
input received at the Public Input sessions”

While I was in town I made it my business to attend two of the meetings and as I have told the Administration and several Commissioners among others…the voting was severely skewed by a few of those in attendance with definite ideas of what they want for the future of the town … I have to say once again that as a taxpayer and a voter I am very unhappy with how much time and money has gone into this process thus far only to have it come down to decisions being made based on 35 people and a Master Plan Steering Committee that has now been disbanded …

Once again this should have been a simple revision to the 2004 Master Plan at the present time with perhaps some of the consultants hired to give their input in certain areas with a moratorium put in place for the P & Z and MPSC whle those consultants were doing their reports….especially now that we know from Planner Cecelia Ward that certain codes and our Charter are not in sync (although I do believe some of this was known prior such as the heights in the business district) as well as the fact Ms. Ward stated at that April 12, 2011 Roundtable the following…”A Master Plan is not required. You do not have to do a Master Plan and if you do one you are not required to have certain components.You can basically put anything in to it that you want.”

I guarantee you, this is going to bring forth the opposing PAC factions and the municipal voters as it has in the past especially if decisions are made on Monday night at a meeting that was not publicly disclosed at the time of the previous meeting and based on the participation of 35 people from the community!..

Don’t believe me?… The CIC has been dormant on its website for months with its last meeting in Dec. 2010… As of last week they are dormant no more …

“• Next CIC Meeting – Annual General Meeting to elect Officers and Directors – Sunday, May 15th 2011, 7:00 pm at the Surf Club, 2 Palm Avenue.”

While I deeply respect this Town Manager … I do believe she has not been well informed of the history of this small town when things like this happen …

I believe this information should have been provided to the Commission for the April 27th Regular Commission meeting period! …

I believe until the U of Miami study is completed and turned over to the Town and the RMA 5 year financial report is completed at the beginning of June as well as any RFPs for projects such as undergrounding El Mar Drive…(Which I am told did not need a decision made on whether it should be 2 lanes or 1&1/2 lanes to cost out)  no new Master Plan should be decided upon. If a Master Plan is not required as Ms. Ward stated on April 12th…then we do not need to move ahead on the one we have in place quite yet…

I believe as Vice Mayor Dodd stated at the RMA April 5, 2011 Workshop and Comm. Sasser stated at the April 12, 2011 Special Meeting we need to have referendum items on the ballot at the March 2012 LBTS Municipal election to let the voters decide …. not 35 people and an advisory group …That will be the only way this or any commission could make decisions on the future of this town beginning in March 2012 …leaving months to do projects that were discussed prior to this Master Plan debacle by this Commission at last year’s budget time…drainage…infrastructure…sewers…storm sewers…residential street lighting …

If the meeting is still on for Monday night …concerned citizens of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea better make it their business to be there and speak out…and contact their Commissioners…
Mayor Roseann Minnet
Tel: 954-326-0594
roseannminnet@lbts-fl.gov

Vice Mayor Stuart Dodd
Tel: 954-772-4121
stuartdodd@lbts-fl.gov

Commissioner Birute Ann Clottey
Tel: 954-895-6595
biruteannclottey@lbts-fl.gov

Commissioner Scot Sasser
Tel: 954-254-1743
scotsasser@lbts-fl.gov

Commissioner Chris Vincent
Tel: 954-612-8606
chrisvincent@lbts-fl.gov

http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/town/agendabackupminutesNEW.htm

more to come……….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Under The Midwest Weather … Happy Passover & Happy Easter …

April 20, 2011 by Barbara

THERE’S STILL NO SPRING IN CHICAGO …

Dear Readers … Under the weather .. The Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park was officially turned back on amidst gray skies…and rain and cold temps have continued on in the days that followed…snow..more rain and golf ball size hail …you name it…As a result not only do we suffer from the lack of sunny skies.. and figuring how many layers to pile on if we dare to go outside …but sickness abounds from all around coming from those in various stages of having the common cold …ugh!..

This writer has been on the cusp of being a full fledged recipient …and dodging that bullet ….thus far… I did take the time to watch the presentation to the the Commission from April 12th after dealing with  computer “buffering” issues on the day of …I previously posted that portion would be part 3 of the posts covering that LBTS Roundtable and it will be…but I need some time to ponder just how I want to write it up… Those who missed it can find the backup and the video on the Town’s website  … http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/ … or for some insane reason it can be found in the backup for tonight’s Planning & Zoning Board meeting at 6:30 pm as Planner Cecelia Ward will be making a second presentation to them…The question for me is ….WHY?… The Town should have required the members of this board to either attend or watch the meeting on the 12th or watch the video online afterward… The board should then have been asked to submit any questions they had of Ms. Ward to her… According to the P & Z backup online this is the only item on tonight’s agenda… What a waste of time and money to have staff there as well as the TAtty. …as well as opening the Jarvis Hall for a repeat presentation that most likely will be given to 3 or 4 members with no audience (if previous P & Z meetings are any indicator) …  and due to this being Passover and Easter week …And if that isn’t bad enough … It conflicts with the Open House for the Welcome Center at the LBTS Chamber of Commerce set from 5-7 pm!…  Bad planning indeed!…

This writer will take the weekend to mull over the part 3 post in between birthdays…holidays …dodging germs …and freezing at the first Cubs game I am scheduled to attend this season at Wrigley Field on Sunday according to the weather forecast!…Double ugh!…

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all … & of course ….enjoy and be thankful for sunny .. warm LBTS!…

Easter- By-The-Sea info … http://heresthescooponline.com/

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Happy Birthday Lilly! …

April 17, 2011 by Barbara

Lilly Is One Year Old Today! …

Dear Readers … How fast the time goes when watching the first year pass in the life of your first grandchild! …It hardly seems possible that one year ago this writer watched my daughter give birth to her daughter as this little bundle of joy came into the world with her eyes wide open so full of curiosity that has continued each and every day since … We have all marveled in her as she slept through the night even earlier than her mommy had at 8 weeks old …How she rarely cried or got upset and knew who was who smiling and welcoming each of us in charge of her care …Momma, Dada, Nana and Poppa in a way that made us all comment on it each and every time we saw and felt it…

The milestones zoomed by…From sleeping in the bassinet to the crib as we lowered the mattress from the very top to the very bottom ….From the first bath in the sink the first tub bath sitting with her toys floating all around …. That first real smile that was not just gas ….The first laugh that brings forth the hiccups each and every time….. Sitting up on her own and clapping in short order …. Jumping up and down in her jumper and not caring for the swing at all …Going to Kangaroo Park Playgroup and just waiting to be big enough to get into the bounce house like the “big” kids she watched finally making it in ….. Crawling 1 week before she was 8 months old … Her incredible dexterity and love of locks, hinges, things that open and close and go up and down  …the more intricate the better ….The long attention span that is also so much like her mommy’s was at that age ……Her “Monk” style behavior of knowing when something is out of place from where she had seen it before … Her excitement each time she was being readied to go out for an adventure whether it was a walk by Lake Michigan …a trek downtown …or heading to the malls in the nearby suburbs…We laugh with pride as she takes it all in … from the trees and the sky she looks at them from her car seat window view to her utter delight in finally sitting at the restaurant table in a highchair and sampling all the food … We collectively held our breath as she pulled herself up and began to walk around the furniture and could not believe it when at 11 months old she was standing unassisted while being distracted by her favorite Nickelodeon cartoon show for a full 3-5 minutes … She is just on the cusp of taking those first steps on her own as she celebrates her first birthday … She is an independent soul with definite likes and dislikes and she is not shy about letting us know it with an emphatic shake of her head … Wonder where she gets that from? … She is scrumptious and delightful and makes each day with her a gift that other grandparents told me about….Year 2 with Lilly is guaranteed to be all that and even more!… Happy Birthday Lilly … for today you are a toddler!…

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … April 12, 2011 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Roundtable Meeting … # 2 … Portion Control Required …

April 14, 2011 by Barbara

THEY HAD WAY TOO MUCH ON THEIR PLATE …

Dear Readers … in part two of the April 12, 2011 LBTS Special Meeting/Roundtable this writer will cover the items on the 2 page agenda that came after public comments and item 3a. the presentation by Planner Cecelia Ward (both will be covered in part 3) .. The items 3b-3t… Once again the Commission has way too much on their “plate” leading to the Town Manager’s inclusion of item 3h to put them back on track with what the priorities are leading to “portion control” going forth …(we can only hope…although due to the length and the late hour VM Dodd removed his item 3m calling for the suspension of Roundtables to return to 2 monthly commission meetings…It should still be done with an occasional roundtable as needed in this writer’s opinion) …

Item 3b was the Neighborhood Improvement Program … This one was brought back after the Mayor questioned some of what Terra Mar Island was asking for in their allotted $30,000 (previously set at a roundtable for each “neighborhood”  …see prev. post) … There seems to be some in-fighting going on in their  neighborhood in the north with who wants what and how it’s being asked for from the commission …A real power struggle of old and new board members is what we are being told… It included some back and forth with letters and e-mails and “threats”(?) of political consequences if the votes from the dais don’t add up sooner rather than later…WOW! ….This writer received a copy of some of it from a concerned neighbor in Terra Mar and responded it was similar to what took place in Bel Air and their signage changes for names on their streets ..(see prev. posts) … The Mayor perhaps feeling some of that heat spoke of being “happy to see” this and spoke of Bel Air’s success and the “opportunity to others” to improve their entryways as well..She spoke of Terra Mar’s plans moving forward with the help of staff but ultimately it is the Commission that needs to give final approval… After that the issue went south … Comm. Clottey said it was a “good program” going on to state the Commission should “not get into what each neighborhood wants”..that “it is up to residents in neighborhoods to decide what they want”…if there’s “conflict let the neighbors vote”… The Vice Mayor did state “it is up to us to decide what we’ll fund” …He went on to say he did not think we should pay for security cameras (Terra Mar is asking for them) …He spoke of the backup list of 9 “neighborhoods” identified and the cost of $270,000 to abide by the previously agreed $30,000 per amount for each… Comm. Clottey asked the VM “How are you going to give to one without the other” …She spoke of Silver Shores south and if they wanted security cameras they should have them citing people turning into their neighborhood from Commercial Blvd… Comm. Vincent countered Clottey by stating “I don’t think we need residents monitoring illegal left turns into neighborhoods”…He said that’s why we have law enforcement …He asked about areas that do not have associations and not being able to have what is required according to the backup to get cameras requiring maintenance and insurance …Comm. Clottey stated Bel Air was not a HOA (Homeowners Association) they are a civic -voluntary association …The TAtty. spoke of the funding going only to those who are an association.. Comm. Vincent repeated much of what he had when the plan was first hatched at the previous roundtable concerning the inner works of “neighborhoods” and the half that want something vs the half that doesn’t and dealing with that to give them their list of wants … The Town Manager said this is what the staff will run into and she felt certain items such as security cameras require “some entity who states they will maintain it …otherwise the Town is stuck.”…Vincent continued on with scenarios of “Seven who say yes” and would they be stuck.”..for maintenance and insurance …The TAtty. stated there needed to be some sort of association or taxing district …the need for assurances.. Comm. Vincent said “I will vote for beautification with representation”..He went on to state “I trust our town and planners”…”No gates ,no cameras unless you have an association.”… Comm. Clottey stated the problems of putting together a HOA vs a civic assoc. and that a civic assoc. has the ability to represent …Comm. Vincent wasn’t getting it… Comm. Sasser who lives in Terra Mar wanted to make sure the discussion and the decision was “based on facts” …He spoke of Terra Mar having a decision making board and the costs of the cameras and other items is below the allotted $30,000 which was originally set at $40,000 he pointed out… He spoke of making things “more difficult” by instituting a “program” rather than dealing with “projects”…He agreed with an earlier statement made by Clottey about the Democratic process but again asked Are we making too much out of it?” … He spoke of the”merits vs. complicated programs”…BINGO!… The Mayor said these were “public funds” and asked the TAtty. about the liability on the town..The TAtty. spoke of Terra Mar taking on the obligations to indemnify …The Mayor said that offered protection and the TAtty. said yes …The Mayor spoke of the components again and Comm. Vincent added public funding for “beautification of the entire town” over “5,6,7 years with the Master Plan as a whole”…as well as the Comprehensive Plan…VM Dodd countered this was a “Bureaucratic  elephant!”..Comm. Vincent gunning for the VM once again (again, who’s advising Vincent these days?) … “Who do you want to do this?.. He went off saying “Then don’t fund anything!”… (Many would be happy with that!) … The Mayor tried to sum up what she was hearing from Comm. Sasser and VM Dodd saying they should not have a Neighborhood Program but continue on to be receptive when each neighborhood comes to the Commission for funding… VM Dodd said “You have my vote”… Comm. Clottey said once again the difficulties about HOA vs civic assoc…The TAtty. reiterated that the whatever constituted a neighborhood assoc. could have certain criteria in place such as time in existence and other such qualifiers to make the indemnification worth the paper it is written on… The TM said the only bureaucracy placed was on those items asked for that require continuing service such as gates, cameras and lighting…Comm. Sasser said he disagreed with her …Comm. Vincent countered Comm. Sasser and said Terra Mar is “covered” so “why are we going there?”…”beating a dead horse”… Comm. Clottey spoke of Terra Mar and the votes they seemed to have for this …Comm. Vincent asked after Clottey if someone doesn’t support and the legal challenge that could arise…The TAtty. responded that is the “outer limit” and that’s why you have to be careful before you allow one person to come forward… incentifise beforehand…Comm. Vincent again went there with the Town deciding when an area is ready for beautification and the need to follow a program …The TM said this was being made overcomplicated approve items A-H and if they want items after that (that require servicing & maintenance) the Commission could make the decision…..After the TM said they needed to know what to do about Terra Mar going forth with staff the Mayor  stated the Commission needed to give final approval… but the consensus was go ahead …Although the Mayor said they were done with this item it was not clear in the end but it seems the program will go forth with association requirements etc.. I agree with Comm. Sasser and VM Dodd no set program just project by project …The beautification of an entire area under the Master Plan or Cap. Improvements is a separate issue despite Comm. Vincent “bundling” them together…

The Purchasing Policy Manual was the next item and it is 131 pages noticeably unread by most at this time (too much on their plate) …VM Dodd who made this a priority (it was and is) did have a read through and pointed out one page that contained an addition to keep things more on the up and up with vendors and how they are paid “I have read the manual and I thank you for the wording on page 81.Under no circumstances may known or anticipated annual requirements for commodities and services from a vendor be broken into smaller quantities to circumvent the requirements to use a formal vendor selection process.”..Dodd then asked that the Audit Committee take it on after conferring with its Chair Ben Freeny…The Mayor said that was great and the TM said she would get it to them and it would require a few meetings as well as the informal need of an “ok” to go ahead with putting out an RFP (RFQ not currently in our manual) to allow for professional services of qualifying more than one company which keeps things more competitive and honest in the long run as well as not violating CCNA requirements … She needed the “Commission’s blessing”… She was given both the ok and the blessing from all 5 …It will be used for the architectural firms for the downtown drainage project ….This is a good move as the TM explained and it should keep us from continuing on with past mistakes found by having longtime vendors a little too cozy to the administration according to some… The TAtty. stated the Audit Committee may need the an addition added to their scope of work …an easy fix …as they expand their advisory role with the review of the Policy Manual …

3d. The parking lot expansion…(prev. post) quickly became history with no support coming from the Commission… One public speaker stated it was “putting good money after bad” and this writer agrees completely… Last thing we needed was to purchase more property and to add another million+ to the already overpaid for bad location for parking … Now it’s time to pay off the parking loan which I understand can be accomplished and will save us hundreds of thousands by doing so (no word on whether the previous Finance Dir. at the time Esther Colon had a penalty clause attached to this loan as well)… In the course of long silences and joking about those silences offering the TM the direction she needed (“forget about it!”) …the only waffler was Comm. Vincent who said the staff could continue to “monitor the situation”..”Don’t quash it”… The Mayor reminded them the “name of the game ” going forth was the “Commission needs to set priorities”… The TM responded “not pursuing it”…The Mayor answered “yes”.. (Cost of the appraisals and renderings to date not provided or asked for by anyone at the table)…

3e. Design Direction for El Mar Drive… Yep back again… The Town Manager stated it was required that the Commission decide from the different schemes which one they supported in “order to cost out the project” … continuing on that burying the utilities would is a separate issue.. Comm. Clottey spoke about the 4-lanes and people speaking out alluding to the 2007 4-lane El Mar Drive that changed the planned 2-lanes back to 4 allowing for Oriana to retain 1 lane already in process at that time and making a deal with Minto to retain 4-lanes by giving them studio size apartments for the property undeveloped across from the Town Hall (prev. posts) … With the new MPSC this became an issue once again and the ideas ranged from 1 lane to 1 and 1/2 lanes to 2 lanes one being a “multi-purpose” lane in the inside lane by the medians for walkers/bikes/cars with a different surface…Also in question was the width of the medians ..and the size of the sidewalks… Front and center was endless discussion over bikers being in danger if the bike lane was where it is usually located by the curb akin to tags on hand-held hairdryers alerting people not to use them in the bathtub!… Comm. Clottey further spoke about the swale area stating “it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen”…(Government protecting us at its finest!)… She stated once more as others have including this writer walkers/bikers will still do so in the streets … BINGO! … Comm. Vincent was confused about the July 20th plan asking if it was “null and void” …The TM responded that according to traffic engineer “none of these are out of the questions” …Comm. Clottey wanted the median the same …4 lanes and sidewalks …..Comm. Sasser was confused as well by the rendering showing the median and bike lane and not adding up to the right figure ..The TM  explained the discrepancy and told the Commission they had earlier approved and decided on the July 20th plan and explained the 2ft. “divider” they were confused on was just a drainage area…

From the backup- “At its meeting of July 20, 2010 the Master Plan Steering Committee MPSC recommended the
Commission adopt a revised cross section for El Mar Drive as shown in Exhibit 2 They recommended 6
sidewalks keeping 4 traffic lanes with the interior lanes being 9 wide and functioning as multipurpose
lanes the exterior lanes being 11 in width and burying all utility lines”

Town Manager Hoffmann went on to explain the MPSC then changed the plan as well as the plans being discussed at the Citizen Input sessions and there was an even split in the response… She asked the Commission whether they wanted 4 lanes or 2 lanes … VM Dodd spoke of his daily visits on El Mar Drive with his dogs as well as his attendance throughout this process at MPSC meetings… speakers and input sessions and he was for the multi-purpose lane as well as agreeing with Comm. Clottey on the swale problem and called for re-claiming some of it for green area that would aid in the drainage problem as well… Comm. Sasser asked if the VM was for the Feb 15th plan “sans the bike lane”…VM Dodd said he was for the July 20th plan… The Mayor chimed in about where the walkers would go and Comm. Sasser also stated “wherever they want to.”… Comm. Clottey said she read the comments and agreed with the bike lane being by the medians for safety from “back out parking” …Comm. Sasser questioned the concern although he might agree with it since bike lanes are on the outside on A1A…Comm. Clottey replied that they have a say on El Mar…The Mayor said she was for 4 lanes and saw there was not enough support for 2 …consensus was for the multi-purpose lane… Comm. Sasser was for the July 20th plan as well …The TM spoke of the design consideration possibly extending the sidewalks from 6 to 7 or 8 feet..

3f. The Community Center Participation fees…this one came back due to people coming into Town Hall and wanting alternatives to a yearly fee of $30 and those here for a shorter stay want to be able to use the center as well… The Mayor wanted to further open the doors to be more inclusive…and the TM after some back and forth with the Mayor concerning 2-3 month renters was told to keep it simple..Ultimately the change will allow for 1 class or weekly ..2 months renters allowed free and the costs will be at the Town’s discretion to decide…

3g. and 3g iii had to do with the code enforcement in town and how to take action faster as Comm. Clottey who put on the 1st of these two items stated the reviews for hotels have been dismal on the internet…She went on to talk of branding and how clean-up needs to be done …The Town Manager who put on the second portion spoke of being down one code position with it remaining empty while we dealt with other projects…She further explained that Kim (Williams) was being pulled away for other work such as turtle lighting and the sewers ..We do not have the one and half people we should have dedicated to code …(Ya gotta love government position counts …Where else would a company have one and a half people employed with a straight face?) … She said the Town’s policy is if someone complains we respond…She spoke of needing more resources for more positions and it being brought back at budget time …She also addressed different types of code issues ..The Mayor spoke of the 40-year inspection (for hotels and condos) and Comm. Clottey asked about instituting yearly or 6month inspections and the ball that was dropped with VFD inspection info making its way to the TM…The TAtty. spoke of communication and compliance…Comm. Sasser added the Chamber had informed the Commission (in an e-mail months ago about conditions found by tourists) …and nothing was done …VM Dodd asked for active participation from both the Chamber and the VFD inspecting more often as well as the code department being increased in man(or woman) power… Town Manager Hoffmann responded Jeff Bowman (now code personnel) met with Executive Director Judy Swaggerty at the Chamber and the Town has asked for specific complaints to be given to the Town which would give the Town the ability to see that room in question…The Town also setup with VFD Chief Paine to see problem properties over the next 6-8 weeks..Jeff Bowman corrected one mistake in the report on the hotel closed down …The backup info shows a myriad of problems found and ends with the hotel being closed down until December… No word on if the bank said to be the owner of the property has been contacted…

3h. The Town Manager put this on to discuss the priorities set for her and to try and get a handle on it going forward… unfortunately the Commission seemed to be be loosening that knot on the rope discussed in the previous post…After TM Hoffmann spoke of the priorities set in Nov. she spoke further about the items worked on that were not top priorities and said she was as guilty as the Commission in wanting to get everything done  She said there are too many balls in the air and they need to focus and hone in on priorities as a group more frequently and be strong to state what has to set aside not being on the work plan…With that Comm. Clottey led the way down the path of here we go again …with asking about the BSO contract …The TM replied it starts next Wed. ..Clottey said she was “concerned”…The TM stated it was a standard contract not “line by line” and it would come down to the numbers of personnel and cost (as prev. posted we hear it will not millions as projected in the last election) …Comm. Sasser asked jokingly about the #1 priority of recycling…The TM told him the priorities were not in order of importance and explained what was in the backup with charges etc… The Mayor spoke of the contract with Choice being 3 years and coming up soon as an example …Comm. Sasser said then it “moves down” the list of priorities ..There was consensus on that…Comm. Clottey went further into the abyss by bringing up public bathrooms…wrongly thinking they were put back on…(She brought it up again and had no support)..Comm. Sasser was kind and threw her a bone to say perhaps she was thinking of RMA’s presentation where Chris Brown stated they would come into play when we deal with the El Prado Park/Town Hall project…The TM held firm throughout that public bathrooms were “completely off” the list of priorities… Comm. Sasser asked about the coral reef project and the TM replied she had been in receipt of a forwarded e-mail from them for permits that implied a late May date to get started with the deployment… They all agreed to keep a priority list as the TAtty. suggested a “cover sheet” and to keep track of top priority items..secondary items and even those Comms. asked to be put on that were not priorities…OUCH!… We shall see …we shall see…

3f. Workshop Input dates …the dates picked were either April 26th or May 9th at 6:30 pm depending on VM Dodd’s schedule …public comment will be allowed…

3j. Retention of a second Code Enforcement Special Magistrate … Ther TAtty. explained the use of a second magistrate and the use being when there was either a conflict for the magistrate we have or alternating the two… The cost would be the same according to the Mayor…VM Dodd said yes go ahead and there was consensus to alternate I believe.. The TAtty. felt that offered some benefit to the new magistrate to get familiar with the Town…

3k Resource Recovery Board’s 12th Amendment to the ILA …This deals with tipping fees effective Oct. 1st and the new formula if approved by 51% how it will apply for next fiscal year..It will be on the April 27th agenda …

3l. Revisions to the Parking Code…The Town Manager tried to get this presentation done quickly by Asst. TM Bentley who had a power point presentation set up and said they could “delve into it at a later date”..The Mayor wanted to make sure the portal parking was looked in to after public comments were made about the impact …Bud Bentley went through the backup (available online under the meeting backup & video of meeting) …He touched on the swale parking problems found in front of homes …delinquent payment problems and the Town needing to refund for the snafus… He discussed the “Oceanfront Center ” 2 hour maximum which he said were not enforced and the larger restaurants being divided in whether the time should be extended or not…He needed direction on the hardship use on El Mar Drive (taken away by the previous administration and Comm.) and the use of residential permits being available to residents and not commercial owners or as it has been…The Mayor said those business owners would now need employee permits …Visitors would be allowed visitor permits under new addition proposed but it would not apply to hotel visitors only residential… He spoke of the parking sponsorship program that was not brought back to the Commission due to the participant not following through with it… He spoke of FDOT approval needed to meter Comm. Blvd. west of A1A ..The Mayor was concerned about lower rates in front of stores or visa versa wanting same rates to discourage any negative impact on the stores… The parking rate increases etc…will be on the April 27th Comm. meeting for 1st reading … VM Dodd asked about the turnaround time increase put forth for tickets and Bud replied it was what was done elsewhere …VM Dodd also was interested in seeing if ticket recipients could pay at Town Hall as many have asked to do… Bud said an e-mail was set to go to the Commission the next day on that…Town Hall had a cash terminal initiated in the Clerk’s office and a credit card terminal is to be setup as well. ..Ticket recipients can write a check and the Town will send it on to Ca. (where its processed) .. The Mayor said parking should be allowed on El Mar Drive after 9 pm for hardship parking and Comms. Clottey and Sasser agreed… The Mayor put forth 11pm parking on the weekends on El Mar Drive and Comm. Clottey spoke of burglars years ago walking on the beach scoping out places to hit ..The Mayor held steadfast for Fri and Sat night and hardship parking finding consensus …

3m. This was to be VM Dodd’s item to go back to 2 commission meetings as the roundtable model has not proven to be conducive with the needs of the Town..He removed it due to the late hour and will hopefully put it back on again to address..

3n. The Pelican Hopper …The backup was to extend service to Imperial Point Hospital…The Mayor a major supporter of the Hopper said it was a no..Comm. Vincent asked about the 22 yes and 15 no votes from Pelican Hopper riders and discounting them .. Commissioner Clottey also a stalwart proponent of the bus service said it would cut down on the route and it would be cheaper to send them by cab (there were 3 who said they would use it regularly- one elderly couple and one employee of the the hospital) … The Mayor expanded on those comments to touch on the Holy Cross extension now offered and state “in a perfect world” and that “we can’t do everything”… Comm. Sasser said it would still be addressed at budget time…(It needs to be quashed as it still has a low ridership and the costs outweigh the feel-good reasons of continuing on…in this writer’s opinion.) …

3o. Ordinance 2011-06 ..the proposed amendments for generators and related fuel storage tanks …It was adopted for 1st reading but questions were asked about the required setback requirements (small lots) and safety After an initial lack of response from the table the Town Manager reminded the Commission why it was on the roundtable and Comm. Sasser asked about any danger posed …Jeff Bowman stated he met with the Fire Marshal who ok’d the proposed changes which allow the TM to reduce the setback by a few feet if there is no alternative..VM Dodd who had asked this be looked into concurred with the changes made and was satisfied .. It comes back for 2nd reading at the next Comm. meeting..

3p. Ordinance 2011-07 Conditional Uses within the business district .. the impetus for this one on the roundtable after 1st reading with 2nd reading on Apil 27th came from the fact that in all the discussion on parking garages over the past months public vs private …It was found according to TM Hoffmann that if a private party wanted to build a parking garage they would not be allowed to!… Also changes were made according to TAtty. Trevarthen to line 537 on to address the question asked by P & Z Vice-Chair Yann Brandt concerning level 1  and level 2 and it not coming to the Comm….Now both will… VM Dodd and the Mayor also addressed a business wanting to come into the downtown area (between Kilwins and Cocoyoghurt) who wants to sell and kennel dogs as well as sell jewelry…Jeff Bowman responding to the surprised and caught off-guard response received from the Commission on this combination for a store  reminded them conditional use also included location allowing them to turn down a less desirable shop if they were inclined to allow such shops at all … We hear calls have been made to some Commissioners pro and con on the location desired above…This writer surmises conditional use with location will be enacted asap…

3q. Ord. 2011-16 Amendments to Chapter 30 Article VIII …sign regulations ..Jeff reminded the Commission  the P&Z put a lot of work into this and it was based on defensibility/constitutional/severability…(prev. P & Z posts)… Jeff told them with the Master Plan ..visioning and styles discussed recently (MIMO- Miami Modern) they recommend moving forward with the “housekeeping” in this ordinance and leave out 1-3 which is pole/pylon/sandwich board sign…I believe…VM Dodd asked about signage on the ends of buildings and the Town Manager responded that could lead to too much signage if there were multiple stores ..The Mayor called it sign pollution…Comm. Vincent asked about non-conforming signage not allowed in the backup after some back and forth the TM was also interested in knowing if there was a time frame or no opportunity to replace such non-conforming signs once taken down…It will be looked into and addressed at 1st reading on the 27th after the TAtty. confirmed there is no provision for time-frame in the current code to put it back up…

3r. Charter Review Board …The Mayor led the way as the Commission decided to pass this on to the next Commission seated next March due to the priority list in place and discussion of adhering to that list earlier in the evening…

3s. Wine Bars…VM Dodd had asked about including them in acceptable businesses in town..The TAtty. looked into it and they would not be allowed as they constitute a bar…

3t. was added at the start of the meeting by Comm. Clottey…The Commission received e-mails the week before of the new legislation going through the Fl. House and Senate…It has come through committee and the House to allow for short term vacation rentals and to usurp local code against them.. Comm. Clottey reminded all of why we currently have a 7 day minimum vacation rental on the books due to the TAtty. saying it was the least likely to produce any legal action as we watched this issue make its way through the courts… Comm. Clottey said there was a window of opportunity under the House version to increase that time and have it grandfathered in when and if this passes in the Senate (Trevarthen said the Senate version may not allow this though)… Comm. Clottey spoke of the problems we have with spring-breakers and wanted 28 days …VM Dodd questioned the procedure and the TAtty. reminded them of changes made 2 years ago for single -family homes and smaller multi-family ..VM Dodd questioned if the climate had changed locally to change the days allowed…Comm. Clottey again spoke of the spring-breakers…and that we do not have the luxury of going through the courts…The Mayor spoke of the legislature taking away our power and her calls to object  encouraging others to contact their representatives to do the same.. The Mayor spoke about the lack of code enforcement to deal with this but was not sure she wanted to change it… Clottey asked to up it to 14 days from 7 saying even that would help… Comm. Sasser asked why if we were not going to necessarily enforce it… The TAtty. said she understood but did not recommend doing something without enforcement and again stated she still thinks the longer you go the more likely to sue and greater the risk… She added our regulations are substantial …Comm. Sasser after hearing a few of those regulations including being able to revoke licenses asked about that…The TM said she thought there were 3 that had not responded and Jeff Bowman said there had been 16 that were cited… The TM thought some were foreclosed properties still renting out.. Jeff told them fines are set and imposed by the magistrate… Comm. Clottey had no backing for her increase and the TM said they would leave it the way it is… The other point made by the Town Manager was addressed by Cecelia Ward and the impact short term vacation rentals have on hotels as competition.. There was not response to that point coming from the Commission…This writer believes just as the TM tried to explain restaurant use to Comm. Vincent when discussing that portion of Cecelia Ward’s report (to be posted ) and the non-impact on the downtown restaurants countering Vincent’s assertions it would impact hotel guest from getting out of bed and heading to eat downtown (The TM and Ceceila Ward spoke of room service being expected in higher end accommodations) …. that there is room for both just as there is when people travel to Orlando or the Keys…

The Mayor spoke about the Mayor from Pembroke Pines and the Pantry of Broward County asking for some advertising on channel 78 and explained the services they offered..

The TAtty. spoke of an essay contest her firm Weiss, Serota was having for high school seniors due to their 20th anniversary..The winner received $1000 and the specifics can be found on the Town website..

The meeting adjourned approximately at a quarter to midnight…

The backup and video is available on the Town website … http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

More to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Lauderdale-By-The-Sea April 12, 2011 Special Meeting/Roundtable … #1 …. Roping In The $teer And The “Contenders” …

April 13, 2011 by Barbara

ROPING THEM IN ONE BY ONE …

(found on http://www.kimwilliamson.net/)

Dear Readers …it was a late one last night with the combination Special Meeting /Roundtable…It began at 7 pm and ended approximately fifteen minutes short of April 13th! … That being said this writer turned in shortly thereafter and will need time to go through the voluminous content covered …

What I saw was a Town Administrator and Commission who finally seemed to be trying to “rope in the $teer” of priorities as well as which “contenders” and “handlers” would be headed to the championship ring …..  By that I mean of course which consultants would continue on in the implementation of the Master Plan .. what that implementation really means (at least at this juncture) and putting the onus of how much money will be spent and when (year 1-year 5) and the prospect of putting it to the voters in March 2012 for those $teer that are out of reach without enough “backers” to buy the amount of rope it would take to lasso parking garages/Town Hall Complex/underground utilities and ? …

Again I have to go back to a previous post of Monday morning quarterbacking and the belief that much of the last months of time and money spent on meetings whether it be committees/boards…Commission…series presentations and citizen input could have been better served with a moratorium set and a full table presentation from all the consultants hired by Town Manager Hoffmann …especially after hearing her last consultant Planner Cecelia Ward speak last night …(originally scheduled long before tonight in Feb. and unfortunately displaced for the parking workshop) …in a manner that was easy to follow and understand…So much so that longtime Town Planner (contracted out ) will get now the boot from the Town as well as Keith & Schnars who was hired by the previous commission to replace Keller and then never used it said due to a large bill that came due at the start of their association with the Town that made that association essentially null and void …with the former TM using Keller in their place while once again keeping her decision from the full commission that wanted Keller replaced!… Ms. Ward found much of our comprehensive plan was never updated and  only a few changes were made to land development regulations after the 2004 Master Plan was adopted… Some conflict was also found in our codes and the current Town Charter …(The Charter due to be reviewed in 2012 will now be on the next commission’s “plate” after March 2012 with full consensus from the Commission last night )…  as well as Broward County Flexibility Rules we must be following concerning mixed use in place (perhaps grandfathered) but not in-line with Broward as required…… This writer called Mr Keller for his input and to see if he saw this report…He took my call and replied he had not seen the report…I told him where he could locate it on the Town’s website …He responded the previous administration was aware of these inconsistencies and the need to address them but did not follow through for whatever reasons.. He stated possibly budgetary… I stated that I surmised he would likely be “bashed” for this coming to light in the Ward report and perhaps he would want to state what he told me…He responded he is a consultant to the Town and usually doesn’t do anything unless asked… I stated perhaps he might want to e-mail his side…He thanked me and I thanked him for his time  … Mr Keller was not at the meeting last night…I don’t know if he e-mailed beforehand or even read the report…but as I surmised above above he was indeed definitely “bashed” by Commissioners after the report and he will now be a former consultant for the Town from the consensus and direction given to the TM!… Ms. Ward certainly must be at the top of the list going forth and rightly so… (if her rate is acceptable) …One eye-opener ….it appears from Ms. Ward’s report taller buildings can be built according to the Charter not being changed after the 2006 height referendum in the downtown area! …

The Town Manager started the Special Meeting portion dealing with the implementation of the Master Plan (under Old Business) and the Community Design Workshop with UM and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (see previous posts) … TM Hoffmann was clearly ready to set the tone of better explaining the process of each component going forward with the implementation of the future design of LBTS … She spoke of the participants UM already pulled together as well as the date May 21-26th with full citizen input inclusion as well as the cost and time difference if this was done in-house after being asked by Comm. Sasser … 5 days with over 30 professional participants for $16,500 plus the Town’s consultant Traffic Engineer for $1,500 vs. individual consultants hired to assist staff at a cost she estimated to be $100,000+ …(based on $75 an hour) This writer just hope a well coordinated full-out effort is made to get the P.R. on track prior to the set May 21st starting date as well as coverage of the event itself … Comm. Vincent continues to drive me to distraction with his endless stream of unconsciousness ..He wrongly made statements about using the Art Institute students vs. the UM students calling the AI experience an embarrassment… The TM tried to rein him in by including in her answer the AI is always welcome as she described the difference…She added the professionals would include Real Estate people who were involved in South Beach redevelopment of boutique hotels …. VM Dodd followed up Comm. Vincent to speak of the difference and to state the importance of specifying the parameters  from the start….Comm. Clottey further sullied the AI students by stating UM participants “were not just students from the Art Institute”…UM were a “higher level” …Ugh!… The only embarrassment that came out of either experience with AI pavilion or the El Mar Drive medians came from the former Town Administration and some on the former Commission including Comm. Clottey!… (Clottey also wanted to add Bougainvilla into the study but the TM stated UM was “already stretched “.. (the A1A study now not only includes Comm. Blvd by the beach but the whole blvd from the Intracoastal to the beach) …The Town Manager described the design work which ranged from conceptual street drawings to new facades for 2 hotels on A1A between Pine and Palm as well as architectural drawings of what the two El Mar Drive anchor hotels could be within our code along with economic performas … Comm. Sasser asked about what we have when we are done and will that information allow us to go directly to RFP …The TM said no “but it will advance us significantly”… It is more than we have now from the previous Master Plan which was “just a statement”… (Not sure I agree with that one..after seeing previous renderings etc… ) … She stated we will still need engineers and spoke of what happened with Ocampo when they designed around the AI winning medians …and how it was not approved in the end and shelved… TM Hoffmann stated “What can I say it’s Lauderdale By The Sea”…going on to say everyone is invited to this one for input throughout… With the drawings and commission priorities then we go out for detailed designs with an RFP …This is when Comm. Sasser asked about the cost differential (see above) … Comm. Sasser also asked about what becomes of the anchor portion submitted by UM since the these properties are privately owned..The Town Manager responded by walking us through what has taken place before and what is usually the case when new business ventures come to town. They come to the development office and inquire about a certain property …The development office and the Town would also take the UM plans and show them to the owners of the properties to show them what is possible and see if they bite …The Town could go further by seeing if those owners would be interested in someone who would be willing to go to the next level of redevelopment…Comm. Sasser stated that seemed to tie into the branding and marketing they spoke about at the last meeting and was the Mayor’s #1 item …Comm. Vincent speaking it seems just to speak  … made a Freudian slip and said he “concluded” with Comm. Sasser’s questions about the “huge savings” with RMA  yada yada yada … The Mayor stated she was in favor of the participation and repeated much of what the Town Manager said stating this was to generate plans and allow the Town to cost out projects … She ended on the same not the Town Manager started on…trying to further define what the purpose this served  and how it would fit in going forth in the big picture …VM Dodd made the motion Comm. Vincent made the second and it passed 5-0 …Set for Jarvis Hall May 21-26th…

Next item on the Special Meeting (under New Business) was for RMA’s 2nd contract which would also be approved 5-0 after they too were not only “corralled” but RMA principal Chris Brown seemed to be “bowing”  to the reality of any parking garages and the “whole enchilada” of redevelopment being way down the line in the 5- year plan with the “what we can afford to do” being the “grand prize” for this and next year’s “main event” … The Town Manager commented first “This is the fastest contract ever put together in recent town history”…It was asked for the previous Tues. evening… She stated the cost of the proposal ($19,900 plus reimbursements expenses)… She further said they would offer a “dose of reality to UM”…(Hopefully a dose of reality to RMA is not to spend all we have in our coffers asap)… Town Manager Hoffmann spoke of the 5 year plan and where the funding would come from as well as rough costs …staffing and tying it all up…The VM spoke as well on how RMA tied it together..Comm. Clottey spoke of costs and her concern of a parking garage that could cost $6 million …The TM stepped in to “corral” Clottey and  the dollar amount thrown out with itemization and priorities done in steps ..RMA’s Chris Brown added it would be a 1st draft of all items in the implementation plan and the garage will be in there with “fairly accurate numbers”…adding “if you can afford it is another matter”… further still adding “probably in your 4th or 5th year or beyond”.. (BINGO!) .. He stated the plan for A1A will be as accurate as they can be using contracts RMA have down to perhaps details such as costs of a Royal Palm vs another tree (shades of Happy Vasil who lost her palm tree in the north Seagrape Dr. development and her desire for Royal Palms to replace them which were to cost thousands …and were quickly taken out of the equation!) …Comm. Clottey stated she thought Bougainvilla and Poinciana needed attention ahead of branding saying “we can’t put our heads in the sand”…(These streets do need attention…drainage/swales/parking beautification) …Comm. Sasser asked when it would be ready …”end of June?”…The TM said it would be the first 2 weeks of June …(Contract says June 1st)… Comm. Sasser went on to asked about the branding and marketing and stating he did not see it in the scope of work …The Town Manager said it was not included in this project and that they had their hands full with this…She spoke of the “marketing arm..the hotels and businesses …Comm. Sasser wanted to know costs and the TM said they needed to come back with those but she needed direction to do so… Comm. Sasser stated it was clear and concise and what he expected and now we will see what we can afford with the money we have and as for the rest needing bonds that could be put on the ballot… Chris Brown said it would be presented that way exactly and stated their would be no bond in the 1st year …basically this is “a five-year decision tree”…( Remember-money don’t grow on trees!) …The TM said all this info will be in place to make decisions pre-budget time … The Vice Mayor was taken aback by Comm. Clottey’s comment about the parking garage reiterating his stance on the need being even further out than 5 years and alternative parking needing to be factored in to the current numbers provided (shared parking program numbers as well as street parking ) … “Cart before the horse… Chris Brown showed he was not a pro-parking garages as he was at the previous meeting (see prev. RMA presentation meeting post) …He spoke about the studies that needed to be done ahead of the $6 million dollar parking garage (s) … A “demand study”…A parking study” ..He said it was not all “supply and demand” again stating what we started out at long,long ago with destination and how far people are willing to walk… He covered the current “demand” as he had prior of East of A1A restaurants vs west of A1A…He talked once again about signage problems and their impact …and the need for getting people to cross El Mar Drive..He cautioned once more as well of how better restaurants west and redevelopment “could make things change overnight”… The Town Manager rope in hand…knot pulled tight…jumped in to talk of “other options”…”A garage is expensive proposition”… the need to “exhaust other options before going that route.”…BINGO!… Later on at the Roundtable the item to expand the “White Elephant” A1A (Bougainvilla) lot by purchasing an apartment building  was met with no support from the commission and quashed (after we paid for 2 appraisals and drawings ..cost?)…Comm. Vincent wanted to know the Chamber’s inclusion and once again “gunning” for VM Dodd (who’s advising this guy these days?) …nastily stated they were “spinning our wheels” talking of the garage inclusion ..He said Clottey’s question was a good one (it was) and then he did his now usual disconnected barrage of commentary that leaves many shaking their heads … Chris Brown stated he would work with staff and told them they had a limited amount of money and they “will need to decide on suggestions that come from the point of view of what’s best for redevelopment” which is what will come from RMA as well as “strengthening your tax base.”… Comm. Clottey asked about infrastructure repairs not included in the report and spoke of nice things to do for tourists vs standing water problems residents are dealing with… The Town Manager reminded her we have the drainage numbers and some of those previously time lined approved projects will overlap with the Master Plan and economic plan ..(In the TM backup was the inclusion that we may face cost overruns for drainage in the south end (Flamingo ) due to problems in another nearby Ft. Laud drainage project not producing the desired result.. Not known yet is if planned installation of drainage wells within Flamingo Ave.is viable option to resolve completely flooding issues..The Tradewinds Dr. project is complete and Chen has applied for permit to construct…Comm & El Mar survey is completed…RFP is being prepared for downtown core project (This writer believes Comm. dropped ball on this one- should have gone with Chen and new tightened up contract ala Choice contract rework to get moving asap) …Comm. Clottey perhaps in election mode (is she going for a 2nd term?… She was seen on the break in quite a long back & forth whispering session with former UOT Pres. Bob Fleishman last night)… stated she “wants them put together” going on to say “We’re not going to borrow $50 million “…”Not gonna happen”… The Mayor asked what Comm. Sasser had earlier when addressing the UM item to the Town Manager concerning staff available vs RMA …The TM responded as she had at the RMA presentation the week before we have an Interim Finance Director about to leave and when the new one comes in mid-may (not yet named) ..He or she will need to “jump into the budget”… This is when she spoke of Aug-Sept for results vs. a June 1st deadline with RMA doing the job… adding RMA can provide not only quicker costs but better cost estimates and using them will not draw staff away from other priorities ..The Mayor asked about branding as well reiterating her stance… Chris Brown said that would have a cost and they could start it earlier “shepherd it” assist in the marketing and “select from 3-4 of the best in the business”…He said “I don’t want to oversell my services.”..The Mayor explained even more of what “RMA would supply us with” …how the “Commission would pick and choose what to allocate”..”with the budget”…She spoke of “past loss of opportunities by not being ready”…and it is “important to move forward (Some of her constituents will not be so quick to sign on with any of those statements)… The Town Manager asked the Commission if they wanted to move forward with the marketing plan… She advised to go forward with this project and then do that one (New RMA contract..New cost$)… Chris Brown joked(?) that contract would be ready next Tues…The motion was made by Comm. Vincent and seconded by Comm. Clottey…passing 5-0…

The last item of business was an item put on by the TAtty.concerning the Buena Vista Hotel on El Mar Drive and a declaratory judgment received for commercial garbage charges vs residential and the inequity under Fl. law… It is I believe on behalf of all such properties in town (this one has been on the dais before) …Choice is named as well…It will most likely include not only the monthly cost discrepancy but recycling inequities as well as franchise fees to the Town…A shade session is set for April 27, 2011 with TAttys. Trevarthen and Dan Abbott at 6 pm…That will preclude the Comm. from discussing the matter …

The meeting was adjourned and a break was taken for moving to and setting up the Roundtable … where the rope’s “knot” was indeed slipping here and there throughout the long session …

More to come…

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