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Here’s The Scoop … Last Chance To “Stick It” To Your Local “Leaders” In Lauderdale-By-The-Sea … Part One …

BEFORE THE FINAL GAVEL FALLS PUT IN YOUR TWO CENTS!….

Dear Readers … as this  writer still digests the March 22, 2011 LBTS Commission meeting post I thought it important to post on the Residential Input Series for the Town’s Master Plan 2011 …Last night was the second of three with the third and last one tomorrow morning in Jarvis Hall  at 10am-noon… It is possible a fourth chance to be a part of the mix could come after the April 5th RMA (Town Consultant Chris Brown) presentation in Jarvis Hall at 7 pm but don’t let that possibility stop you from having your “sticky” commentary included on the walls of Jarvis that will most likely be used as the catalyst of town input and opinion on the future of this town’s future development or lack thereof … If you sit this one out…instead of being the “stickee” you could be the recipient of a “sticker” shock with an increase in taxes and debt as property is bought with your tax dollars on your behalf because of a handful of approximately 10 people who showed up to the first two input meetings with  a smattering of commissioners and maybe 2-3 people not considered the “usual suspects” who come to all the town meetings…

The venue began with breaking up the group and having us sit down at two tables which are covered with sticky dots that have different remarks printed on them such as “yes” …”don’t care”…”love it!”…”X” (for nix that idea) …as well as a few blanks to put in your own comment…There were colorful index cards for writing out ideas to put up on the wall next to the item …worksheets with the areas of discussion brought forth at the MPSC meetings and aerial maps/plats and a conceptual rendering of a possible way to open up Basin Drive’s marina area to include a 2-story open type building that could house a restaurant and retail (where the Cookie Shop etc… are behind Ace Hardware with the street becoming one-way for access to the back of the shops facing Comm. Blvd.)… Once we were all seated Town Manager Connie Hoffmann  and Asst. Town Manager Bud Bentley facilitated whomever was seated at their table as PIO Steve D’Oliveira wrote down the ideas to post on the walls (for my group)…

Here are the worksheet items …plus some commentary from this writer’s discussion group and both facilitators…

Economic Vitality

1. Be an upscale casual destination for tourists & visitors from Broward, Palm Beach and Dade County… On this one the comments were to change the wording from “upscale” to “prime” after some back and forth on what “upscale” conjures up for tourists prior to their arrival to a destination… Global marketing was a must requirement as well…This writer added “Broward’s Key West without the 4 hour drive”…

2. Clean up the appearance of existing hotels, motels and stores… The TM put forth the idea of the Town offering monetary aid /incentives as is being done in other municipalities… There was also talk of the permit costs and aiding those being hit hard as described by hoteliers at the meeting they attended with RMA and reported on in last week’s edition of By The Sea Future by Ed. Mark Brown…This writer spoke of facade help long discussed by previous MPSC members for local businesses in town …The idea of taxpayer monies being used for the outside of  hotels/motels was met with mixed responses due to what it would really accomplish if the inside of these properties were not renovated and updated to meet the ever growing standards guests are looking for as well as a divide on taxpayers funding private business…

3. Encourage the development of more quality retail and service companies along Commercial Boulevard from the bridge to the beach… A no- brainer …not much discussion…This writer mentioned David Sukor’s suggestion of changing the sidewalks to veer into the strip shops adding that once you cross over the bridge at Comm. you must walk sidewalks by their shops with there being no sidewalks between the front parking lots and Comm. Blvd…

4. Capitalize on having the closest coral reef to the shore in the U.S. in promoting the Town…again no discussion…no negatives forthcoming on this topic..

5. Develop a Barrier Island Interpretive Center- a signature development with educational purpose (LBTS sea-related history, info about the reef, marine habitat) that would draw students and serve as a catalyst for economic development… The TM asked if this should be funded and run by the Town…discussion ran towards having “tours” brought forth by this writer such as are common upon visiting other towns …Other discussion was a satellite component for the Welcome Center either at a Comm. Blvd. storefront as well as a kiosk with possible beach rental equipment and board with info on such tours/info and more information being available at the current longtime Chamber location with the use of “footprints” and “whimsy” inviting tourists to saunter over the the building at the south end of Town on A1A…

6. Incorporate & promote the unique characteristics that define the community in advertising…no discussion on this topic…but don’t be surprised if this becomes a line-item at the budget meetings due to the lack of the Chamber’s involvement offered up last year and declined due to either  a lack of understanding..manpower or initiative …

7. Evaluate the feasibility of building parking garages and most efficient/effective locations in the downtown center of Town, including the possibility of a public/private garage development…This writer stuck my hand  up and went on the record once more stating emphatically I hated the “white elephant” Bougainvilla-A1A lot when it was bought  and developed thus far!…Now the Town has gone for an appraisal on the apartment building that is located on the south west corner on Bougainvilla that is for sale…This  money depleting lot has already cost us over three and a half million without the parking garage…The cost of the apartment building …in the “neighborhood” of a million more!… This writer reminded my group of the cost thus far…and the input from the private developer of the Deerfield parking garage who is taking a loss on that facility and said he would not build one here …we are 5 years away from needing one at the very least!…The TM concurred on those statements dealing with the gentleman…Adding to that I stated that seniors ans women do not like nor use parking garages due to the lack of feeling safe ..The TM stated research has shown  a parking garage was only used as a last resort … I believe the lot should be sold and become retail with parking on El Mar Drive (inside lane near median) at certain hours and surface parking elsewhere until a new Town Hall including parking is constructed…The present location of the parking lot is not “Field of Dreams” in this writer’s opinion!…

8. Keep Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s hospitality industry focus by retaining and encouraging high-end but small-scale resorts, hotels & motels…Of course was the answer and this was pretty much covered by discussion of the less than enticing larger hotels anchoring either end of El Mar Drive and their impact as well on all those venues in-between new fascades or not!… There was a little discussion on the Bert J. Harris aspect of designating not more private use for the remaining properties such as town-homes which cannot succeed …even with the questionable at best offering up of land being used west to cover the loss as discussed by Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk a few weeks ago…

9. Adopt a nuisance abatement ordinance and actively enforce it…This is on a way to deal with those establishments that have ongoing nefarious acts that involve law enforcement..health violations  and the like and do something about it…All including this writer were enthusiastically on board with this one…It did raise a common knowledge quotient among those attending of who needs this type of enforcement and how far reaching it is … It also led to discussion on the Chamber of Commerce’s need to enforce standards for its members in order to retain membership and advertising in LBTS…The Chamber has information needed by the town already in hand and after this meeting it will be turned over to get the ball rolling on this item…

10. Redevelop Basin Drive Marina as a retail destination…This was where the conceptual rendering was shown…A great looking structure and a welcome idea down the road…pun intended… This writer believes it should be done by private business vs. public monies to make a reality…

BC- at this point approaching the noon hour and another round of appointments I need to attend to…I will post part one …with part two to come upon my return…In splitting up this post my intention and hope that readers will pass it along to others in Town to make sure the turnout tomorrow morning is a much needed-much desired packed Jarvis Hall with “stickys” running out as they are being passed around to the stakeholders and taxpayers to “stick it” to their “leaders” in LBTS on just what they do and do not want in the future of LBTS… See you there…Jarvis Hall …10 AM sharp!…

More to come… Part two…

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