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Here’s The Scoop … “Sticking It” To Your Local “Leaders” In Lauderdale-ByThe-Sea … Part Three …

STICKER SHOCK? ….. “YES” … “X” … “LOVE IT” …”IN YOUR DREAMS”…”DON’T CARE”…. will be compiled for the 4/5/2011 meeting….

Dear Readers … the final Resident Input Meeting took place this morning in Jarvis Hall …It began at 10 am after a 9 am meeting for the April 23, 2011 Easter-By-The-Sea event volunteer committee meeting headed up by this year’s chair, Mayor Minnet…

When this writer asked a few of those in attendance if they were going to stick around for the final input session the response was the same…they did  their part in years past…their efforts were gathering dust up  a shelf somewhere and they were taking a pass…. Despite my best efforts I could not persuade them to reconsider and put their “sticky” up on the walls to have at least some say in the current rendition of the Town’s future redevelopment plans…

There was a bigger crowd as it turned out…3-4 times as many…. although again due in large part to those who had been at the prior two input meetings as well as commissioners and staff…This writer originally attended in order to return to the table in order to address the Residential Neighborhoods which as previously posted were set aside when the discussion time ran amok as we dealt with Economic Vitality..

What I did not realize until this morning was at the second meeting held on the 24th one table was MIA to all who came excluding two more important components to the Master Plan…El Mar Drive and El Prado/Town Hall/ Community Center…So I will include those in this additional post…

Again there were facilitators at each table …TM Connie Hoffmann, Asst. TM Bud Bentley and resident David Nixon … TM Hoffmann explained the way the meeting would run and added that the compilation of all the comments made on the boards placed on the surrounding walls would be presented to the commission by RMA (consultant Chris Brown) at the April 5, 2011 presentation in Jarvis Hall at 7 pm…

This writer began this session at that third table with TM Hoffmann facilitating and will include the topics below as well as some comments made…

El Mar Drive…

1. Make the streetscape cater to bicyclists, pedestrians and beach users rather than to cars… A longtime resident joined another longtime resident in stating what El Mar Drive looked like in the late 40’s with wider medians and one lane…They did add there was no bridge at that time over the intracoastal and fewer hotels… The medians were 35 ft. rather than 20ft… They spoke of asking businesses to request smaller delivery trucks as is done elsewhere when asked to address the problems 0ne-lane would cause when faced with the everyday deliveries required by the local businesses in the center of town… There was also talk of cutting back or removing the median on El Mar Dr. between Ham N’Eggs and Village Grill to accommodate the trucks …a specified area that takes them out of the passing traffic…Most were for no traffic from A1A to the ocean…This writer and a few others were not… stating the need to get to Aruba Beach Cafe and the Pier…

2. Add street furniture, landscaping including shade trees and other amenities for pedestrians …was not discussed…

3. Maintain two lanes in each direction, but designate the inside lanes adjacent to the median to be multi-purpose lanes. The primary users of the multi-purpose lane should be walkers, joggers, bicyclists and it will also be used for parking for major Town events. The multi-purpose lane should be differentiated in some way (texture, pavers, color, raised pavement, etc.) from the travel lane…Again the talk was of one lane…inside lane becomes for walking and bikes… Problems of state requirements for bikers lane location were introduced once again by one commissioner as well as the in the median walkways previously accepted by the prior commission being dumped after the public denounced it big time … The thought was no one would walk beside the medians either… In the end it was a great divide over those who think the public can be educated and adapt to where they are to walk and bike ride vs. those who believe walkers and bike riders will go where they want to go…

4. Widen the sidewalks to 6’…no discussion…

5. Keep a landscaped center median with irrigation and add lighting in the medians…no discussion…

6. Bury the utility poles & wires…no discussion…currently the Commission directed the Town Manager at the March 22nd Commission meeting to go out for 3 quotes from companies that would do the study… The gentleman I spoke to at the previous meeting who would not stick around stated after I informed him that the plans for that are also somewhere on the shelf and there was a cheaper way to get that info…He was again shaking his head on another repeat of past studies…

7. Improve drainage to eliminate ponding… no discussion …

El Prado/Town Hall/ Community Center

1. Redevelop Town Hall Complex to more effectively utilize the site and house government functions in a more architecturally striking building… The TM spoke about the acreage we have 3 acres including the public safety building…This writer spoke of the plans that were shown in 2005 of the complex that would house the Town Hall, Recreation Center, Town Departments, Police and Fire as well as bus service, parking as another resident in attendance at the same meeting back then added the rooftop views… There was universal agreement from all in support of such a complex in the present location …

2. Incorporate a community center and a senior recreational facility into the new Town Hall complex…discussed in #1…

3. Make El Prado Park the Town’s secondary oceanfront destination…no discussion although it was touched upon in #1 and this writer spoke of  the addition seen this morning of the 2 seashell that were shown to the MPSC for possible “caps” for the FDOT A1A sitting walls being attached to the entry stairs in El Prado leading to the beach…It has been a pleasure to walk around the town and see the touches of “whimsy” the new administration has added to various locations in town…

4. Improve the identity of the park by adding signage for the park holding functions there (e.g. concerts, plays, a weekend market)… Some brief discussion on what had been covered previously  as well as previous comments by TM Hoffmann of signage coming for the lots and other areas…

5. Consider adding a bandstand that does not block the view of the sea… no discussion…

As we finished each table we were to take the “stickys” and place them on the wall under each item…If you voted previously you could not vote again …although you could change your “sticky”…Alas at the end of today’s meeting some in attendance were double and triple “sticky-ing” there “stickys”… perhaps skewing the compilation?…

The other items previously posted were again discussed at the two other tables facilitated by Asst. TM Bentley who reminded us all once again not to go into details or design areas and to be respectful and not swear at those who disagree with you…(He would not elaborate when asked who had done so)…and David Nixon who handily made a final synopsis of the consensus he heard from the participants at his table after each item was completed…

New comments were made including a return to the neighborhood signage issue (see prev. post)  and the overwhelming remarks that it should not be throughout town and look like the entry sign chosen and installed at Bel-Air…The universal agreement to allow for dropping off beach-goers and handicapped/elderly persons …Sandra Booth added that every Tues. morning at 6:45 there is a large group of handicapped children who come to enjoy the ocean views…This writer reminded the Asst, TM of supplying the previous TM and staff with “mobi mats” information which allows access onto the beach for wheelchairs and walkers…It never went anywhere… Further discussion on the hotel/motel aid offered from the Town (see prev. post)…resulted in another universal show of agreeing to do so with matching grants and permit help …Also there was agreement on marketing although the caveat was after the hotel/motels were up to par to do so…That all agreed would come with the Town actively looking to replace the anchoring (Pine & Palm) hotels with national name brand hotels … All wanted to retain hotels/motels in LBTS…  Anchor restaurants were also discussed for the west of A1A area but new building done with private funds seemed to be preferred unofficially… The parking garage was still a mixed bag when discussed as well as having a parking problem or not…and if it is an issue or not… Residential Neighborhoods brought forth that the worst offenders of speeding in neighborhoods are those who live there!… There was also reminders made of past ideas of round-a-bouts and cutting off access…This writer asked about signage stating local traffic only…Comm. Vincent added we need better policing as well …On neighborhood storm drainage the answer was yes from all seated at the table…This writer reminded them it is already scheduled in the budget going forth…

With that the noon hour was upon us and the Mayor reminded all of the April 5th meeting once more and the last Resident Input meeting was put to bed …

More to come…when RMA comes forth with their presentation…

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