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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…

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