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

March 25, 2011 by Barbara

TELL EM’ HOW YOU REALLY FEEL …

For Part One Scroll Down…

Dear Readers …continuing on with the items to be addressed at the LBTS Resident Input Series …

Residential Neighborhoods…

This is the one this writer is returning to address tomorrow at the last Res. Input Meeting at 10 am in Jarvis Hall due to running out of time at our table when addressing the Economic Vitality component and the need to change tables with the other group … I will give and post my comments there but also include my “take” below each numbered item below…

1. Create neighborhood entrance signage that reflect the individuality of the neighborhood but also indicates that is part of LBTS (e.g. Silver Shore, a Lauderdale-By-The-Sea community or Silver Shores of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea)…. This one seems to go back  and forth between those calling for  town-wide uniformed signage vs. individuality for each “neighborhood”…The Commission will return to this topic at their Roundtable meeting on April12th after it returned to the Commission after discussion at the March 8th Roundtable due to Terra Mar Island now adding a laundry list of items onto their signage/gate request!… This writer received an e-mail over the previous weekend from a “concerned citizen” from Terra Mar stating some dissension among the “neighbors” in that enclave and just who was pushing for all this and who was not as well as the previous president of the association being at odds with the present association president…It reminded me of the tensions that arose during the Bel-Air street sign name change a few years back… In that e-mail was a copy of an e-mail sent to members from the previous president stating some unwanted strong-arming was going on aimed with consequences to Commissioners not getting on board with the desired changes for the entry of to Terra Mar … These now include a camera, stamped-brick crosswalk, lighting  etc… in addition to a new sign and gate… The Mayor stood up to list and took issue with it after being one of two members putting this on the March Roundtable to discuss…She changed her stance at that time of entryway signage and who would pay for them…Mayor Minnet used Bel Air an example of the status quo of no residential neighborhood funds being required to obtain signage…What mayor Minnet disregarded in her change of heart was Bel Air had their sign removed by unilateral action of the previous Town Manager without any heads-up to the Commission or the residents… This writer was less than happy to hear the change in the signage for neighborhoods at that March Roundtable and believes each neighborhood should continue to come and ask for signage when and if it is desired by a majority…with no decision made for them or inflicted upon them by a few neighbors and/or the Commission-Administration…(A look at the video show Comm. Vincent making this very assertion despite going at VM Dodd asserting he had said no such thing…He did!)… Comm. Clottey was among those on the dais along with the Mayor asking for this to come back to discuss …Comm. Clottey was away when it was addressed at the previous Roundtable…

2. Improve storm drainage … Yes..Lake Colon..Lake Colon…Lake Colon…as well as the residential neighborhoods (still!) …Speaking of the former TM …Did anyone catch the last Town Financial Report located on the Town website (after being MIA) .. it is on the right hand side of the home page under more Town business …2nd down under latest monthly reports …page 2 of the memo states some “noteworthy items”…including this one… ” The Town received a credit from the State of Florida Unemployment Division in the amount of $7150. after we notified them that the former Town Manager was receiving unemployment benefits and collecting retirement pay at the same time. We understand she reimbursed the state.”…HA!…

3. Identify those residential streets where traffic is excessive and address it through traffic calming measures… Hmmm… this is about where I came in…with talks in 2005-2006 of speed-bumps…round-a-bouts… and street closures in Silver Shores making it so those on Washingtonia would have to go A1A to Commercial Blvd. etc… OH MY!….

4. Improve street lighting and utilize smaller scale street furniture and decorative light poles & luminaries. Offer choices of approved styles from which neighborhoods can select… Again, cookie-cutter … allowed styles?… Go back and look at the Comm. meetings from 2005 on…with allowed awnings…Mediterranean style and certain shade pallets allowable for painting…Why take away from a more eclectic style allowing for individuality and being inclusive of old and new?…Lighting is a must in the neighborhoods as is infrastructure-street re- surfacing as were spelled out in the priorities list not so long ago…

5. Use common design elements to make all neighborhoods interconnected in some way (art or designs that tie the Town together)…Ditto from above…individuality is key in this writer’s opinion…

Commercial Blvd And A1A Roadways… The Asst. TM…Bud Bentley facilitated this portion of the evening’s discussion for each group …He wanted us to concentrate on the importance of each component and not the specifics of design or cost… His point fell on deaf ears for the most part just as it did at the  MPSC meetings…although he was not shy about reining in those who veered off-course and getting back on topic in order to move along in the allotted time….

1. Create a more pedestrian-friendly environment (with trees, landscaping, improved sidewalks, crosswalks)…

a. On Commercial Boulevard east of A1A… This was agreed upon as a top priority…Lake Colon…drainage…widen sidewalks…remove or cut back the medians allowing a “circle”or round-a-bout  to remain in front of the Commercial Blvd. Pavilion in order to allow for an easy turning radius for cars ….There was some of the back and forth over pedestrian only from A1A to the beach in this area or not…This writer is a member of the “Not” group when it comes to this topic…seeing no reason for not continuing to allow patrons access to curbside drop-offs to the beach…Aruba Beach Cafe (the biggest restaurant attraction draw in town) …and the Pier parking for fishing allowed 24/7 …I do believe when we do the drainage we should cutback and/or remove or reconfigure the median as was  supposed to happen when the pavilion was built…widen the sidewalks and accommodate the tourists, patrons and locals who await their names being called to dine at one of the three thriving venues that encompass that area…

b. On Commercial Boulevard west of A1A…A scroll to the part one covers this one…universally it’s a given to help in pedestrian traffic heading to the shops and restaurants on that side of A1A…

c. On the entire length of A1A… Asst. TM Bentley added it needed to be clarified this meant from Pine to Palm (and beyond to the town limits south)… due to the A1A FDOT project in the works north at the present time…Note to Mr. Bentley ..it is Pine not “Pines”… This writer also warned Mr. Bentley to make sure the pine trees on Pine were not included or affected in any future plans…Another resident stated there were not enough chairs in Jarvis if they were put in the mix!… The consensus was back-out parking was here to stay and deal with and ultimately ignore in how to spruce the corridor up …with the emphasis according to Bentley going to the right-of-ways…The facades on those motels/apartments was added in enhancing the experience as well …

2. Improve the pedestrian interface at the section of Commercial Blvd. and A1A… To build a bridge or not…Paul Novak is still a proponent of the bridge while the consensus of those at the table was scratch that and try some common-sense approaches to the pedestrian crosswalk nightmare that is ongoing…Asst. TM Bentley stated some traffic studies were being done while we are inundated with pedestrians this spring break which should add something to the input provided to FDOT … The common-sense ideas included By The Sea Future Ed. Mark Brown’s idea for allowing east-west pedestrian travel only on the south side of Commercial Blvd…Changing the turn signal to turn north onto A1A to allow for the turn after the traffic goes east-west as is the case on Sunrise in Fort Lauderdale going east when turning onto Bayview Drive… or making it all traffic stops in all directions to allow for pedestrian crossing as is done in other towns across  the nation…

3. Improve the aesthetic appearance of the alleyways north and south of Commercial Boulevard…This writer spoke of the 2005 Master Plan which showed renderings of alley usage being pedestrian with benches and street vendor carts…It was a positive addition of what LBTS uniquely offers with our west to east easy access to the beach from neighborhoods throughout town…One member of the group added that original plats of the town show these alleys are town- owned property and were intended for that use… maps of this were shown and said to have been turned over to former Dir. of Development Jeff Bowman…( Jeff is now classified as the Zoning and Code Compliance Supervisor and Asst. TM Bentley and doing double duty as Asst. TM and Acting Dir. of Development) …..

4. Maintain & improve vistas to the sea…This writer mentioned Minto’s sales office and the lack of vistas offered as well as the illegal trailer being used without a time period imposed for removal per code… The Vice Mayor added that overgrown plantings etc…have also precluded vistas at the Minto building on the beachfront…The Asst. TM said code was murky in specifics at the present time  when it comes to these vistas and the requirements being enforceable… P & Z will undoubtedly be seeing this item asap… An aside on P & Z…How many meetings can a  member miss without automatically being replaced?…Hmmm… another one that’s murky in the specifics at the present time …I am told it use to be miss three in a row and you’re out!…

5. Color contrast the bicycle lane on A1A so it more clearly-defined…The universal guffaw was heard among those sitting at our table …keep the line..allowed feet required for a bike lane and forget about it …because the bike riders like the walkers go wherever they want to anyhoooo….

6. Create Multiple Transportation Mode e.g. bike sharing, water taxi, pedicabs, trolleys, more bike racks… A few at out table alerted us to the pitfalls to come with the bike sharing program we are to participate in as presented by the company a few commission meetings back…They said the 30 minute required check-in time was problematic as well as a rude awakening if a rider arrives at a bike rack and that rack is full…The rider is stuck to go and find a rack that can accommodate their returned bike!…  Hopefully the Town will be on top of this before it happens and will carefully watch the towns using this service before it makes its way to LBTS… On the subject of the water taxi I asked the Asst. TM if the Town owned  any property that goes to the intracoastal near the Comm. Blvd. bridge… He replied they think they may have located a right-of-way that does…I responded that being the case we should make some wooden (or composite) entry and signage as well as the previously stated “footprints” to make it known…sign on with the water taxi in Fort Lauderdale who apparently is desirous to come to LBTS according to one resident at the table and market it accordingly!… As far as pedicabs…I see that problematic due to the width of them and the over-crowding we already endure from pedestrians…cars and single bikes …

In conclusion…it is this writer’s opinion that there are priorities that need to be put back on the radar  and addressed  such as the infrastructure (sewers) …What have we found out thus far from Televac (whom we annually contract with) ?…Are we going to be faced with an all-out sewer replacement from Pine ave south…or is it not as dire and we will be able to line a good portion of the sewers over a longer period of time?… Can’t we find a ballpark figure of what the cost of underground utilities would be with research of other municipalities who have recently done so either through their own studies or implementation?…As VM Dodd stated it would be purely for aesthetics and would not save the area from power outages…In fact after Wilma areas with underground utilities were down longer than those with above ground… Is this really something keeping future business away?… Nahhh…Do we need consultants racking up the big bucks to tell us  what we already know?…Nahhh… Do we need a parking garage?… Nahhh… Do we need to buy property with taxpayer monies at the present time?… Not as far as I am concerned…. I believe there are still plenty of local taxpayers and businesses hurting with more to come as we face increases in fees for services as well as increases in our water, sewer and fuel bills… So we should keep the millage the same… do the common-sense projects to improve the town  with an eye on what we can achieve if and  when we finally turn the corner economically in this country …

Thus far the “silent majority” of homeowners…taxpayers and businesses stance on the future of LBTS is not known …Tomorrow morning there will be one more chance to “stick it” to your local “leaders” before decisions are made by those “leaders” and by the “silent Majority” at the voting booth in 2012!…

Jarvis Hall…10 am-noon… Be there and be ready to place your “stickys” to the walls inside the hall!…

More to come…

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