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Here’s The Scoop … The December 15, 2010 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Planning & Zoning Board Meeting … The Bull Flew … For A While …

December 16, 2010 by Barbara

WILL THIS BULL GO FAR? …

Dear Readers .. The evening was divided into two separate meetings … The regular P & Z monthly meeting to address the parking “suspension program” and the change in code …(see prev. Rdtable agenda /Town website P & Z backup for a look at it) …and the workshop to address other areas of parking and signage… The board lent itself to these two separate meetings in two entirely different modes of operation and rationality …in this writer’s opinion… The only constant…was Vice-Chair Yann Brandt who stepped into the role of Chair for both due to Chair Buz Oldaker’s excused absence and showed how a meeting should be run by a Chair…The Mayor and other Board/ Committee Chairs may want to review the archived video…(link below)…for a look at how it’s done… Kudos to Yann on a job well done!…

The Staff provided synopsis for the meeting…

Unfortunately, the meeting this evening began as expected by this writer when addressing the parking exemption issue that became the parking suspension program thanks to staff taking it in a direction contrary to what was directed at the Nov. Comm. Rdtable as well as the lack of two “business” oriented Commission members going for a full exemption rather than a suspension…again due to an active administrative drive to do so…We are well aware of the many phone calls and meetings from the Administration and TAtty. to push for the latter leading up to meetings by both the Comm. and the P & Z… Three members of the board acted as if the actions made by the Commission between their last P & Z workshop ..(prev. post) …and this meeting did not happen and proceeded to repeat their stances of ” a plan”…inequity to businesses for restaurant/restaurant-type businesses to have no parking requirement…  Dir. Bowman once more proved to me he is still not the right person to be the head of a department when he could not answer questions which took place at those meetings he either attended or watched … Yann tried from the outset of this meeting to remind the board of the fact that the Comm. had two roundtable meetings and a Comm. mtg. and they were charged by the Comm. to discuss what was before them as a result..He suggested they go around the table and do so…(This is also the direction given by staff in the synopsis above) …. Eric Yankwitt asked about how a report would be done..how it would be measured and had concerns over the season/off- peak times not being separated stating that the data “grouped” in this manner making washing away the distinct differences …He wanted that addressed… Ben Freeny repeated much of what he said in Nov. and spoke of the lack of substantive supporting data he wanted before going along with this… He said the parking facilities belong to the taxpayers and they will bear the “brunt” of this…He acknowledged the discussions made by the Comm. but said he felt they made their decisions without enough information and are “shooting from the hip”… He was concerned how this was going to impact the taxpayers… He said he could not recommend the suspension program followed up by saying it was a “moot point” anyway after the Comm. went ahead on it in the interim… Yann Brandt stated he appreciated his opinion but this was what the Comm. gave to them and they needed to get back to recommending it or not…Ben acknowledged that but went on to ask Jeff Bowman if he received any “substantive information” to look at …Jeff replied the Comm. had spoken about the number of empty storefronts  and that why..HUH?… Peanuts Wick began in his usual bombastic style asking when it became our job to fill 11 locations …He asked Jeff about any other municipalities without parking requirements…Jeff answered he did not know…(at the RDtable meeting the evening before it was discussed and West Palm Beach was brought up) …Peanuts went on to say this really bothered him as he went off on 101 Ocean not paying for parking anymore from what he understood took place at the previous evening’s roundtable …He pointedly asked Jeff about that after going off as well on the Chamber of Commerce working with business elsewhere in his experience vs. in our town…stating it was unfair to the citizens …He asked about other restaurants who pay such as Blue Moon and Benihanna.. Jeff replied he was not prepared to answer Peanuts only prepared to answer the code changes they had before them…technical questions… Yann tried unsuccessfully to inform Peanuts according to staff the only impacted business would be 101 Ocean after staff said they are the only business paying the Town for parking (multiple times the staff asserted this as fact)… He also tried unsuccessfully to state it was no parking req. from a date certain going forth… The Atty. said she did not recommend “attempting” to make something retroactive..Peanuts on a tear said to the Atty. doesn’t this give an undue advantage to new restaurants?..The Atty. responded it’s a different situation …Peanuts wasn’t having any sure that there were more restaurants in the same position as 101 Ocean…Jeff Bowman did not speak up to correct him or retract the staff’s previous assertions… Yann spoke up stating his role this evening as Chair and the need to address the structural aspects and to stay on course with what they were asked by the Comm. to do …Peanuts sniped and made a point of order saying he still had the floor …He said he would go for debate after the questioning and comments were done… Yann asked about the removal of the beer gardens and Jeff said they were never part of the code and therefore removed ..housekeeping …Yann then asked for any debate as well as any additions / subtractions of the red portions… Peanuts quickly suggested they don’t go to zero parking requirements and strike J altogether..He was not prepared to put this through …or he suggested a no confidence vote…He veered off to talk about each board member being appointed by a different Comm. and disagreeing with the Comm. who appoints them…He spoke of Comm. Clottey who appointed him and how she told him they needed people who disagreed on the boards… Eric stated in light of Peanuts said he again wanted to know of any correlation with the Master Plan and likened what they were doing to Obama’s extending the the tax cuts for 2 years ..that we’ll fight about it for 2 years ..It’s “premature” he said to entice restaurateurs …revitalize restaurants…If it’s just a “moratorium” for a 2 yr . period “I wouldn’t invest.”.. (BC-Case in point made the evening before by the “minority on the Comm.”)… Ben said he has an “issue” with J. and  would people would be “grandfathered” in…He said they would be ..He concurred that most of the changes they were being asked to make were housekeeping and for consistency …He said J. (suspension program) was something new and he supported striking J. and sending the rest to the Comm… Yann replied that he could see where this was going ….(no support from P & Z for parking suspension program) … He would like to see if go through …He addressed the application that was included when it became a 3 year program and asked for it to be an addendum possibly attached to getting the business tax license requirement…The Atty. said it could be given with them but she did not recommend them as one application… Yann stated he disagreed with the application as a whole…He spoke of the 3 year period and that he was still for a full exemption with no end time…due to the fact that no government is permanent ..He spoke of the amount of time the administration spent fighting that exemption and that raised the ire of Asst. TM Bud Bentley who was introduced by Colleen (Devel. Dept. ) as Ben Bentley…Bud said he took “umbridge” with the comments he was hearing of the administration’s role in this process …Bud reiterated his and staff’s actions after the Nov. Comm. Rdtable and that they took the direction to be a “stimulus” program to fill storefronts until we have a “parking problem” … a “temporary program”… The Comm. did not focus on when it would end and the staff chose to “concentrate” on that for “business property rights”…HUH?… He said they only took direction from the Comm. and had no problem if they wanted to call it an “exemption” program vs. a “suspension” program…HUH?…Yann replied he did not mean to “editorialize” ..but at the first roundtable it was “clear”it was an “exemption” and it came back as a “suspension” program…He also told Bud “not to worry” he had “support” for the “suspension program”… (BC- unfortunately)….Peanuts said they should pass this forward with an amendment …He made a motion to pass it approved…Ben made the 2nd… to strike J. and make it equitable for the entire town…Peanuts stated strike J. and the Comm. can take their recommendation or “tell us to stick it.”..(BC- the Commission should tell them to stick it!) ….Ben said he agreed with that..The Asst. TM said the motion was to strike J. (suspension program)… Peanuts re-stated it as a confirmation… The Atty. cautioned them the way they were proposing it there would be no parking standard for restaurants… and told them to leave the black portion to accomplish what they wanted ..the status quo …Peanuts withdrew his motion…Ben withdrew the 2nd.. The TAtty. walked Peanuts through what he wanted to do…Yann reiterated it removed the strike-thrus/deletions from J. ….Peanuts made the amendments…it passed 3-1 Yann voted no..The rest of the item also had a 3-1 vote with Yann voting no…

The board ended with comments before going to a 10 minute break to deal with the remaining parking items and signage..As expected Peanuts did some  PR and threw out thanks to those who attended his Marie White Christmas event held the previous Sat. ..Eric followed suit and addressed the viewers he hoped were watching while acknowledging he wished they came to the hall…Ben also wished all a happy holiday and reiterated his standpoint on the topic just voted on…He did a Roseann by saying he was for growth and business and stated during the campaign the Commissioners talked of a plan and not piecemealing and he saw this as leading us down the wrong path..Yann thanked the staff for all the work they supplied to aid in the decision making process..He also spoke to those watching and stated this was an advisory board and that in this capacity they were presented with items “one-by-one” thus they are piecemealed He stated they are not part of the MPSC ..and again said he was disappointed where the parking has gone ..He acknowledged that’s governing..and said all those who have been fighting for such a change in a parking requirements should have been here …He said “politics is not a spectator sport” ..He spoke of the Comm. being “flexible” and acknowledged also the change that happened between meetings as such… He spoke of his father (Uli Brandt) and ow he encountered negative remarks and accusations after pushing forward change for hotels being only to benefit himself… (Yann has been accused of the same despite the fact there is no truth to the rumors of Mugs coming to LBTS)… He wished all season’s greetings and asked for a motion to adjourn…

BC-This portion of the meeting closed with no public comment made due to no one being in the hall to comment…Were they all at the Village Grille Holiday party instead? …I must make the point that this issue is still not over as the individual building/business/restaurant owners could take it upon themselves to come and identify themselves as speakers have done in the past when coming to the podium and prefacing that their comments are their’s alone and not associated with a particular board or committee they may serve on in order speak up at 1st/2nd reading (Jan . 11/25th) and change the lackluster 3 yr.suspension program agreed to at the Dec. 7 & 14th decision made by the Comm.to a full elimination of the parking requirements by offering up their substantive long- held point view and business expertise …If the Chamber believes it must remain non-political it does not pass go on this issue …in this writer’s opinion…This is business related issue…A former member of the Chamber board told me long ago he thought the Chamber should have a seat on any Business Development Committee put in place… This sure seems like a precursor to such a committee….The Chamber and businesses should have shown a continued presence at all of these meetings after they came to the Nov. P & Z meeting as well as making the same effort to promote the exemption as the Administration did to take it down a full notch to become a 2 yr. parking suspension program that ultimately became 3 yrs. with a compromise offered up by VM Dodd on Dec. 7th……Each one should come to make the same statements made by VM Dodd/Comm. Sasser/ Yann Brandt /this writer and even P & Z member Eric Yankwitt at this meeting …a moratorium will not produce the same result… 527 parking spaces can indeed be filled by having a destination known for high quality restaurants…It’s the equivalent to West palm Beach having a parking garage in place prior to lifting their parking requirement as put forth by Mayor Minnet at the Rdtble…in this writer’s opinion…The taxpayers will be served by such a change …not burdened… The idea perpetuated that the taxpayers will lose revenue if this exemption is enacted is a truly mind boggling…. A turn-around of this ordinance is definitely something that can and should happen….letting this slip away or pass in its current form would really be a shame …

They took a break to set-up for the workshop to follow….

…………………..

SOMETIMES THE BULL CAN BE EASILY LIFTED ….

After a break the board came back to the table to have their second workshop dealing with other parking items as well the signage code that was tabled at November’s workshop in order to have enough time to fully discuss it …

The Staff provided synopsis for the workshop….

The second part of the evening provided a sharp contrast to the first… as Yann  Brandt finally managed to keep everyone on the task before them…They swiftly dealt with item 1 and the remaining parking changes …including off street and shared parking …Yann did inquire about the pier parking lot and the required spaces vs. used spaces and asked for it to be looked into…For  a moment it seemed Jeff Bowman was not getting what Yann was asking for and that Yann had no support in the request until Peanuts Wick surprisingly got it and he too was interested in the answers being provided … Yann also addressed the Hotel/ motel issue of the ration requirements currently in place touching on Comm. Clottey’s desire for some relief for their parking requirements.. (she addressed this at the Nov. roundtable when the parking exemption was brought up) … Time-shares will be included in the research provided from staff  for the next meeting ….There was consensus and no objections on the above and they moved on to the signage … The staff provided the matrix Yann had asked for at the Nov. meeting …a list of signs …the sign types along with what is allowed by zoning district as well as any restrictions….Yann put forward that they have discussion on what is prohibited vs. permitted and restrictions on the permitted signage…He asked if there were any prohibited signs listed that should be permitted… Peanuts wanted to know why pole signs were allowed and then not allowed …Yann responded there was  1999 ord. to allow them and it was changed in 2001..to become non-conforming ….He asked Jeff Bowman if those years were correct and Jeff responded they seemed so.. Ben asked about looking at the Master Plan from 2005 and then see what the changes will be from the MPSC … Eric asked as well why the change from permitted to prohibited as well as commenting it was another item that will live or die again asking why they had no background supplied on this…Yann responded it was most likely politics in play for the change ..Eric said he needed a “basis of understanding”…The Atty. said it was most likely aesthetic issues along with the non-conforming designation …Yann said the MPSC is important but they are not on the same page as the P & Z with this code at this point i n time ..He spoke of the board deciding which ones (signs) they want to see at this point …Peanuts brought up sandwich signs being prohibitive and that he wanted them to be allowed especially for those businesses that are far from the street on Comm. Blvd… He went on to talk about the setbacks and how they hinder these businesses …Yann asked pertinent questions of Peanuts such as the hours of uses …the location ….and how many based on what….They concurred and in the end they decided they would be permitted but temporary and brought inside at the end of the business day.. per business door front… The consensus was also for staff to take care of the particulars concerning Right of Way issues…Yann stated permitted signs would be pole and sandwich signs …He asked about pylon signs..Peanuts passed and Eric asked what balloon and bench signs were…Jeff said he could read the definitions from the code and did so… Balloon signs were inflatable and bench signs were on benches … BC- no kidding!… Peanuts wanted to know why we did not allow for bench signs citing that it could generate revenue …He added it should not include benches on the beach…. Yann asked the Atty. about the Broward County Transit benches and who owned them ..The Atty. said she did not have enough information Yann said benches would be moved to permitted… BC- At the pre-bid meeting a few years back former Asst. TM Olinzock stated he turned down free bus shelters offered to the Town due to advertising that would be allowed…At that time it was news to me as well as several sitting Comms. as it was never brought in front of the Comm. to discuss…Yann said they had four items to discuss… Eric asked about the string lights around windows ..They were talking about holiday lights not being allowed all year long… Ben said this was mostly housekeeping and conforming with the law..It would be helpful to separate them which would lead to less discussion… They finished up by deciding pole signs would be allowed for the RM 25/RM50  hotels/motels but not condos…Peanuts responded to Eric who asked why he wanted the distinction the signs were to draw business… Ben concurred…The staff had no comment when asked for any by Yann and there was consensus … Pylon signs produced agreement to not allow them from Yann, Peanuts and Eric…Ben disagreed stating they were more costly and he liked to have a variety of signs..He was the only yes vote so Pylon signs would be on the prohibited list… Sandwich signs had consensus as stated above to be permitted and classified as temporary signage in the B1 and B1A districts …for as long as they want them…Yann then turned to the public comment made by Kilwin’s owner concerning the code not allowing for more than 3 colors for a sign.. Jeff stated it did not include white as a background color… After discussion on changing it Eric spoke up about going for a variance if a changed from the code was desired….Jeff responded the cost for a variance was $900 for just the application fee…Eric was not sympathetic to that cost and stated a business owner takes his risks when he takes his his risks …Ben agreed ..Yann pushed it further and said the background color was subjective…why not allow that white was not considered a color no matter where it was located on the sign…and he would like to see that stricken ..Be added they could remedy it by saying whatever background color used was not counted in the number allowed …Yann said why not just allow four colors…Unfortunately the meeting was stopped by a sign that appeared stating this event ended…It was back on shortly thereafter .. but this writer did not watch the rest ….I was informed that number of colors allowed for signs was left as-is along with the bench signs not being allowed and a change was made for menu signs which were increased in size from 4ft. to 6 ft…

The meeting is archived …and took 2 hrs 15min. according to the Town website…which again showed how well it was chaired by Vice Chair Yann Brandt …

http://lbts.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

more to come…

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