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ABACOA LBTS 2005 TOWN PLAN PRESENTATION…#1….

THE 2005 ABACOA STUDY….

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A 2005

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The Florida Public Officials Design Institute at Abacoa (the Design …. Design Institute Report April 2005. 6. Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea History

EXCERPTS…

Issues Related to Redevelopment in the Study Area
Education and Change
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea still provides the unique experience of being a seaside village, an
anomaly in South Florida. Although uniqueness is a tremendous quality, it sometimes serves as
a precursor to extinction. Beachfront towns, which are highly dependent on the
tourism/hospitality industry, must occasionally update or reinvent. This ritual is not an
infringement on the identity of the town, but rather a means of embracing and celebrating its
most unique characteristics. It is the process by which tourist-driven economies ensure their
sustainability.
As is the case with all great towns, the residents of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea will fight to maintain
its sense of place. They realize that they are a part of something special and are leery of
change. Town officials understand this and feel that remembrance should be part of the process
of enhancement and evolution. In the 2004 Master Plan they declare as their intended goal,
“Local, regional, and national recognition as the prettiest town in America.” They believe that for
this to occur, citizens will have to accept some change.
Educating all parties involved in or affected by a design
decision is always important. This process will be
instrumental to the outcome of two issues that the town is
currently debating: (1) expanding the existing Commercial
District, and (2) increasing its current building height limit.
To alleviate fears and prevent misinformation, town
officials must wage a strong, fact-based educational
campaign. These are significant issues involving
numerous stakeholders.
Impediments to Change: Lot Size, Height Limits,
A number of the town’s planning issues relate to lot size. The majority of downtown lots were
platted in 1924, at widths of either 50 feet or 25 feet. This practice gave rise to small, mom-and-
pop style motels and timeshares. Currently, much of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s downtown
business emanates from its small motels and time shares. These businesses are located in the
town’s Beach Village District (as defined by the 1999 Redevelopment Plan map), which is part
of the study area for the Design Institute. Allowing for their demise would severely threaten both
the town’s character and revenue stream. As such, the town would like to see its lodging
industry maximize its potential.
This is a complex issue for the town. For many, ownership and operation of a motel/timeshare
simply provides a means for living year-round on a beach. However, mortgages are high and
profit margins are low, making it difficult to finance improvements. There are also problems
associated with turning a profit on such small lots. Such difficulties deter large chains and deep-
pocketed investors. Typically, the solution would involve acquiring more land or increasing the
height of a proposed building. The former is difficult to amass, while the latter is limited by Town
code. As noted above, the Town is considering an increase to the height limit in the Commercial
District. This change would allow proposed structures to add a fifth floor and dramatically
increase potential floor space.
The four story height limit is part of the Town’s charter.
A referendum is required to enact change. Currently,
town officials feel that this provision restricts many
development opportunities. However, they also
recognize the complexities of the issue and the need
to study it further.

1) the 44-foot height limit, which
constrains new hotel development and leaves
replacement of older hotels with townhomes and
condos as the only options for redevelopment; (2) the
decline of the hospitality industry;

(1) the 44-foot height limit, which
constrains new hotel development and leaves
replacement of older hotels with townhomes and
condos as the only options for redevelopment; (2) the
decline of the hospitality industry;

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