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Here’s The Scoop…6/16/09…LBTS Master Plan Steering Committee…”Mickey Mouse”….”Gearin’ Up” In 2010….”The Oriana Million”……”Remember Mainstreet”….”Flower Baskets”…”Cross Overs”…”Pedestrian Malls”….”Buying Properties On El Mar”…”Parking Garages”…Parking Referendum”….An Evening With Marc Furth…And …An Article Never Published….Point/Counterpoint………..

WHICH CAME FIRST………

Dear Readers at the June LBTS-MPSC monthly meeting Former Commissioner -MC-BFF /Town & VFD Photog/ Editor of the BTSTimes/Coordinator of the 2009 July 4th event/and owner Town Hall East-MPSC member Furth …was quite talkative…reflective and (some say) revisionist on a variety of topics…In this post we’ll address the agenda items under Old Business…The Overlay District…and New Business which moved to the Mainstreet Project… A proposal for the Town to buy up property on El Mar Drive……Parking and parking garages…(Oh me , oh my!)….

Discussion began as each member reflected on on the A.I. El Mar Design Project…the hits and the misses in the process..Each member was cognizant of a good program that was enacted for the second time (first was the successful pavilion competition) that went array…as it entered the award stage and “the ball was dropped” resulting in a “Mickey Mouse”finale with the Commission.. …MPSC Chair Paul Novak spoke about the Chen & Assoc. presentation discussed at the prior MPSC meeting (5/19/09) and presented to the Commission by Paul and P&Z Chair Peanuts Wick…saying it went well and their job was done…Vice Chair Sandra Booth passed…Mike San Miguel said he missed the last meeting was not prepared on the topic and voiced his continued concern for the lack of lighting…Louis Dvorak said he thought the discussion was informative, interesting and that Chen & Assoc. did a good job on the drawing…Paul added it will ultimately go for a vote in March …

Former Mayor Wardlaw’s wife and Furth BFF- Maryann ” I got kinda left with an empty feeling on it. Empty only because there’s this thing that happens between us and then there’s this time thing that happens, you know. I watched the commissioners talk about it and whatnot. But I know there’s, then they realize that they’re going to the March election that we have time, it’s going to get heated it’s, we’re gonna get right back into it again. But I think with the gap you know, I sort of feel like we got dropped out in space, okay, this is what we did but I’m not sure when it really gets down to what we did was all that, gonna influence. I don’t know I ah, ah had an uneasy feeling watching them. But I know it’s gonna get heated and it’ll get into full gear so, it’s one of those subjects that has a tendency to that.”

BC- In other words… the Mc-Gang is “gearin’ up”!…No Overlay…no way…no how!…

Marc Furth- ” I know we that we had talked about this before, the only thing I’d like to critique one thing is I did miss the last meeting (July 4th committee meeting public safety complex…prev. post) so I didn’t hear everything about the drawing that we had made up and I was, I would appreciate though that before we presented something to the town that we would have a meeting maybe. I missed that meeting? Did we have a meeting? No, but he [Peanuts] presented the drawing after you had a meeting after, to discuss it. (Paul said Peanuts said the commission wanted to see the drawings ) I thought that should come before the board first before we present it at the town. (Paul said the drawings were not going beck to be changed so, it was fine) But, it would have been nice to have an opportunity to discuss what was on it ”

Marilyn Carr- (also missed the last joint meeting of MPSC/P&Z last month for the July 4th committee meeting) and said the committee did their due diligence..

Paul then went on to ask for ideas on 4 to 5 items to give commission unless there was something more on the overlay…

Marc- ” I have something , I’ll come out with ah, I like Michael’s idea (to deal with lighting on El Mar) I think that some of the problems that we have especially on El Mar Drive are lighting. Now, now um, I think that should be addressed before we even do the, the median area. Now you know we could take that plan that we have and incorporate lighting into and maybe we could do it in stages but I think that maybe the money that they have for the Oriana money and I don’ care if it goes north or south or if it just stays in the south, but I think it would be really nice if that we get some lighting and possibly, I don’t know where it would be the easiest place to put it would be in the median ah, but it could also be on the sidewalks area as well but maybe we could put lighting in the median in that area and continue on with that in the future but I think that would be a good start.”

Paul spoke about the use  …and then sewers and what that entails…Mike added that it was the boards task to present some ideas…and the money coming in from here and there…

Marc-” But then again if, if you know what’s in the Capital Improvement projects, what’s funded you know what you could work on. Something that you know might be a possibility rather than just bringing up something that like we could be working on for months and months and it could just be shelved and it wouldn’t go forward.”

BC- Remember the above statement…as you read on…

Paul spoke about it being a beautification project in the south only..as murmurs could be heard on concurring with this assessment…

Marc- ” You could ask that question again. Even if it’s just on the south side it’s fine,do it on the south side.”

Marilyn asserted that in conversations with Assist. TM Olinzock it was made clear the stipulations for the south end…adding “John” sad they could apply for grant money for the north…Afterward there was conversation on the status of Oriana…with a few saying it had 3 units occupied…Sandra asked a question on the bus shelters …who was responsible for installing them and when…(the Town and it is budgeted now for 2010…although Broward Transit …prev. post had other ideas)…Marilyn went on to talk (once again…a REPEAT for MPSCs)…storefronts…spiffing them up and putting the onus on the store owners themselves…Paul again, as he has in the past discussed the difficulty involved…and the the talk of the MPSC digressed into flower baskets…real and fake.. provided in the past by the Garden Club…and what is happening now at the pavilion with the cigarettes and the flower beds…

Marc-” That’s probably what you need to do you need to bring the merchants together. Remember Mainstreet. Mainstreet program and, and we had a fassad program with the canopies and paint schemes and there was actually funding available. We never got designated as a Mainstreet project so we never made it to the point where we could even ask for that funding to get those grants.”

Paul asked where that funding came from

Marc-“It came um, I guess, you know from something I’m not really 100% sure but i think it came from a national ah,ah Mainstreet organization that actually doled out some money. But you had to be designated as a Mainstreet project and you had to prove that your, you know had blighted areas and, and um, there was all kinds of criteria. You had to hire a ah, professional person to oversee the whole thing and um, and it got political after a while and it died. But ah, we did work at it and we did learn some things about how to you know ah, try to bring the community together as far as the business area and they tried to ah, ah work with the business people to try and beautify it you know cause like, well it was, but you know it, it never went anyplace. Actually it did because we did the ah, pelican square, the first project that came out of that yeah, and we also ah, um, ah we got the design for the, the ah, Commercial Blvd and El Mar, excuse me A1A and Commercial Blvd. for the pavers from the DOT. We put that together with them too, so”

Paul said Pelican square needed some dressing up…and LBTS needed beautification overall with merchants and a nucleus of people participating…More discussion ensued on the flowers..the merchants and possibly having them come to the next meeting…Maryann brought up the “single stream” recycling discussed early on by the board and Sandra gave some info on the progress and Municipal Director Don Prince being on board….Paul brought up his longtime “pet project” to have a pedestrian bridge over A1A by Commercial Blvd…which brought out Sandra’s desire since 2002 to have Commercial Blvd. and El Mar be closed to traffic and become a pedestrian mall…

Marc-” I don’t think that’ gonna happen either, but what could happen though and I’ve been bringing this up since I was a commissioner you can take more of that area and cordon off. You can take the front of that pavilion. Take the um, light pole out and you can take it all the way up to where um, the very western boundary lines of both the pier and Aruba and have them enter in that area, okay and I actually talked to Marchelos brothers a long time ago about that and they were interested in it and also um, um I talked to Peggy about it and they were interested in it because that whole area in front there could be all pedestrian. You could have bollards in front of it to keep people from going any further and the turn around would just be more west. You know and, and it would be a little more area in front of it. But I know that Peggy’s never gonna want it shut down that whole area for parking, I mean for valet.”

Paul told him you have to put the cars somewhere….

Marc-” But maybe we could make it a little bit bigger, you know It could be a place where you could stop and park and let somebody out to go to the beach and pick them up.”

BC- Last year…at this same time Marc would go to the pre-pavilion area and talk of his idea too many times to count with the July 4th committee/ volunteers……It was a topic that was discussed by him the previous summer as well, heard by this writer……So when the pavilion was finally built and the street in front was addressed as an afterthought with the median cut back ( much less than expected) with the Town Manager/ Vice Mayor  feigning ignorance on this Furth concept to Comm. Dodd on the dais asking the questions because it was he who was standing alongside Marc last year hearing this very plan …  this evening it was verified as fact! …..HMMM…

BC-Not done yet Marc went on….and on …and on….

Marc- ” I’d like to make a suggestion to the town that they start buying property. The, the um, property on the south alleyway I hear is for sale. And I, I know ah, ah I believe all the property that the developer owned from the Oriana”

Paul said he believed it was 8 million for the properties.

BC- We just happen to have 8 million + in the Town coffers…HMMMM…

Marc-” No, that would be a bargain. You could get all that property that they own all the way down to the Holiday In?  I heard somebody, 8 million for the whole thing? My point is that right now you could probably buy those properties for half of what they were worth you know 3 years ago and, and and um, you know to be able to put a surface lot again, you know, I know that like you, you [Paul] would like to put a restaurant in one of your places (Paul says a possible tenant, not him)Somebody wants to put it in. But if you had parking you know, additional parking you know um, I think you could bring in ah, a better type of clientel or a business into town. Like, like your place right there. But they don’t have the parking for it, but if you had additional parking behind it you know the town could lease those spaces to somebody that wanted to go into those stores.”

Paul spoke of his belief that there should be no parking requirement to have a restaurant…of allowing restaurants who want to take a chance and open without parking the chance. He said it would encourage business in this town, to get rid of the parking it’s too restrictive…

Marc- ” As long as you write it in their deed or something.that, that they can’t come back in 5 to 10 years from now when the commission changes and say look we have no parking. You know the whole town is run terrible because we have no parking. And you know they throw it all on top of the, the present commission and the town that they need to do something about it. See that’s what they did originally. They didn’t have any parking because you know they had all this off street parking and they just parked wherever they wanted. You know they never saw the problems that were gonna come up. But now you know what the problems are so if you do something like that, and I’m not opposed to that at all because I’d like to see more restaurants.”

Sandra spoke of the Diner By the Sea…and a property by it that would like to go in, but cannot because of the parking…She spoke of traveling naming destinations where the restaurants were standing room only …all with no parking available…She said if someone wants to go to a store or restaurant …they go no matter what…and she said the commission should be asked to look into the parking issue and see the bigger picture….Marilyn concurred based on her own experience in Philadelphia….Paul added that under the current system in LBTS a business is not even paying for designated spaces….it does not make sense he said…

Marc-” I, I would still suggest to the town that they look into more parking you know cause I think it really does benefit all the businesses in town. You know especially restaurants in town, more surface lots, you know ah, ah properties and make another lot. You know there are things that you can do as  well on, on Bougainvilla on the south side of Bougainvilla there is a way to put parking on the inside lane that’s a 3 lane road. That’s in front of your house over there but you, you can add additional parking to areas in town where you can be creative and, and make parking. You know I think that we did that before when I was commissioner. I actually did a couple of different places and uh, we added some parking spaces even if it’s 5 here 6 there whatever it is you know you can add things where you can. You know you look into those things and it helps out everybody.”

BC- That is called “jerry-rigging”…PUN INTENDED….The above piecemeal approach to parking is why towns hire “Engineers and Urban Planners”!…

Paul spoke of the town commission needing to look into this…and the 63 spot that were to be required for the owners of Wings…for a restaurant…saying it was “absurd”…

Marc-” I mean look at it this way too. Let’s say like a hotel. Would you say that, the same thing about a, because hotels don’t normally have parking spaces. Okay, motels do, but hotels don’t. You know so if I wanted to change my place to a hotel and say I want to build 2 more floors because I could actually build 3 stories you know would I be allowed to build 2 more stories and just take the chance that I’m gonna rent to people that come in a cab. Okay, which maybe should be allowed.”

Paul said he thought there was “a little difference between a hotel and a restaurant,people coming to a hotel expect to park”. Marc-” But the thing is like it’s the same thing if, if I had those extra rooms to rent out and I told the people yeah, you can come but there’s no parking.”

Paul- “Well, they wouldn’t come.”

Marc-” Well maybe they will and maybe they won’t”.

Paul- ” I don’ think they will. I wouldn’t! I mean come on, if I’m gonna come to a place for a couple of weeks and I don’t have a parking place, doesn’t make sense to me.”

Marc-” Well, you will if you go to New York City. You know you go to the big city”

Paul- ” But they have a lot of parking facilities there.”

Marc-” It usually costs you more to park your car than to go to the room.”

Paul-” Valet parking”.

Marc-” A lot of people fly to those destinations just to get there in cabs you know.”

Paul-” Parking is an issue all over the world.”…He went on to speak of the shops in town…a space of 3500 sq. ft. being ideal for a restaurant, but unattainable due to the restrictions…He told all of the stores closing and those that will follow….

BC- Paul was very gracious…many held there snickers…and unfortunately this writer laughed out loud!…WOW!…Not over yet…Bazarro World is in full swing…in the next comments by Mrs. Wardlaw…

Maryann Wardlaw-asked if all remembered the valet parking meeting at the church (prev. post) that whole parking valet thing aside some interesting things came out as a result of that. they spurred into some other discussions and as a matter of fact it was mentioned the ah, the properties on the south there I believe somebody had and I believe it was Peggy (Mohler) from the Aruba came prepared I mean with a folder that was unbelievable. Her idea of a parking garage. From the street it looked like, I think she got the idea from Delray.” Paul said Deerfield…”Deerfield,  Okay then but it spurred you know this other conversation to where kinda out of the box thinking we hadn’t bee used to. It might be something that ah.”

Paul said parking garages were built where you cannot tell what they are..with retail below…like the one in Deerfield…and spoke of the costs for a town or a private investor.

BC- OH MY GOSH!…A parking garage…with retail below…”thinking out of the box”…something “we” hadn’t been used to?…HUH?…These very ideas shot down by the CIC-Mc-Furths…and Wardlaws!…WOW!…Mainstreet and Parking garages…all in one night…Double WOW!…

Sandra spoke of a round table with the commissioners…an idea the board all heartily agreed with…..

In the time since there has been a talk of taking the parking issue to referendum…

Public comments were made…first with Comm. Clottey…doing what Comm. Dodd was accused of …offering her sole suggestions…which  in the not so distant past her “gang” called “micro-managing”and “inappropriate” for a commissioner to do ..HMMM….Different strokes for different folks?….YA BETCHA!…

This writer spoke and said I agreed on the ball being dropped on the awards for the A.I. students…by the Commission and the Town (prev. posts)…and also said the parking requirements should go…to revitalize the town and offer the businesses an “olive branch”…sorely needed from this  anti-business majority!…

I end with this…

First my sincere condolences to those Master Plan Steering Committees that came before this one..It is most unfortunate to see the slow ongoing demise of what was once a vital, productive body that produced a plethora of innovative ideas to move forward and revitalize this town…

Second…about that Mainstreet project…an unpublished pre-article..showing quite a different scenario than the one MPSC member Marc Furth presented above……by former MPSC President and LBTS Resident Bob Terrien…

‘Main Street Inc.

Established with a group of business people hoping to help encourage the redevelopment the central district of LBTS. We went to the new town manager Fin Hortin with our requests for help. The year was about 1993. He suggested we use the Main St program.

This program was set up by the State of Florida. There were specific requirements to qualify. If qualified the State would support our program with, some funding but more important with Engineering and state sponsored promotions  The town had to approve the rules, fund, and hire a full time coordinator. There had to be a program with a president, Vice Pres. Treasure. w/ 2 sub committees.

1.  A Design committee and an 2. Economic  Viability Committee. We Had a workshop at Jarvis Hall. The first pres. Was Howard Westin from the Community church. Dick Sorinson became design committee chair, Diane Boutin became the economic chair,

We set up a office in the card room of Jarvis Hall and ran it for about 4 years. Judy Swaggerty was the part time secretary. We did all kinds of fund raising to augment the town funding.

A wish list of things that the members of the workshop proposed became our goals. ( these goals were the same goals that were proposed in about 3 successive workshops over the next 9 years. These goals were also the same ones that the MPSC came up with when we were discussing the Master Plan. Over and over because of the Furths interference deliberately put road blocks to stop any serious progress. We would spend 2 years on a project and than she would come along and say that the stake holders were not consulted, when all the meetings were open and above board. )

Early 1994 Westin resigned and David Biba Chamber president , was elected Pres and I was elect Vice Pres. We went to the commission and requested and received  20 thousand dollars operating expenses in 94.

Sorinson resigned from the design Committee and that is when C Furth was elected chair. The goals went from redevelopment to beautification. In 1995 a delegation went to Tallahassee to request State support. There was certain criteria that to be met to get approved. We all knew this in advance. The delegation, Marc Furth, and 2 others so badly presented our case that they were turned down. The Fl. Main St Rep.called  Biba and suggested that the Chamber be the catalyst for main St.  Biba told the rep. because of the Furths and a few others that were resisting redevelopment of the Business district, the chamber would not work as leader in the Main St Program. (I talked to Biba yesterday to get this Info).

We went on to receive more financial town support from the Commission. $40,000 in 96, and $10,000 in 97.

In 94 (/?), Hortin was fired and Baldwin became town manager. We limped along for several years. At one time we had hired a full time coordinator and a consultant. This Consult and came from Delray where she had considerable influence in that towns Main St prog..

Some where about 97 Swaggerty went to work and found the door to the card room locked. She went to the town hall to see what happened. She was told that all the furniture and supplies were moved to the garage. That main St office was closed. When I asked Baldwin what happened he told me that Bill mason must have done it. I remarked that Bill Mason does not do things with being told.
My theory is that John Yanni got Baldwin to have Mason to close us down because his wife was on the Design committee with C Furth and wanted to put a stop to Main street.’

BC- Sadly it all sounds so familiar….Mainstreet…Heights….Overlay Districts….Elected Officials….Town Events…History…Revisionist History….And the apparent common denominator…seems to have had a lot to say at this MPSC meeting…that’s for sure!…

more to come….

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