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Here’s The Scoop … Sept. 21, 2010 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea A1A Project Public Informational Meeting/Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting … If You Can’t Say Somethin Nice …

September 22, 2010 by Barbara

DON’T SAY NOTHIN AT ALL … NAHHHH…..

Dear Readers … I sat at my computer and I watched the Sept. 21 A1A Project Public Information Meeting – MPSC Monthly Meeting held in 2 parts… As I watched I was at times sorry I wasn’t there to see up close the project renderings …plans…and sets of sheets for the landscape and hardscape…Sorry I wasn’t there to see what those approximately dozen+ residents were looking at that made them all save one state this was great …It changed the mind of one as he stated later on in part two and produced only minor concerns over materials used (pavers vs an epoxy stamp process for the crosswalks ) and the location of a bus stop as well as the lack of a few more such shelters at the present time…

One thing I did appreciate right out of the gate and have already taken advantage of during the approx. half hour down time for us the viewing audience at 6:30 while the group broke off into one-on-one questions and answers…

Asst. Town Manager Bud Bentley offered up at this meeting and at the start of the MPSC was the ability for any interested party to send him an e-mail and request the plans…and the small sets of plans he had that covered both the landscape and hardscape for the project that will not go out for bid until next spring and may begin the following summer … Want to partake … e-mail Mr. Bentley at …[email protected] …Make sure to ask for what you want and include your e-mail address …

One point to make to the Asst. Town Manager … The street at the north end of the A1A project is PINE not Pines… which it must state on the new framed map of LBTS now on the wall in Jarvis Hall (this writer blew up the map 8 years ago from a Town copy and has had it next to my front door ever since)..

The meeting began with Mr. Bentley explaining his relatively new role working with the Town and PBS&J …He then introduced two representatives including “lead PBS&J” guy Harry Belton Senior Landscape Architect…Readers will remember Harry because  his name was mentioned during the PBS&J inquiry brought forward by now Comm. Sasser concerning the company and e-mails that showed correspondence between Harry and JohnO the former Asst. TM at the time…Also present from PBS&J was Kevin … Harry spoke of what would be the components of the FDOT project landscape…aesthetics …and some hardscape …some decorative features …such as the crosswalks which he explained would not be pavers …which is no longer allowed per the FDOT and would be an epoxy process that looks like stamped but isn’t stamped…Later on the Asst. TM told the audience if you head toward the airport the same material is at the 17th street causeway…and has been n place for approximately 5 years…holding up nicely… Pavers will be used in the sidewalks for uniformity to mimic what we see in the south end such as Seagrape Drive…

BC-Many unstable walkers do not like the pavers and have stated so …but aesthetics trump stable walking surfaces…we suppose…Not known by this writer not having seen the renderings…will we also be stuck with grates around trees that also impede walking area in sidewalks as they do in the south?…

Harry Belton continued touting the icons to be found at the bus stops…and signalized intersections… There will be new benches FDOT approved high grade uniform in style for A1A …He did not answer the material used when asked…just that they were low maintenance (Town maintained) and better than the 3 styles we have presently… …They will be accompanied by shade trees at the stops…Later on Comm. Vincent added that the pads for the bus stops will be put in now for future shelters to be place on them…Right no there is only one bus shelter planned …by Publix across on A1A and Pine…(the other is near Commercial west of A1A…

BC-A Comm. informed this writer from looking at the displays the “pads” are low in level…stamped and will be before each bench…Not mentioned was as it stands now in the CIP chart Bus Shelters are not listed under year 1-5 2011-2014…OOPS!…

After this short opening came the questions…as stated above and also on where bus stops will be?..Answer was Broward County Transit makes those decisions and they will remain where they are with perhaps a shift here and there to accommodate the pads…benches and trees…One concern that arose from a resident of Royal Coast was the apparent move of the bus stop there to be in front of their building…Also stated by Harry was a few bus stops may be on both sides of A1A…

BTSFuture Editor Mark Brown asked about anything being put up or taken down on private property (condos are concerned) and was told by Harry that nothing would be touched on private property…but if planting was on the ROW maybe…Their intention is to preserve and add  Mark also asked about the status and procedure …any citizen objections and where we are in the process…Bud Bentley replied we are in the middle and recapped the meeting the evening before (prev. post) where he presented the Village of SRLakes/SRCenter/Pompano Town limits impact that needed to be addresses  after changes were made in 2007…He relayed they are now in the “field test” portion…which was this public input meeting  for reaction and any interference seen to anyone’s private property that needs to be considered and/or altered …He spoke of the scope…no major change in sidewalks…no money to do so…and stated this was the people’s chance to say they hate the project …and give that feedback to the MPSC after this meeting and the one-on-one with PBS&J reps… He also answered the costs 58,000 design…647,000 with 200,000 is the Town’s portion…

BC- we pay the whole amount and then await reimbursement after the fact….

Bud also gave a heads up to the types of landscape being specified in the plans …

More questions were about locations…interference with viewing oncoming traffic on A1A …That was met with a response that FDOT is stringent about site lines at intersection…This was from the only resident who thought the north end was fine the way is is…and asked about the south end…which he feels needs the attention…Mr Bentley stated there was not much that can be done in the south due to backout parking and very little ROW…He also explained once again why it was from “Pines” north and spoke of the 2001 agreement for the annexation …Answered as well was who paid for the maintenance and watering…The owners of the adjacent property as they are doing now… and the new trees will have warranties from the contractors and will be “established” before they sign off…

BC- While I believe the Condos will take care of the property..I do believe as posted previously the Comm. changed the responsibility after the Washingtonia/Seagrape inequity found in who waters and maintains ROW property…

More answers were trash bins will be at each  bus stop and bench …as well as the time table stated above about the bid going in in next spring and explaining FDOT has a multitude of these bids and we will be in that cycle of bids before it is awarded with a start time they hope will be summer 2011… The project should take approx. 180 days…will not cause any closing of driveways and will be done in sections…should go fast…as long as we don’t run into storms and any plant availability problems …

Edmund Malkoon stated he believes that Pompano north to Atlantic does have plans to continue the A1A improvements …something the Town and PBS&J said they did not think was planned prior to this evening….

That finished the general questions and the Asst. TM encouraged the people to speak their concerns one-on-one and to then get them on the record at the MPSC to follow…The feed went off…

At 7 pm the MPSC began with the full committee present… Fair warning….This is where the “Can’t say somethin nice” comes into play…

Before Chair Paul Novak called the role one member could be heard to say she received an extensive package and did not know who it was from …After everyone stated they were in attendance Edmund added last names which he spelled out for the “minute take” we are paying for for the boards and Sandra reminded members to say their names each time they spoke for the “minute taker” (more about the “minute taker to follow”)…Paul stated Development Director Jeff Bowman is now the liaison for the committee and the Town…

BC- The minute taker is being paid $5,000 to take verbatim minutes for the boards…and so we are paying an outside person to again cover the verbatim presentation of the month already done at a  commission meeting ie… Stormwater Master Plan (see below) /next mo. CIP per Bentley’s remarks …big mistake… Also, Readers know this writer’s opinion of Director Bowman…to add to his responsibilities with yet another board when he fails so miserably at P & Z …another big mistake…in this writer’s opinion)…

Paul said he would open the meeting for public input after the 6 pm meeting by turning the mike over to Bud Bentley…Bud encouraged input for the record and to repeat was said one-on-one…In the end 7 residents came forward…all were for the project…They stated any concerns they had were answered and they looked forward to unifying the Town in the look and adding to the landscape… This included on former naysayer who was bowled over by the renderings and now thought it was wonderful… One potential for trouble might come from the Royal Coast and the planned bus stop in front after the residents are informed by one owner in the building…Also Bud Bentley spoke of being available to meet with condo boards an their landscapers as he had with SRC’s Landscape supervisor Jonathan who was in attendance and provided some required tweaking to the the contract which Bud said would be done on the maintenance question of the ROW…

There were no other comments and Paul concluded with stating 7 had come forward the response was that “everybody is for this project” …adding that the MPSC was for it…it started in 2001 and it’s 2010 so it’s time “to put it to bed”… He also stated any time someone offers you 400,000 for a 200,000 investment you should take it…

BC- I respectfully disagree each time these statements are made with grants…Taxpayers pay at both ends…

Helene Wetherington asked about the signage  and the entryways……Bud stated signage was not included  and that the Town has just found out FDOT has new rules/regulations for way-finding signs that might make it easier for us in dealing with signage for the A1A lot etc…

BC- the CIP for entryway is nowhere in the chart for years 1-5 FY 2011-2014…any longer…

Bud also answered her questions that the portals are not FDOT ROW and outside the scope …He added the portals were just discussed with the Town Manager…on the CIP and would be discussed at the next meeting…He explained the CIP and the role the MPSC could play in the priorities…

BC- The only portal on the CIP is in the Downtoen core for Stormwater drainage …(prev. post)…Other than that the only other talk of portals was contained in the report for needed repairs to be done to the existing portals ..(prev. post)…Eng. Jim Barton added the possibility of working one in at the south end of town with repairs to Flamingo..but that is not in the CIP … Also again…north end entry to beaches are mostly private property …

Helene and John Panitsas and James Rogers could be heard on mike to asked about the 6 pm meeting and not getting notice…asking if it was advertised and admitting not watching the Comm. meetings…  WOW!… The 6 pm meeting was repeatedly brought to the Town in every media available…

UPDATE: I received an e-mail from Member James Roger’s wife clarifying that she and her husband do indeed watch all the Comm. meetings…Sorry for the wrong interpretation of agreement from her husband in appearing to concur and nice to know they are well informed!…

Paul answered they could have Jeff call them with info…That’s ridiculous… sitting on a board make it your business to watch the meetings…check the website and see the calendar for Jarvis hall…

This is where this writer’s dander really went up as stated before… We now know from members of he committee that staff set the agenda (one of the few time I have ever agreed with former Comm. candidate/ MPSC member Marjorie Evans who stated after the presentation the committee should be setting their own agendas ……so you all know it had to be bad… for that to happen…The agendas were set  by the committee in the past …just as the minutes were done by the committee…go back to that as well…) Set on the agenda was the Stormwater Maser Plan and a repeat of what was presented to the Commission….by Town Engineer James Barton with a power point also seen before… Why?… The MPSC can do nothing with the info…Why not inform them to watch whatever archived video of the Comm. meeting on the Town’s website and save the taxpayers money?…

Again Marjorie asked if the Commission had already passed this and what was the committee’s task?… Bud answered it was an ongoing process …stating the Comm. gave conceptual approval to the top 7 projects the evening before…(prev. post)…

BC- I respectfully disagree with the Asst. TM…no direction or acceptance was given by the Comm….. They never returned to do so after the budget…

Mr Barton went through the “whole enchilada” of stormwater projects  …with a spin on it ….in this writer’s opinion due to no Comm. input ….

One amusing moment came when he showed the cost on the powerpoint and quickly added “We’re not going to worry about money right now.”… He spoke of the priority projects …going down the list and explaining what was entailed …drainage…a possible sea wall…french drains …injection wells …as well as alleyways…(he did mention turning Aruba’s alley into a pedestrian access to the beach!…OUCH!)…. He also spoke of the swale program…education and Town taking the swales back…as other municipalities do…or else… Neighborhoods such as Silver Shores and streets with parking such as Poinciana/Bougainvilla will be impacted as well as most other older areas where the swales are paved or planted as extensions of peoples properties… He spoke of ongoing maintenance for the sand that will clog the pipes that will be required…

Questions after from embers were personal on what affected them in Bel Air…

BC- Was that worth the cost of this exercise in a repeat presentation…Nope!…

With no more questions.. for Mr. Barton…Paul turned toward the MPSC and old business bringing forth the voted on but never installed weather station Cindy Geesey introduced before the  Pavilion was built… It will have to go to the Commission for it to come to fruition Paul stated …what they will do going forth to be installed…He passed around the picture of it… They turned to the MPSC and what they will do going forward as a committee… With sunshine (more on this to follow)…Sandra spoke of breaking down into groups as was done in the past…Edmund spoke of the visioning process set in the budget for $50,000 (starts Oct. 2011)… and public meetings…There was some back and forth about how to revise the 2005 existing Master Plan…and Paul announced Walter Keller would be coming to speak to them about what stays and what goes …

BC- how about a brief outline given to members and skip the visit$$$$ to the committee from Walter for now?….

Helene dropped a major bombshell at the end!…She stated as she had when she sat down that she received an extensive e-mail of comments about the Master Plan again not knowing who sent it… Fellow member John Panitsas said it was from him.. some of the others stated they did not get it…WOW!… Major concerns of a possible Sunshine violation here!… Members should not be sending comments outside of the meetings to each other…This writer hopes it contained the Do not reply on it and that those who received did not reply or discuss… This e-mail business from this committee has got to stop!…It was never done in the past…for good reason…

In the end it was decided they would go ahead with the Master Plan and El Mar Drive despite any vision meetings and charettes…

BC- In looking back at the past CRA minutes etc… There should be no problem with the MPSC working in tandem with the Vision meeting for a CRA or something akin to that…In 2004-2005…the minutes show the Master Plan was in the works as well as the Economic Task Force and public meetings…. Better that than making the MPSC essentially a second “appointed” Town Commission hearing the same presentations being heard by the elected Commissioners… Let the MPSC make their own agendas…break into groups ….and get down to business…Let them request who they need to come to meetings…go back to keeping their own minutes while preserving the archived video for any reference to what occurred …and forget the Asst. TM CIP presentation next month…

I’ll end with “somethin nice” …. I still believe it can all come together….and will address that in a post to come… “Drawing A Line In The Sand”….

Archived video of meetings….Town website link …. http://lbts.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

more to come…

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