By Mayor Joy Cooper
HALLANDALE BEACH -
Approval Of 2000 Ocean Drive Land Was Not So Easy
Last week, the city commission took final action on the approval of 2000 Ocean Drive. Land use and development issues are the most complex issues the commission must legislate over. We as a commission have a legal obligation to address issues based on the expert testimony on the applications, not the feelings of the public or our own feelings. Some approvals are more complex but they do come down to the facts and as the judges, we must weigh in on them. 2000 Ocean Drive was not a cut and dry approval like some. There were many parties involved and plenty of politics.
This approval started back when the plat was approved over six months ago. However the property was approved for a 144 room hotel back in 2005. Many of the board members of both condominiums were actually involved in that approval just like this one. It was not easy, but everyone worked together understanding the old hotel needed to come down and something was going to replace it.
Since I have been elected, we have adopted policies that require developers to work within the community and with their neighbors to resolve concerns over their plans. In 2005, both boards worked together to negotiate an agreement. The building then was a lower wider building that started west at 16 stories excluding the parking lot and stepped down to the east. The land use applied, stayed with the land as “up to 50 units to the acre.” The plat was approved since by law we cannot remove the land designation that included units and the PDD or we would be sued.
The developer wished to build 64 residential units not the hotel units. They also wanted to build a tall skinny building rather than a short fat building and move the building east. Moving the building east did help them, but also helped the surrounding buildings. The building on each side would be looking out at roof top amenities deck and not directly into a building. Moving it east also eliminated shadow impacts. The building creates less traffic, less water and sewer impacts and does not increase beach erosion since there is an existing seawall. This keeps the building in line with its neighbors.
Many issues were addressed and the Hemispheres board voted to approve a negotiated agreement to cover impacts for the construction of the building. Parker Plaza would not agree. The approval was denied on a 3-2. It was than deferred on 4-1 so that Parker would have more time to work out differences. The developer agreed to move the building 14.11" inches east and 4.9" inches north.
Hemispheres agreed to this change but Parker still would not agree unless they were paid up front for their agreement. This was even before the developer received state approvals or a building permit. The city commission passed the development on a 3-2. The developer will be required to go over and above the state environmental approvals to address residents’ issues. They are required to conduct a wind study and heat reflectivity study. There are many residents that did not want anything built that would block their views but as a commission we must also look at the property owner’s rights and the law.
In other business, the city commission acted on my recommendation to hold interviews to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Vice Mayor Alex Lewy for seat number 2 effective on May 11th, 2014. We directed staff to issue a Notice of City Commission Vacancy to provide an opportunity for those interested parties to submit an application for consideration.
Pursuant to the City’s Charter Section 3.09: Vacancies; forfeiture of office; filing of vacancies “… (3) Filing of vacancies. (a) Appointment. Whenever there is a vacancy in the commission and there are less than twelve (12) months remaining before the next regular city of general election, the commission, by a majority vote of the remaining members, shall choose a successor to serve until that election…If a majority vote cannot be reached within thirty (30) days of the creation of the vacancy, then the vacancy shall be decided by lot…”
The individual appointed to Commission Seat No. 2 will serve for the remainder of the term which will end on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 (date of the next Municipal General Election).
To apply, submit a Letter of Interest supported by any of the following: Resume, Letters of Recommendation or Personal Biography. Please submit the documents to the Office of the City Clerk between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The deadline to submit applications to the City Clerk’s Office shall be no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 400 South Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, Florida 33309 or via email to: City_Clerk_Office@hallandalebeachfl.gov
In accordance with Section 3.01 of the City's Charter, all applicants shall be duly qualified “…electors in the City who have resided continuously within the City for at least one (1) year preceding the date of the election…” (In this case, the date of application).
Candidate interviews will be conducted for Commission Seat No. 2 vacancy during a Special City Commission Meeting on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers, 400 South Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, Florida 33309. All applicants and interested parties are encouraged to attend.
We wish Alex congratulations on his new position with AIPAC. I hope he continues to remain involved with our city as he has been a great, positive influence for moving our city forward.
As always feel free to reach out to me with your questions, concerns and ideas to make our city a better place. I can be reached at my office number: (954) 457-1318. You can call or text me on my cell at: (954) 632-5700. Or you can visit my web-site at: www.mayorjoycooper.com.