Sunday, February 26, 2012

You just can't please some people.

A very bizarre thing happened at the District 1 meeting.  The owner of a bagel cafĂ© in the Cove Shopping Center stood up and complained that the city wasn’t cleaning the sidewalk pavers in front of his store.

These pavers were installed on his property at no cost to him.  The entire shopping center is now attracting a larger number of shoppers very much to the benefit of his business.  CRA Director Keven Klopp said the city cleans and seals the pavers once a year, the rest of the time it is up to the businesses to keep their premises clean.  It’s his shop, his sidewalk.  Duh!!!

 Just to see what he was talking about while I was at the Green Market I walked the entire perimeter of the center looking to see if the pavers were stained in front of all the stores, and how much they might need cleaning. 

What I found was that most sidewalks were clean and neat.  Some had some dirt in front of their benches and tables from people sitting and eating and drinking, but it looked like those places have pride of ownership and clean the sidewalks periodically, so the dirt was not ingrained; except, in front of the bagel shop which was really filthy.  It appeared they were never cleaned by the owner. I wonder if this is indicative of how he keeps his cafe.

 If you care about your business, and want to attract customers, isn’t it just common sense to keep your surroundings, including the sidewalk in front of your business clean and attractive.

Instead of thanking the city for a great job fixing up the Shopping Center, he lets his property become disgustingly filthy and then has the gall to come to a public meeting and complain about it. 

I’m thinking that if someone gave him a sack full of solid gold bricks, he would complain that they were too heavy.  Good Grief!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Exultation in Deerfield Beach

Yippee! There will be no Sea Oats or other plantings on the main beach.  They will be restricted to the mandated areas around the new pier upgrade, and will be non-spreading and non-invasive plants which will not grow out onto the rest of the beach.

How refreshing it is to have a commission that listens to the residents.  OK, they had to be hit over the head, but they did finally listen. 

Why, when first presented with the staff’s idea to plant sea oats and other plantings in areas on the main beach, the commission didn’t respond with outrage and incredibility, I will never know; especially Commissioner Miller, who spends a lot of time at the beach and is supposed to have the ear of the residents, it certainly was my first reaction. 

Again, why wasn’t also, the first reaction, to have a public workshop about this idea to find out what the area residents thought about it? The agenda item wasn’t even a public hearing.

What on God’s green earth could have been their thought process, when shown what sea oats grow into when planted on the sand.  Hmmmm, maybe they thought,

“Let’s see, how can we ruin the economy of the beach and turn it from the most beautiful, accessible people friendly beach in South Florida, into a high brown dune wall, and eventually make it impossible to see the water from the benches and the sidewalk?”

Yup, that must have been it. 

I actually heard the Mayor say it would be a good idea. Joe Miller also had a favorable reaction at first.  It seems the inconvenience of sweeping up some sand after a storm, and the once in 20 years or so mess after a hurricane trumped the beauty and open accessibility of our unique gem of a beach.

Ah, well, all’s well that ends well. 

Thanks to the OSOB committee and the alerted beach residents, they didn’t slip this one past us.

Thanks to the excellent research done by Bill Ganz, who seems to be carrying the entire city on his shoulders, we will continue to be able to enjoy the ocean view while sitting on the beach benches. 

Thanks to alert residents who inundated Joe Miller with solid reasons to keep the beautiful beach as is, we will still be able to spread our blankets on the grass and enjoy the sun without getting sandy.

Thanks to Ben Preston who immediately saw the idiocy of this proposal, we can continue to ride down Ocean Way and drink in the beauty of the ocean.

Thanks to the Mayor and Commissioner Popelsky, who can count, the vote was unanimous.

I truly hope, most likely in vain, that the city will include the residents in all future decisions about the beach, or other publicly owned property. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I heard a disturbing thing at the commission meeting last week.  It seems the city is trying to win a grant of $30,000 to which they will have to add their own matching amount to total $60,000. 

What’s so disturbing about that you might wonder.  That’s better than Publix’s ketchup 2 for 1 sale. 

Well, it’s what Assistant City Manager Keven Klopp said he wanted to do with the money that is disturbing.  He wants to put plantings on our main beach grassy area.  In patches he said.  Not everywhere.

This was tried before, and the public uproar put an end to it. 

This would be a disaster for our lovely beach view.

If you doubt that go to the south end of the beach and look at the dunes there.  The sea oats and other plantings are growing, spreading, vigorously and TALL.  Sit on a bench there or walk on the sidewalk and you see grass, not ocean.

If patches were placed on our main beach it would eliminate places to sit, but worse, the patches will spread to the rest of the beach.  After all sea oats and other plantings of the kind are basically hardy weeds.  We know how well plants grow in our climate.  I stuck a pencil in the ground and it grew.  And, according to regulations, once you put plants on the beach, you will not be allowed to remove them.

Our main beach is what Deerfield Beach is all about.  It is our bragging right, our main attraction, the reason we say proudly, “I live in Deerfield Beach, yes, the one with the beautiful beach.”  “Right, Deerfield Beach, the place where you can sit in the shade of a Palm tree, on a grassy hill and not get all sandy.”

These plantings, as anyone with half a brain would see will not help with the erosion of the beach, the beach is not eroding up along the grass line, it is eroding at the water line.

These plantings will not prevent the sand, on stormy or hurricane days, from blowing across the  grass and road.  The wind is much higher and stronger than the grass so these plantings will not eliminate the need to string the black fabric sand fences.

AND, the damage to the view of our beach would be so devastating to the enjoyment of our beach and our view that it wouldn’t, under any circumstances, be worth the loss.  The cleanup costs are just the price we pay for the beautiful view.

Use the money to put the required plantings around the new pier restoration, we have to put plants in along there, add some plants to the south beach dunes, they are an eyesore anyway, add plantings along the back of JBs and Ocean’s 234.



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Residents Win One!

Thanks to Commissioner Bill Ganz initiating the process, the industrial zone off of Powerline which used to be in unincorporated Broward County but which was annexed onto Deerfield Beach over 10 years ago was finally rezoned and brought into compliance with the city’s building process.
WHAT AN ORDEAL.  The owners of the industrial property wanted no changes, the residents wanted safeguards and neither wanted a middle ground.  (See post below).

At last night’s (Tuesday, 2/7) meeting City Attorney Andy Maurodis spelled out the changes the city staff recommended after many meetings with the industrial land owners and input from the residential residents.  These talks went on and on and on and, well you get the idea. The city held a public workshop, and this was the second public hearing.

This presentation restored having crematoriums and medical waste sterilization facilities which the previous proposal had deleted due to resident concern.

My guess is that the city was intimidated into replacing them by threats of being sued by Mancini and other land owners.  Florida has something called the Bert Harris Act, part of which reads:
“When a specific action of a governmental entity has inordinately burdened an existing use of real property or a vested right to a specific use of real property, the property owner of that real property is entitled to relief, which may include compensation for the actual loss to the fair market value of the real property caused by the action of government, as provided in this section.”

Whether the few changes (see post below) to the zoning constitute being “inordinately burdened” would be for the courts to decide, however my guess is that the court would lean toward the government in this case and given the minor changes to the zoning, and the vast number of allowed industrial uses kept in the code would decide in favor of the residents and the city.  I don’t think Mancini et. al. will bother to take it to court, but the possibility is there and that was enough for the city to recommend bowing to the wishes of the land owners.

What happened last night?  The residents of Waterways and Independence Bay again pleaded for the city to at least ban the medical waste facility, and Bill Ganz gave a reasoned and passionate rational for doing just that.  Many residents also were concerned about crematoria.

Commissioner Marty Popelsky, was amazing, he said we shouldn’t have either facility and if needs be, it may be time to take on Bert Harris and find out.  The applause from the residents was deafening.  That proposal,  zoning changes WITHOUT medical waste and crematoria, was made and seconded and squeaked through by a vote of 3 to 2;   Commissioners Miller and Preston voted no, presumably because of the fear of a law suit and the possible financial hit to the city coffers.

Again loud applause and cheering. 

This was a good thing for the residents who very likely will show their approval at the ballot box.   

As Bill Ganz said, there are no bad guys here.  Both the residents and the land owners worked hard for a compromise and are to be praised.  Through no fault of either party a bad situation arose and a good solution came about.   High five to both sides.