Tuesday, January 21, 2014

No Mayor Robb, the City Doesn't Want Overdevelopment at the Beach

There has been no outcry from the public to overturn any of the charter amendments.  The Commission should not consider putting anything on the ballot.  If a few disgruntled people believe the charter should be changed, they need to do their work by gathering signatures to support the changes.

The residents of Deerfield Beach do NOT want the beach area to be over-developed.  They do not want buildings built high and wide on the beach.  They know that the traffic and parking problems at the beach are already bad due to poor planning, and restaurants without on-site parking.  They know if the current building codes which mandate larger building setbacks the higher the building goes are eliminated, and the developers are allowed their way, we will be signing the death knell of the lovely gem of a beach that we have. 
Far from stifling development, the current codes carefully control development, as witness the new hotel on the beach road which is built to code.  The builder made sure the building fit the area, had the required parking, and would be an attractive addition to the beach.  He didn’t come whining to the commission that he couldn’t make enough profit so they should let him build bigger. 

Rumor has it that Mayor Jean Robb has been lobbied by a disgruntled business owner on the beach who overpaid for a corner property.  Her plans for the property were approved by the city, but she didn’t go ahead with them (I heard she couldn’t get financing).   She is now complaining that the building codes that restrict how high and wide a property can be built stifle development (her profit) in the beach area; the codes were in place when she bought the property.

Well, here’s a news flash.  Years ago when the residents of Deerfield Beach, who have NEVER wanted to be Boca Raton, saw the completed Tiara East tower they quickly petitioned the city commission to enact codes which would limit Deerfield Beach from becoming a condo canyon, which the commission did!
The people wanted Deerfield to remain a family friendly, low rise village type of town; Tiara East made them realize what developers would do if they were not checked.

Everyone was happy with the new codes for years until the year 2000 when a developer bought some ocean front property and wanted to maximize his profit. 
I don’t know what shenanigans took place to convince those commissioners that they should approve Ocean Plaza with a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of around 1.6, despite the Land Development Code being .8.  I suspect hanky-panky, as why else would a sane person vote to allow such lot coverage, for a developer, on our beach front?

A resident in the next condo sued the City because of the violation of the FAR.   The Commission, in reaction to the lawsuit, (knowing they would lose) removed the FAR from city codes for residential, multifamily buildings so that the Ocean Plaza, on Ocean Way could be constructed. This is the code which governed how high and wide the building could be; the very code that was put in place to guard against this kind of overdevelopment.  That is why the structure is so huge and has almost no setbacks.

Horrified by the betrayal of their elected representatives, the OSOB Committee, to make sure that another “Ocean Plaza” type building couldn’t further ruin the beach area, collected signatures and by petition placed a referendum on the ballot which restored the eliminated building codes and placed them in the charter which, in order to be changed, must go to the voters. 

Now we have Mayor Robb suggesting going against the wishes of the 75% of the voters who OVERWHELMINGLY voted YES to restore the code restrictions on overdevelopment.  She wants to eliminate the building codes again, and give free rein to development.  She is trying to emulate the former commission and stick it to the residents. 

This seems to be political pandering of the worst sort.  Robb has never before been in favor of development on the beach.  But maybe now that she is old and her kids are gone and not using the beach she doesn’t care what happens to the rest of us. 
She had support for her campaign from some people who want the wrong thing for Deerfield; she welcomed the support as she wanted to be elected so very badly.

This bid to eliminate the code referendum may well be her payback to those who supported her to further their greedy interests; I can think of nothing else that would explain her behavior.
Jean’s whole identity seems to be wrapped up in “I was the mayor”, even her email name, for over 20 years, has been “mamamayor”.   So it looks as if becoming mayor again was the supreme ego trip.  Becoming mayor was her aim, but BEING mayor is turning out to be too much for her.  Her confusion on the dais, her abrasiveness, rudeness, sarcastic jokes and asides, interruptions, and her inability to look realistically at proposals  and do the right thing for the residents of the city show she is not up to the job. 

I have no question in my mind that the other commissioners will not entertain her foolish notions.  But the fact that she proposes these absurdities worries me a lot. 
We need to keep an eye on her and the agenda items to make sure our interests are being watched out for.  We need to make sure the commissioners do the job they were elected to do: making the quality of life of the residents the paramount issue. 

Old Fashioned Greed and Fraud Cause of Woes Says Former Governor

Bob Graham: Growth management didn't cause state's economic woes
By Bob Graham, Guest columnist
January 12, 2014
In a recent widely circulated opinion piece, Wendell Cox, a St. Louis-based demographer, blamed Florida's growth-management laws enacted in the 1970s and '80s for the devastating effects of the 2007 great recession. Cox contends these laws restricted the supply of housing in Florida, contributing to the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis and great recession.
He further asserts that the repeal of those growth-management laws in 2011 was a key factor in the state's recovery.

As governor when Florida's 1985 Growth Management Act was passed, I'd like to share some observations regarding Cox's analysis.
In the 1980s, Florida was growing at the rate of almost 1,000 people a day, roughly the equivalent of adding a new city of Tampa every year. It was in this climate that the Legislature overwhelmingly supported and I signed into law Florida's 1985 Growth Management Act.

In conjunction with land- and water-management legislation adopted in 1972, the act's four primary objectives were to protect environmentally sensitive areas from overdevelopment; ensure that the roads, schools and other infrastructure to support new development were properly funded and in place concurrent with the new growth; manage water resources for the public's benefit; and acquire conservation lands that contribute to the protection of Florida's natural resources, economy and quality of life.
From 1985 until 2007, Florida's economy flourished. Our population continued to grow, from 11.3 million in 1985 to 18.7 million in 2007. During the 1980s alone, Florida added 1.5 million new jobs and for the first time in the state's history, Floridians' per-capita income exceeded that of the average American.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which investigated the great recession, did not find that growth-management policies such as Florida's were the cause of the collapse. Rather, the collapse of Florida's housing market — like those in other Sunbelt states such as Arizona, California and Nevada — was driven by a variety of factors including rampant speculation, lax regulatory policies, weak underwriting standards and old-fashioned greed and fraud. These were the same causes of Florida's crashes in the 20th century, before the state's growth-management laws were enacted.
From 1990 to 2000, Florida added, on average, more than 100,000 housing units per year. But in the years leading up to 2007, housing starts exceeded 200,000 units per year. On top of this, between 2007 and 2010, 660,000 more residences of all types were authorized to be constructed, as well as more than 6 billion square feet of commercial and institutional space, most of which has not been built.

Florida's new anti-government political order "seized the moment" in 2011, securing draconian cuts to Florida's conservation lands acquisition program and growth-management laws and sharp reductions in the budgets and staff of the agencies responsible for enforcing them. Like Mr. Cox, the blame for Florida's economic woes was pinned on these laws, saying they created an unfavorable climate for business.
Florida's growth rate, which slowed dramatically during the great recession, is now well on track to return to the rate of 1,000 new residents a day. Florida's population grew by about 232,000 between 2011 and 2012. During the 21st century, Florida's population is projected to conservatively double and could triple to more than 50 million.

But due to the 2011 changes, Florida is less prepared to deal with the impacts of growth. Sound planning remains essential to protect Florida's economic health, abundant natural resources and quality of life, which attract new residents and visitors to our state.
Throughout much of its history, Florida has been treated as nothing more than a commodity, to be bought and sold regardless of the consequences. Florida's laws calling for smarter, more compact development patterns brought more stability and predictability through the wise use of land and water resources.

Instead of being distracted by false diagnoses of the causes of the great recession and thus repeating those mistakes, it is time for Florida to learn from the past and prepare for the future.
Florida is a treasure. The Sunshine State will continue to attract more residents. Our generation of Floridians lives on one of the planet's most congenial peninsulas. We have an obligation to assure that our children, grandchildren and beyond can live in an even more prosperous and attractive Florida.

Bob Graham was Florida's governor from 1979-86 and a U.S. senator from 1987-2005. He was a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

Copyright © 2014, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


Friday, January 17, 2014

Sullivan Park Project Needs Support

Please come to the Jan. 21st CRA meeting to support the Sullivan Park renovation.   Pass this along to your neighbors. 
The Deerfield Beach City Commission voted unanimously to approve the Sullivan Park Master Plan.  http://www.deerfield-beach.com/index.aspx?NID=1202 
However, there are some in the city who do not want to see this project funded. 
The money is a combination of grant funding and CRA funds already earmarked for the project. The project will be a big asset to the people of Deerfield Beach.  Help is needed to convince the commissioners to make the plan a reality. 

At the January 21, 2014 meeting of the Community Redevelopment Agency, staff will present a contract for complete architecture, design and engineering of the improvements contained in the master plan.  The public will continue to be included in park design as the project advances through the design process. 

The CRA meeting will be held Jan. 21st, at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall Commission Chambers.  The meeting agenda will be available online on Friday afternoon at www.
Deerfield-beach.com .

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bad Bin GONE!

Thanks to City Manager Burgess Hanson the for profit clothing bin in the Target Parking lot is GONE!!!!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Scoff-laws Profit BIG time!!!

The for-profit clothing bin “scoff-laws” must make so much money selling the clothing that is placed in their bins that they don’t mind losing some bins, and risking fines for placing the bins in parking lots illegally and without permission of the owners of the lots.

People think they are donating their cast off clothing to a charity when, in fact, they ARE NOT. 

Be aware that the owners of the bins, such as the one shown in the picture are in the business of collecting clothing for profit, the needy get nothing from them, but the GREEDY do.

They usually have amateurish stencil lettering with some claim about helping children.  This one is white, some are green.

These bins are illegally placed, and have nothing on them to identify who the owner is, no real phone number or address so the city or owners of the property cannot contact the owner to have them taken away, and so they stay and stay.

If you see a bin such as this, without a city permit or without a label saying it is a Salvation Army Bin, call the city and report it as a violation of the city ordinance and a code violation. Or leave a comment here and tell me where the bin is and I will notify the city.

Sadly, the bins get a long run before code does anything about them, which makes it profitable for the lawbreakers. 

 The one pictured is in the Hillsboro Blvd. Target parking lot and has been there for weeks and weeks. I have been promised that it will be removed by the city.

This should be done the day after the bin is spotted, because it takes so long the bin owners get a good haul before removal.

 Use the Salvation Army bins in the Woman’s Club parking lot, or the Chamber of Commerce lot.  Or, donate your things to the Focal Point Thrift Shop, or other needy organization.  DO NOT get tricked by the phony bins.