Bahia Mar, Part 1: Surprise and disappointment

Developers want us to sign a 100-year lease on our prime oceanfront/waterfront property, Bahia Mar. One of the key inducements they are using is the promise of a "waterfront park" overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

Recently I went to City Hall and examined the site plans for that park. Because Bahia Mar belongs to "us" ... the city ... and because it is a "Grade A Prime" piece of land, we need to be ultra careful about what we do with it. I was surprised and disappointed by what I saw. — Cal Deal, 6/14/11

NOTE: CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE BLOWUPS!

WATERFRONT PARK SHOCKER

Nearly four acres of the park is GONE!!!

Last year, negotiations were conducted to overcome the objections of Idlewyld residents who didn't want big towers and a parking garage mucking up their pretty view. Two of the towers disappeared, as did the garage... but so did most of our park!!!!

Prior to those negotiations, the park was said to be a large 4.5 acres and sat atop the garage, offering a nice view of the water. Today the park is a shrunken 0.8 acres (115 x 300 feet) next to a surface parking lot. Almost four acres of park gone!

 

 

The city loses nearly 4 acres of waterfront park for the 14 homes on Idlewyld Drive that face Bahia Mar? (Click for blowup)

What's Left of the Park — The Site Plan

 

Developers' rendering of the park
as currently proposed

 

 

A portion of the park as it was
BEFORE the negotiations

 

Bahia Mar (in the 1950s?)

SOURCE: Broward County Historical Commission

Park can be closed about 1 month a year

AN AMAZINGLY BAD IDEA

One person could give away ALL
of our public parking spaces!

The park would be nearly 800 feet from A1A, and a necklace of 80 public parking spaces would be strung around the Bahia Mar property. There would be no "attractions" other than a garden area and a nice view — when boats aren't in the way.

Given this passivity, the park is likely to be underutilitized. (When was the last time you schlepped to the beach to see the glory of the sunrise?)

So ...

If we don't use the park and, consequently, don't use the 80 parking spaces ... or we use the parking spaces to go to the beach ... an unelected city official — without City Commission review and citizen input — can give all 80 parking spaces back to the "applicant." Presumably, we could then kiss them goodbye for the rest of the 100 years. The site's only public, metered parking would be gone. Imagine the value of an 80-space parking lot on that land!

 

80 Parking Spaces

 

The language: "The Parking Director may approve the removal of the metered public parking spaces and return the parking spaces to Applicant as required parking if it is found by the Parking Director that the parking spaces are not being used by the public in connection with the use of the limited public access areas of the Development." [See Conditions of Approval, Page 10, end of Paragraph 19 (PDF Page 18) ]

What does "not being used" mean? Not being used "at all?" Not being used "enough?" Not being used for the park, but being used for the beach?

Make a public park really boring. Spread the parking spaces all over Creation. When nobody uses them, grab back all the public parking.

Unless I misunderstand something, this provision needs to be changed.

 

[NOTE: I have asked the city to confirm that my reading of the ordinance is correct, and am awaiting a reply. — Cal, 6/14/11]

 

Plants cover much of the park

THE “PARK”
“The open grass area located between the waterfront gardens to the south and the waterfront wedding pavilion/ restaurant to the north” – [Conditions of Approval, Section 2, Para 2)


Violating the spirit of the City Charter

"The developers had wanted a 100-year lease, but the city charter says that the Bahia Mar cannot be leased for more than 50 years without competitive bids. To get around the restriction, attorneys for the city and the developers told commissioners that they plan to draw up a 50-year lease that would then be followed by a second 50-year lease.

— Sun-Sentinel, May 2010

 

What the Charter says:


Remember that pledge!

 

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Cal Deal
1317 SE 2nd Ave.
Fort Lauderdale 33316

(954) 295-3726

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