CITY COMMISSION SCHEDULES
MAY 15 PUBLIC HEARING
ON BEHEMOTH BOATYARD

Commissioners to review Planning Board's
approval of the project, which was rejected by
the city's professional planning staff as too big

HUTCHINSON EXPECTED
TO CAST DECIDING VOTE

FORT LAUDERDALE, TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2007 — A public hearing on The Harborage Club — a proposed 15-story, 387-foot-long boat storage facility — will be held May 15 by the City Commission. The vote for the hearing was 5-0 Tuesday night.

Petitions bearing more than 500 signatures of citizens opposed to project were given to the Commission Tuesday night, and more petitions are on the way. Not all could be rounded up in time for the meeting.

The project would be located in Commission District IV, which is represented by Cindi Hutchinson, but it was District I Commissioner Christine Teel who "called up" the item for review.

Hutchinson is likely to provide the deciding vote on the issue. Teel has said she opposes the boat storage facility because of its size (in Dolphin Stradium, it would spill out of the end zones!). Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom reportedly opposes the project as well, although that has not been confirmed. Commissioner Carlton Moore and Mayor Jim Naugle are expected to vote in favor of the gargantuan facility.

The huge boatyard would be built on a canal on the south side of SE 16th Street east of Cordova Road, behind the Southport Raw Bar. It would be directly opposite SE 15th Street residences on the north side of the 123-foot-wide canal.

The project was approved by the Planning Board despite the seven-page city staff report which had virtually nothing good to say about it. That 5-4 Planning Board vote will be the last word unless it is overturned by the Commission.

To read the staff review, click here. For highlights, click here.


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COMMISSIONER TEEL "CALLS UP"
BEHEMOTH BOATYARD ISSUE
FOR CITY COMMISSION REVIEW

Fate of hearing request to be decided
at Commission's April 17 meeting

FORT LAUDERDALE, APRIL 4, 2007 — The City Commission may hold a public hearing on the controversial Behemoth Boatyard ("Harborage Club") project thanks to Commissioner Christine Teel (right), who has "called up" the project for Commission review.

When an item is "called up" for a hearing, the other Commissioners usually go along with it. However, three Commissioners could block the hearing by voting against it.

The mammoth 15-story, 387-foot-long facility would be built along a narrow canal — just 142 feet from the residential neighborhood on the other side. The location is behind the Office Depot (formerly Publix) on SE 17th Street, just east of Cordova Road. Teel opposes the project because it's much too big for that location.

Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson — who represents the area — failed to take action on the "call-up." She has been telling residents that she has not made up her mind about whether the monstrous 150-foot building should be built 142 feet from a residential area. Hutchinson has reportedly told people she would make up her mind about calling it up at the last minute — April 17. Teel's action made that statement moot.

Hutchinson's two Planning Board appointees — Mary Fertig and Tom Welch — voted in favor of the gigantic facility, which will tower over neighboring buildings like a 500-pound gorilla over a dachshund.

The 5-4 Planning Board approval came despite a review by the city's professional planning staff that politely trashes the proposed facility as being incompatible with the neighborhood. Essentially the staff had nothing good to say about the project.

The Commission will meet on April 17 and is expected to decide on a public hearing at that time.

If no commissioner had called up the matter, the Planning Board's decision would have been final.

— Cal Deal

To read the staff review, click here. For highlights, click here.