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Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond and Public Safety Bond

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale The Locals

[The Best Info For March 2019 and Beyond]

[Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes]

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Did you know that Fort Lauderdale is the nation’s 2nd most popular spring break destination?

Before you assume our neighbor to the South took the cake at #1, think again. Miami actually came in at #8.

Can you guess which city ranks numero uno? Hint: it’s the happiest place on earth…

Following the famous 1960s film “Where The Boys Are,” Fort Lauderdale earned a reputation as a college student spring break hotspot. However, today—some 49 years later—the month of March attracts a much more diverse, family-focused group of vacationers.

It is still expected that thousands of families and vacationers will be hitting our shores throughout the month of March, but…now that the days of the rowdy college masses have come to a close, us locals can come out to play, too.

We reached out to FTL natives and members of the BPB community to compile a list of the best Spring Break tips for Fort Lauderdale locals.

That way, we can all get the most fun out of March 2019.

Here are the top spring break tips by the locals for the locals

[below are the best tips for navigating Fort Lauderdale, enjoying the best of our beaches, and getting the most out of your dining experiences.]
Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #1  — Drawbridge Schedules

First things first, you and every person in town will be flocking to Fort Lauderdale beach. It’s best to know the drawbridge schedule at the 3 main access points so you don’t end up stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as the sun gradually dips below the horizon.

Sunrise Blvd.—The drawbridge opens on the hour and half-hour. On the first weekend in May, the draw need not open from 4 PM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Las Olas Blvd.—The drawbridge opens on the quarter-hour and three-quarter hour. On the first weekend in May, the draw need not open from 4 PM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

SE 17th St. Causeway Bridge—The draw shall open on the hour and half-hour.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #2 — Travel by Scooter

Look around any street corner and what will you find? That’s right, Lime, Bird, and Bolt scooters.

Now, the last thing you want to do when scootering to the beach is to ride down a busy road like Federal Hwy., Broward Blvd, and Sunrise Blvd. There are much safer [and more scenic] roads to travel.

PRO TIP: If you do choose to ride down one of these busy streets, however, remember that you are allowed to ride on the sidewalk just so long as you yield to pedestrians.

Anyway, after speaking with all of our seasoned scooter enthusiasts, we reached a conclusion on the best [and safest] routes to take to the beach. By the way, these routes are family friendly in most situations. They are safe for young teens so long as they are accompanied by an adult. Just be sure you ride on the right side of the road and obey traffic laws at all times. 🙂

Word of advice: if you have been drinking, order an Uber instead. The beach isn’t so enjoyable with scraped elbows and knees. Or a DUI for that matter! That’s right, drinking and scootering don’t mix in the eyes of the law—doing so, can get you in serious trouble. So probably best to avoid.

UPDATE from the City of Fort Lauderdale: From March 1st – April 7th the following scooter services will be prohibited from crossing beach access bridges. The following routes are still recommended, however, you will need to park your scooter on the sidewalk before the bridge and walk over to the beach.

#1 — Victoria Park: The Best Route To The Beach Via Las Olas

You won’t find a more beautiful neighborhood anywhere in Fort Lauderdale. Every road is abundant with bright, multi-colored Florida foliage, quaint historic houses, and modern architecture. The blend of new and old truly showcases Fort Lauderdale’s rich history and our promising future. Not to mention, every passerby is super nice. Which reminds us, our BPB community agreed there is one rule if you choose to ride through Victoria Park: that you must smile and wave to fellow travelers. 🙂

If you are traveling from west of Federal Highway, cut through Holiday Park for easy access and smooth riding. Fewer cars and more sights are a scooterist’s best friend.

#2 — Coral Ridge: The Best Route To The Beach Via Sunrise Blvd.

Are you traveling North of Sunrise Blvd.? Rent a scooter and buzz through the lovely neighborhood of Coral Ridge. If you’re taking this route to the beach there are a few fantastic local spots to hit before you reach the sand. Grab an organic lunch or freshly squeezed juice from Maya Papaya [right across from Galleria Mall]. Or stop off at Birch State Park for a ride along the intercostal. There is an access tunnel right inside Birch State Park that goes under A1A and leads right to the beach.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

#3 — Rio Vista: The Best Route To The Beach Via 17th Street Causeway

If you are beach-bound via 17th Street Causeway then the neighborhood of Rio Vista is the way to travel. If you are going at your leisure and have time to spare, we highly recommend some sight-seeing. Tucked beneath the Rio Vista canopies are some of the most beautiful [and massive] houses in Fort Lauderdale.

Before you cross the drawbridge hit up Laspadas Original Hoagies—a true local favorite.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

If you are cutting through Rio Vista on your way to the beach via 17th Street Causeway, keep reading!

Below you’ll find details on a hidden stretch of beach only the locals know about.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #3 — Fort Lauderdale’s Best Kept Secret

If you have never enjoyed a day at the Fort Lauderdale Jetties add it to your Spring Break list.

Being at the jetties is like having a private beach all to yourself.

Not only does the coastline stretch on and on, but it is also one of the widest sections of beach in Fort Lauderdale, making it perfect for an afternoon game of beach volleyball or soccer.

If you want a quiet spot to enjoy Spring Break, you won’t find a better place. The Jetties is perfect for families who want to get away from the crowds gathering on Las Olas. It’s no wonder BREW Urban Cafe cited it on their top 6 spots to visit in Fort Lauderdale.

Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals
Spring Break Tips For Fort Lauderdale Locals

Spring Break Tip #4 — Where To Eat

Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale also means that some of our favorite local restaurants and bars are overcrowded to the extreme. The famous waterside restaurant, Coconuts, gets up to a 2-3 hour wait. That’s just crazy!

Here are a few local spots to check out during Spring Break if you want to avoid the swarms of vacationers.

#1 — Boatyard

If you’re leaving Fort Lauderdale beach or heading to the jetties for a sunset stroll, Boatyard is the place for you. Our favorite part of dining at Boatyard is the a-la-carte selection of fresh seafood they wheel around the restaurant all night. You really won’t find that any place else in the area.

#2 — Java & Jam

Located on Las Olas, this newest dining concept by The Restaurant People is ideal for a bite before or after hitting the beach. These guys know Fort Lauderdale best, so you can trust this will become a local favorite before you know it.

#3 — Top Hat Deli

It’s a little further inland [just across the street from the new Dalmar Hotel], but it is one of the best lunch/breakfast spots in town. Word of advice: their plate of hotdogs is crave-worthy.

#4 — Shuck N’ Dive

What’s spring break without a plate of New Orleans style fried shrimp or a crawfish boil? Straight out of Louisiana, this local favorite is our native destination for Cajun cuisine. Yes, they’re dog-friendly on the patio, so be sure to bring the whole family. 🙂

#5 – Lauderdale By The Sea

The perfect place for some Spring Break shopping and fresh seafood.

If you are interested in Spring Break advice in real time, be sure to follow Post Up Fort Lauderdale on Facebook.

This is where us locals share daily adventures and insights on where to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Also, be sure to follow Broward Police Department on social media for live safety updates throughout the month of March.

The Future Of Fort Lauderdale Is Green, Green, Green

[Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes, 30 Seconds]

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

Theodore Roosevelt once said,

“The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”

In today’s climate of mass urbanization, this notion holds especially true. Cities need to balance ongoing development with lush green spaces. By harmonizing the two, property values of entire neighborhoods increase as does the overall happiness of the people living there.

In some cities, the option to integrate accessible and convenient public parks is out of the people’s control. Residents don’t always get a say in the way city planners approach urban planning. This divide can offset the balance between green space and development, which comes at the expense of the people living there.

Fortunately, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission is putting this decision in the hands of the people.

On March 12, 2019, Fort Lauderdale voters will be asked to vote in favor of a Parks Bond designed to fund our parks system for the next 30 years.

The Parks Bond will generate an estimated $200 million to expand and improve upon our park system, which is the next necessary investment Fort Lauderdale voters need to make to continue improving upon our quality of life.

Your vote is significantly more powerful than you’d imagine—especially in this scenario.

There are roughly 176,000 people living in Fort Lauderdale today. For major elections, like the recent November election in 2018, it is estimated that voter turnout runs between 16,000-19,000 people. For minor ballots, like the upcoming March 12 vote, voter turnout drops significantly to an estimated 3,000 people.

To put that into perspective, on an issue worth up to $200 million, your vote on March 12, 2019, is worth an estimated $153,000!

That’s HUGE! And it’s a major factor you need to consider when deciding whether or not you’re going to turn out and vote because you better believe that the people who oppose park maintenance and expansion certainly will.

If the majority of Fort Lauderdale residents vote “YES” then city planners will have the funds and the guidance to improve our city with outstanding green spaces that everyone can benefit from—especially our children and the generation to follow.

Keep reading to learn the benefits of green space in urban planning and why it is absolutely necessary for the quality of living in Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

Green space must be a key consideration in urban planning if the health of the city and its people are both considered important.

The 2019 Parks Bond will guarantee funding for necessary parks improvements and maintenance, as well as the creation of additional green spaces where commercial and residential development is most dense, such as Flagler Village.

Why is this so important?

Open space in urban environments like Fort Lauderdale provide many advantages.

The most notable are formal and informal sport and recreation, preservation of natural environments, provision of green space, better quality drinking water and even urban stormwater management.

There are numerous health benefits associated with access to public open space and parks, too, such as better perceived general health, reduced stress levels, and reduced depression.

According to the World Health Organization, “Green spaces are important to mental health. Having access to green spaces can reduce health inequalities, improve well-being, and aid in the treatment of mental illness. Some analysis suggests that physical activity in a natural environment can help remedy mild depression and reduce physiological stress indicators.”

Additionally, quality green space increases homeowner property values and attracts new businesses to the area.

According to the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association’s study on the Economic Benefits of Parks, “Homebuyers prefer homes close to parks, open space, and greenery. Proximity to parks increases property value, thereby increasing property tax revenue. Research has shown that property values for houses within 500 feet of a community park increase by approximately 5%, which is a conservative estimate. Furthermore, companies often choose to locate in communities that offer amenities such as parks as a means of attracting and retaining top-level workers.”

In the neighborhood of Flagler Village, where residential and commercial development outweighs public space, the value of new parks will be compounded exponentially.

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

New parks will increase the property values of hundreds of residences in the area and continue to attract new businesses pivotal to the economic expansion of the downtown sphere. This is expected. And, by the way, is a huge longterm benefit that will generate additional taxable revenue for our municipality to use on needed services and improvements. 

More importantly, city parks will create safe and beautiful avenues for residents to access neighborhood favorites, like BREW Urban Cafe. And will provide Brightline passengers pedestrian access to key areas of Fort Lauderdale, ultimately connecting Flagler Village to the Riverwalk, Downtown Fort Lauderdale, MASS District, and Las Olas.

There have already been discussions about transforming the “one-stop-shop” on Andrews Avenue—just between FATVillage and the Brightline Station—into a community park. With funding from the Parks Bond, this project could be completed within the first few years.

A “YES” vote on March 12, 2019, could transform this prime [yet unused] piece of real estate into one of the most navigated pathways in Fort Lauderdale overnight.

Flagler Village is just one of the many areas throughout Fort Lauderdale that will benefit greatly by the creation—and improvement—of city parks.

With major projects already outlined for Holiday Park, Joseph Carter Park and more, as well as plans to create a community park over Henry E. Kinney Tunnel atop U.S. 1, and a total renovation of Floyd Hull Stadium between Snyder Park and Lauderdale Memorial Park, it’s safe to say that everyone—especially our kids and the generation to follow—can benefit by voting “YES” on March 12, 2019.

Stop horsing around. It’s time to invest in our parks.

[The value of quality green space and the harmony of the community.]

[Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes]

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

On November 21, the Sun Sentinel reported that the Fort Lauderdale City Commission is formulating a plan to pitch to voters, which aims to generate $200 million in funding for Fort Lauderdale parks.

This funding initiative, which residents will vote for on the March 2019 ballot, will likely be proposed in conjunction with a second proposal, which aims to generate $100 million in funding for a new police headquarters and parking garage. This is planned to be built at the existing site of 1300 W Broward Boulevard.

The City Commission has unanimously embraced the concept of both the $200 million Parks Bond and the $100 million police station bond. The two proposals may be combined into a joint $300 million plan of action.

At the voting booth, all you have to ask yourself is this: “Am I willing to continue investing in my quality of living?”

Fort Lauderdale Park Bonds

If you live or work in downtown Fort Lauderdale, this is a no-brainer.

If your kids play baseball, football, soccer, tennis, or basketball at any of our parks, this is a no-brainer.

If you regularly walk your pup at the park or take the family for picnics, this is a no-brainer.

With all the residential and commercial development in Fort Lauderdale it is sensible to balance our building boom with green spaces.

This holds especially true for Flagler Village — Fort Lauderdale’s burgeoning vertical community where perhaps the most valuable concentration of urban development and redevelopment is taking place.

In a few years time, Flagler Village will become one of Fort Lauderdale’s most prized communities. To fully meet that expectation, however, we, as community leaders, need to invest in the City Commission’s plan to create new parks and improve upon the ones that already make our community such a fantastic place to work, play, visit and live.

We believe the most efficient way to meet this expectation is the conversation of the one-stop shop off Andrews Avenue into a community park, as this has the greatest potential to increase value in the immediate area overnight.

Not only is Flagler Village one of the densest communities, but they also have the fewest parks. In addition to this divide, there is the need to connect the Brightline Station to the core areas of downtown Fort Lauderdale and Flagler Village via walkable spaces. Replacing the one-stop-shop with a park would solve both these challenges.

Not only would this strategy harmonize development with green space and provide an avenue for Brightline commuters to navigate the downtown area. This would both improve our quality of living and subsequently increase property values over time. Research of property values has shown a 5% increase in property value for houses within 500 feet of a park [this is a conservative estimate.] Couple this with Flagler Village’s proximity to the Brightline Station and this area could potentially be the prize of Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale Park Bonds

There are many other areas of focus aside from providing funding for the necessary transformation of the one-stop-shop on Andrews Avenue. These include:

Holiday Park, 730 N. Federal Highway:

  • Activity Center Renovations
  • Parking Garage
  • Athletic Field Installation
  • Concession Stand Renovation
  • Gym/Ranger Station Renovation
  • Press Box Renovation
  • Social Center Renovation
  • Tennis Center Renovation
  • Baseball Field Shade Structure
  • Racquetball Addition and Renovation
  • Playground/Surfacing/Shade
  • Solar Panels
  • Site Furnishings
  • Lighting
  • Tennis Court Renovations
  • ADA Improvements

Joseph Carter Park, 1450 W. Sunrise Blvd.:

  • Concession/Pressbox Renovation
  • New Community Center
  • Walking Trail/Outdoor Fitness Equipment
  • Pool Office Renovations
  • Aquatic Complex Renovations
  • Synthetic Turf Replacement
  • Fencing
  • Solar Panels
  • Lighting
  • ADA Improvements
  • Playground/Surfacing/Shade

Bass Park, 2750 NW 19th Street:

  • Pool Building Renovations
  • New Community Center
  • Pool Building Addition
  • Water Playground
  • Solar Panels
  • Basketball Court Shade Structure
  • Playground Replacement
  • Crosswalks
  • Lighting
  • Park Benches
  • On-Street Parking Improvements
  • ADA Improvements

In addition to these major projects, the City Commission seeks to allocate $30 million to purchase open space in areas that don’t have enough parks. And $6 million for a total facility rebuild of Floyd Hull Stadium.

Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond
Fort Lauderdale Parks Bond

City Manager Lee Feldman said, “The city should complete the prominent projects in four to six years, and determine the other improvements by vetting them through city advisory boards so the public would be involved.”

According to Commission Ben Sorenson, the 30-page list of park projects is “very much a living, breathing document. [Which] we are not wedded to in any way.”

The hierarchy of which parks should receive funding and improvement services first is still up to debate. Some Fort Lauderdale residents believe that the overlooked, smaller parks should be renovated before the larger projects so that they don’t go untouched.

As the proposed budget develops and public opinion is taken into consideration a more specific timeline will be presented.

We want to help facilitate that process, so we’d like to hear from all of our readers.

Are you willing to invest in the creation and renovation of Fort Lauderdale Parks? And, if so, which parks would you like to see improved first and for what reasons? Let us know what’s on your minds. Tag us on Facebook and share our blog with your friends to spread the word. With our combined voice, we can ensure that the places that matter most to us are at the forefront of discussion.

Vote yes on the one-penny sales tax to help move people county-wide and preserve a better quality of life.

[2 min 30 sec read time]

Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot

Broward is in the center of a mega-region. 

Millions of vehicles (many who are not county residents) cross our borders and impact or streets. With 20,000 people moving to Broward annually, our transportation problems are getting worse on a daily basis. Significant public investments are essential to creating a tolerable commute that is quickly evolving into gridlock. 

County-wide mobility is a maze of issues that require serious and immediate attention by people who have invested whole careers managing and studying land planning and transportation solutions.

Broward County has a comprehensive 30-year, multi-billion dollar mobility plan for more efficient roads, synchronized lights, and a variety of rapid public transit options. A plan like this is critical to alleviate our time spent commuting and to maximize our time living. 

It’s a plan that considers sequential planning and incremental implementation that will evolve over the next 30-years along with technology and the open market. Dedicated transportation funding is essential in dealing with an array of unforeseen issues in the future. Just ask the counties to the north and south who have already implemented similar plans.

Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot
Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot

How do we pay for all of this? 

On November 6th, you will have a chance to vote to help preserve our quality life through a one-penny increase in sales tax county-wide. Why an increase in sales tax? Because, it is estimated that the tourists, who crowd our roads every winter and shop in our stores, will help share in up to 30% of the cost through their many purchases while on vacation.

Beyond people moving, a plan like this has other positive effects on our everyday lives. These are things that are directly aligned with our community priorities. 

Attracting New Businesses & Attaining High Paying Jobs: Technology and other up and coming businesses look to attract and retain young workforce talent by locating offices within alluring cities that have the whole package. This includes a vibrant downtown with great amenities (like our beaches) and workforce housing stock that is connected via good transportation systems. 

Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot
Penny Sales Tax Question November 6 Ballot

Cost of Living  

A key component for affordability is reducing the cost to commute to and from work. As defined in the County’s plan, we need to locate linear rapid transit systems along planned corridors of housing and into employment centers. Removing the monthly cost of commuting in a car has a positive impact on the average worker’s cost of living, while also reducing traffic.

Broward County is moving forward with this campaign. We must support their efforts and urge our neighbors to vote yes. If we allow the surtax to fail, then at some point (in the not so distant future), the gridlock will get so bad that it will fall on the county’s general budget to fix the problem. And then the tourists get a pass.

Amendment 2, Limitations on Property Tax Assessments

[2 min read time]

Amendment 2 Broward County

Some say the second most important question for Broward voters is Amendment 2 – a property tax proposal by the Florida Legislature.

Voting YES on Amendment 2 protects taxpayers from large, sudden increases in property taxes in the future when the value of properties rises in boom years. This serves to benefit all of Broward County, just as voting YES on the Penny Sales Tax question aims to.

This mostly impacts non-homestead property assessments by limiting the property tax to 10% of the assessed value from the previous year. Non-homestead properties include 2nd homes, rental properties, vacation homes, vacant land, and commercial property.

Now, before you think this is a “rich man getting richer” sort of deal, think again. Amendment 2 will, in fact, serve to benefit young professionals and middle-income households that rent and live in Broward County more than any other demographic.

Here’s why: if the taxes for commercial real estate (i.e., small businesses) goes up then their prices must also go up in order to stay competitive in the market. Guess who has to pick up the added costs? That’s right, you, the consumer. Now, the money you budgeted for dry cleaning, groceries, and your lunch isn’t as substantial. Worst case scenario, these businesses are unable to compete with rising prices and have to close their doors for good, which counteracts all of the positive development we have experienced in the last few years.

Similarly, if the property taxes for rental properties increases, the renter is the one who faces the backlash. This can come in the form of increased rental costs, added fees, and more costly signing requirements.

So…what are the cons?

That’s the funny thing. There aren’t any. The only reported con is that “there is no organized opposition,” which goes to show that voting YES on Amendment 2 is the smart decision.  Ironically, the Broward County Property Appraiser is urging us all to vote YES.  Probably because he is not the one who spends money, it’s the politicians. 

On November 6, it is important that we vote to preserve the outstanding quality of life we enjoy every single day here in Broward County. Both of these ballot questions serve to protect and benefit our local workforce, as well as young professionals, local businesses, and new families moving to the area.

In short, voting YES on Amendment 2 will not only preserve the quality of life we prize so highly, it will also enhance it for all of us and the generations to follow.

Your property rights could be at risk.

If you own property in Fort Lauderdale that is over 50 years old, this message is for you…

Historic Designation vs Historic Preservation

As a community forum, we value when caring members of our community share their insights. Recently, Russel Dion of Fort Lauderdale shared this article with us regarding the differences between Historical Designation and Historical Preservation and how that impacts local property owners without their consent or best interests in mind.

We asked Russel if we could publish his writings on our site for our audience to read. There is a lot of very valuable information below, especially if you own property in the City of Fort Lauderdale that is over (or almost at the age of) 50 years old.

An important message by Russel Dion of Fort Lauderdale:

The first volley has been fired to subjugate City of Fort Lauderdale private property owners to HISTORIC DESIGNATION.

If you think it does not affect you, think again.

If you own a property older than 50 years, you are vulnerable to Historic Designation. The City Commission has ordered its staff to propose amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance under the ULDR which are purported to clarify and streamline the process while in fact, they modify the process to be more restrictive and onerous to property owners.

Historic Designation vs Historic Preservation

My partner and I own a Mid Century Modern property on the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale, Manhattan Tower, designed by one of the premier architects of the 1950s. It has operated as an apartment/hotel from the 1960s. It was originally built as an executive retreat for the largest Cadillac dealer in New York City in 1955. Please understand that we are in favor of Historic Preservation. In fact, we saved our property 18 years ago from demolition and devoted our lives to its preservation and restoration. Unlike most of those who are intent on the designation of properties they deem historically important, we invested millions of dollars in the purchase, preservation, and maintenance of an historic property.

Most avid preservationists are doing no more than usurping the property rights of individual property owners for the benefit of the community at large with no recompense to the property owner. Further, they are intent on subjecting owners of properties they deem important to a whole new process of permitting which is in addition to the already burdensome process required by the rest of the community.

When the owner of a Designated Property wants to make changes to their property they are referred to a 134-page document, Historic Preservation Design Guidelines. After that, they are required to fill out forms and provide the City with an inordinate amount of research and detail as to their changes. They submit the forms and in many cases must provide additional information and re-submit them over and over.

In a recent case that came before the City Commission from a property owner living in Victoria Park and whose husband voluntarily had two properties Designated as Historic many years ago, the wife appeared requesting one of her properties be Un-designated due to financial hardship. It was going into foreclosure because she could not find a buyer who would purchase the property subject to the Designation.

She first made her application in April 2018. We are now in October 2018.

First, she found there was no process for Un-designating her property. She was told to fill out all the relevant forms required by Designation and submit them to the City with a note that she wanted to reverse the Designation.

She did everything that was required of her and was scheduled for a hearing October 5. Because of a lack of a quorum her hearing was pushed back to the next meeting. She appeared before the City Commission desperate to get a decision and accommodation before she lost her property. She had received a small tax allowance of $500 per year as an incentive for designating her property which she offered to repay to the City.

Two commissioners were sympathetic and proposed a motion to remove the designation. Three Commissioners chose to vote against the motion. One commissioner stated there was a process that must be followed, seemingly not aware that the process was broken. Another suggested this desperate applicant should hire an attorney to have the foreclosure delayed. The fact that there was not even a form for reverse Designation in the event of hardship or that the City failed to produce a quorum to hear her case didn’t seem relevant to the dissenting commissioners.

While Historic Preservation is a good thing, Historic Designation has a downside.

At its core is taking private property rights from property owners with or without their consent or recompense and giving those rights to the state. The State decides whether your property has historic value based on its age, appearance and a number of subjective factors; any of which may trigger a designation.  Once designated, a property is subject to a whole new level of regulation and expense which are borne by the property owner. There seem to be no educational requirements for those who implement the process, only a passion for the past.

With no other requirement than being a resident of Fort Lauderdale, anyone may initiate the designation process.

If any resident likes the look of a property older than 50 years or has a grudge against someone who owns a property older than 50 years, they may become an “applicant” and file the necessary forms to start a process which may prevent that property owner from doing anything with their property during the “Intermediate Property Protection Period”  of up to 180 days (6 months).

If during that time any one of a number of criteria is satisfied, the property may be “Designated” without the consent of the property owner and the owner will be prevented from making any further decisions about the appearance, improvement or use of their property without prior State approval. The property owner gets to pay for this extra level of bureaucracy with no help from the City while the community is the beneficiary. There are also concerns about Climate Change, catastrophic damage, and flooding.

Historic Designation vs Historic Preservation

How will the City ordinances deal with these problems?

The preservation of historic properties is worthwhile and is properly a goal of the City Commission but it is disappointing that instead of pursuing this goal with a plan for voluntary designation and incentives to property owners the City Commission has determined the first step should be to consolidate their police powers to Designate private properties.

The decision was made to spend scant City resources and staff hours on amending the current historic ordinances rather than forming a committee composed of avid preservationists and property owners who may be the subject of designation along with City staff to work out solutions to the problems of designation. From such a collaboration could come a fair and equitable consensus as to amendments to the current historic ordinances. Only then based on recommendations from this joint committee should amendments be proposed.

To amend those ordinances without doing so is heavy-handed governance from the top down resulting in the creation of unnecessary animosities and resentment from property owners who have invested their time (for some a lifetime) and life savings in purchasing a property only to find that they lose the freedom to make their own decisions regarding the property. There is a concern that the City is usurping too much power in their efforts to amend the Historic Preservation Ordinance.

There’s something you should know 

The beginning of Florida Stone Crab Season isn’t about gorging on stone crab claws…

4th Annual G&B Oyster Fest

Over the past three years, we’ve realized the best way to kick off Florida Stone Crab season is at the annual G&B Oyster Fest! 🙂

What can we say, stone crab just tastes better with all you can eat oysters.

It’s October — Snowbirds are back in town, having followed the good weather to sunny South Florida. Fresh seafood is hauled into harbors and filleted daily. Yachties from all over the world are prepping the intercostal for the International Boat Show. This time of year is all about being by the water, soaking up sunset after sunset, and gorging on fresh seafood while sipping margaritas, cold beer, and delicious wine.

With that said… don’t go limiting your intake of fresh seafood to Florida Stone Crab, Mahi-Mahi, and Coconut’s signature Scoobies. This time of year is just as much about enjoying flavors from all over North America. And what better way to do that than with an assortment of oysters?

4th Annual G&B Oyster Fest

Oysters are called the ‘filter of the sea’ with good reason. 

Florida is best known for our Gulf Oysters, which are briny, creamy and plump. Oysters from other areas taste and look totally different. Some are tiny and sweet, others are crunchy and metallic.

The flavor of each varietal changes based on the region they’re grown, as well as the type and amount of mineralogy and salinity they filter from ocean water in that given region. There are a lot of factors that determine flavor: east coast vs. west coast, north vs. south, cold vs. warm, gulf vs. ocean, inland vs. coastal… even the style of farming impacts the flavor.

Every year the culinary dynamos at G&B Oyster Bar on Fort Lauderdale Beach celebrate this delicious specimen (and the start of Florida Stone Crab Season) with an annual Oyster Fest.

G&B Oyster Bar is a fresh seafood and tapas concept founded by the Be Nice restaurant group in 2012.

Attached to Coconuts — it’s iconic waterside cousin — they’re best known for the varieties of super fresh seafood they have flown in daily from all over the U.S. and Canada. Their selection of oysters from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Nova Scotia,  Prince Edward Island, Rhode Island, Maine (the list goes on and on) changes daily. It’s hands-down one of the best places to enjoy ocean-fresh seafood and beach flavors from unique coastal regions.

The 4th Annual Oyster Fest starts Friday, October 5th at 6:30 pm with a 5-course dinner and beer pairing at Top Hat Deli in Flagler Village.

In partnership with Funky Buddha, this exclusive dinner features the release of Pearl Diver Oyster Saison (ABV 7.5%) — a brewmaster collaboration that infuses 300 pounds of oyster shells with Saison yeast to capture the natural salinity and uplifting mineralogy of oysters.

If you think oysters are best paired with Chablis, Muscadet, or Champagne then RSVP to this dinner and wash that taste out of your mouth with a pint of Pearl Diver.

4th Annual G&B Oyster Fest
Click the image for event details and discounted ticket pricing.

The main event is Friday, October 19, from 6 pm – 10 pm in the parking lot of Coconuts and G&B Oyster Bar. OysterFest features all you can Rappahannock oysters from West Virginia, all you can drink Pearl Diver Oyster Saison and Funky Buddha Floridian, unlimited access to seven food stations offering a variety of oyster preparations and other Be Nice restaurant favorites, as well as, live music and oyster slurping contest.

After a few dozen oysters, if you still have your heart set on a pound of Florida Stone Crab then step over to the bar or grab a table waterside at Coconuts. 😉


It was so great meeting and speaking with some many engaged members of our community. We had tons of fun at the FATVillage Artwalk and wanted to share some of the pictures we took during the event.

Creating impactful change is easy . . .

[when you have the right group of friends]

Earlier this year we hosted a Taco Tuesday Townhall get-together with C&I Studios in FATVillage. It was our introduction to the community and the catalyst for our ongoing political discussions. The night was all about free beer, free tacos, and a Q&A with candidates running for office in the Fort Lauderdale City Commission.

It’s been a while but we’re finally heading back to FATVillage for another night of thoughtful conversation… and, as is expected at any weekend gathering, cold beer, and tacos — wait, we mean Chacos… you guessed it, Chinese style tacos. 😉

Have you ever seen the iconic photograph from 1932, “Lunch Atop A Skyscraper,” depicting a group of construction workers eating lunch on a steel beam hanging from the top of a skyscraper? That photograph has been a defining story of New York’s rich history going on 86 years now, which gave us an idea… let’s define this new era of Fort Lauderdale living with an iconic photo of our own.

We’re setting up an interactive selfie station in C&I’s Garden at this month’s FATVillage Artwalk on September 29 in celebration of all the creative development projects popping up throughout the city.

We wanted to give you a chance to leave your mark on the city and take away a keepsake to look back on later down the road. The city is changing every single day and in 10 years time will look completely different than it does today [If you don’t believe us check out this article on Fort Lauderdale’s Restaurant Renaissance here]. 

This is also a great opportunity to get to know the people behind Big Picture Broward. Some members of our network will be at the artwalk to talk about local happenings, where to go for Oktoberfest and the International Boat Show, the upcoming midterm elections, and how you can get involved with Big Picture Broward.

If you’re an advocate for community solutions that lead to impactful change then come say “Hey!” We’d really like to meet you. The road to progress is a challenging one, indeed, but we’ve realized it’s much more enjoyable when you have the right group of friends to share in the journey.

Speaking of friends, the C&I team is also doing a really cool art installation in their studio by the bar Next Door during this month’s artwalk. Their interactive exhibit, Voices, takes a strong stance on firearm regulations in the United States by creating a picture of the future should our society continue to ignore the root causes of rising gun violence. It’s a powerful message and something we should all pay attention too.

We’re really excited to make our way back to FATVillage to meet all the people that make our community and our city “the place you’ll never want to leave.”

See you there!

Fort Lauderdale is on the rise, don’t let the city commission slow us down with budget cuts! 

[How the City Commission’s proposed budget cuts will limit our ability to address city goals for the next five years]

Fort Lauderdale City Commission Budget Cuts

Have you ever read the vision statement for the City of Fort Lauderdale?

“The city has embraced a vision based on fiscal responsibility, accountability, high ethical standards, and quality delivery of services. It is a vision that rewards excellence, not mediocrity, and, above all else, places the people of Fort Lauderdale first.” 

With this vision in mind, do you think the City Commission’s proposed budget cuts on essential city services like park maintenance, housing the homeless and supplying jobs is putting the people of Fort Lauderdale first?

[Keep reading to find out why the City Commission’s $5.1 million of proposed budget cuts will affect our quality of living for half a decade.]

fort lauderdale city commission budget cuts

On August 28, 2018, the Sun Sentinel reported on the City Commission’s plans to cut $5.1 million from services allocated for essential city services and maintenance. The proposed plan comes months before the 2019 budget goes into effect and puts the quality of life in Fort Lauderdale at huge risk for the next five years.

Let’s backtrack to 2012.

Six years ago the City of Fort Lauderdale started borrowing excess (unspent) money from the water-sewer budget to balance the city’s general budget. This decision kept our property taxes from increasing for 12 years and helped maintain years of positive downtown development. Borrowing money from the water-sewer budget made sense (and still does). 

The water-sewer fund operates like a business, separate from the city’s general budget, and supported by customer payments. The excess money comes from an inability to spend. City management has projects in development and others planned (with funds properly allocated for each) so a portion of whatever goes unspent (i.e., millions of dollars) is diverted to the city’s general budget to help fund necessary services without having to raise property taxes or make budget cuts that could hinder essential city services.

Recently, the City Commission decided it was time to end this practice of borrowing. However, the only way they can achieve this and still stay on track for the 2019 budget is to cut spending.

So, where will the money come from?

  1. Nonprofits.

The city planned to take $1.2 million from this sector, which is set aside to fund city projects, like initiatives to house the homeless, and those that provide valuable community experiences like the Winterfest Inc. boat parade, Summer Youth Employment Program, and Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale Inc.

  1. Open Jobs 

Another portion of the $5.1 million will be taken from government positions that have been open for months. Certain vacancies for lifeguards and police officers will remain open. In fact, the city commission says there are only 6 confirmed positions that can be cut, which is a mere fraction of the proposed cuts. The city would lose more than it would gain by doing this.

  1. Parks

The last area under attack and perhaps the most important is our parks! Of the $9 million budget for park improvements, maintenance, services, and development, the City Commission wants to take the remaining dollar amount. This is reckless and greatly jeopardizes the quality of life for Fort Lauderdale residents.

According to the City, “Over the past 9 years the city of Fort Lauderdale has received international recognition for being a high-energy community with a fierce passion for protecting our quality of life while promoting powerful economic development initiatives. Within the past 9 years, 17 new city parks have opened, 25 city parks refurbished, and ‘boundless’ playgrounds were created to provide engaging, healthy exercise for people of all ages and abilities.” 

fort lauderdale city commission budget cuts

Some believe that if we do not continue to maintain our parks and provide excellent community amenities then our reputation as “the city you never want to leave” will suffer. 

In fact, city officials, like City Manager Lee Feldman, explain that there is no immediate cause to create a monetary bottleneck by enforcing budget cuts. Not for the 2019 budget, at least. Furthermore, Lee explains that the water-sewer budget and maintenance record is currently sustainable, providing the services needed to maintain and improve our current infrastructure needs.

Some officials believe the urgency to wean the city’s general budget off of water-sewer support is unnecessary and potentially damaging. Especially considering that with the increase in property values, the city is expected to receive an additional $10.5 million in property taxes for the general budget.

With ongoing development and rising demand to live in Fort Lauderdale, this profit margin will likely increase in coming years. Yet another reason why this proposed $5.1 million dollar budget cut right before the 2019 budget goes into effect is so short-sighted and reckless!

So why the urgency? Why take away from our children by limiting our park services? 

What do you think?

Should the City Commission take away from our parks and quality of living for the next 5 years to balance the budget or should they plan for a more realistic solution next year? 

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