Good times appear be coming back to Fort Lauderdale, because some residents are starting to complain about big buildings again!
During the 1990’s and 2000’s, Fort Lauderdale’s economy was on fire. Everyone wanted to build something in the City, and the pressure of growth was constant.
Many citizens that had lived in the City for a long time weren’t happy with the changes the City was seeing. They began to fight to stop the larger projects, even developed a slow-growth language. Proposed projects were monstrosities, giant houses were monster homes, or mega-mansions, condos on the water created concrete canyons, a concrete jungle!
And politicians that voted for those monstrosities were often tossed out of office!
Commissioner Jack Latona replaced by Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson
Mayor Jim Naugle, a native Fort Lauderdalian, led the Stop the Growth forces ( and the gays aren’t really happy campaign) . I term- limited myself out of the District II Commission seat and ran against Naugle.
I was ( and am) a proponent of redevelopment. Naugle called me Tower Tim in his (developer sponsored !) TV commercials and he won his 5th term.
Mayor “NO” Jim Naugle
Then came the recession.
No projects came forward. The building department had little business. Rough neighborhoods that had been seeing progress, fell backwards. Many at the beach, which had been the most anti-development, started regretting their no-growth platforms when the boom dried up like the proverbial old prune!.
Naugle was finally term limited out, and a new more progressive Commission was elected.
mostly pro-growth Commission
But the pro-growth Commission seldom had a chance to vote for projects. There were few proposed.
But now that pro-growth sentiment might be about to stifle before it had a chance to get going. Projects are being proposed, property values are up! The towers are about to return! And the opposition is gearing up.
Here’s two examples of what’s coming, and the opposition –
1.) Last week, a group of concerned citizens met to develop a strategy to stop a proposed giant building planned on the New River.
The smaller building in the distance is the Esplanade, where many of its’ residents are opposing the neighboring behemoth, the Marina Lofts. Ironically, that Esplanade was nearly defeated as a monstrosity itself in the approval hearings in the1990’s!
2.) The City Administration held a meeting at the International Swimming Hall of Fame last week to unveil a new proposed parking garage on the beach at Las Olas and A1A on the current surface parking lot there.
The condos near the new proposed parking structure came out in force to oppose it. They said that the beach didn’t need any more parking, specifically not any that would create more traffic and block their view of the ocean.
One of the opposition leaders, Jack Newton, in a prepared piece he brought to the meeting, went as far as saying that the City would be sued over the garage, an “attractive nuisance …rape victims … would sue….. persons who slip and fall into vomit might also sue …it would be the old HOLIDAY INN ON WHEELS”.
I won’t miss those coming Public Hearings a bit!