Crystal Ball Late, But Mostly Right

     In our last discussion, the Crystal Ball was consulted to see what would happen at last nights’ public hearing for the Marina Lofts “luxury” rental building,  proposed to be built on the New River in the Tarpon River neighborhood.

     The Ball said  approvals for moving the now famous Rain Tree, and its associated building allowances would happen at 11:30 pm.

                            Try 3:07 a.m.!

      The ball had it right on most of the other details.

     Commissioner Romney’s did recuse himself from the deliberations, ( and the new City Attorney did back him up), and the vote to move the Rain Tree  was  3-1, with Trantalis opposing.

      But the final vote for the project itself was 4-0, with Trantalis persuaded by the scaled back  version of the project orchestrated by Mayor Jack Seiler.


     I give the ball an 8 – and am sending it out for minor adjustment!

Rain Tree Relocation Approved !

      I’ve just taken a look into my crystal ball –


     And sadly, tomorrow night, the City’s Rain Tree wins approvals that allow it to be moved, trimmed back, no longer the largest of it’s species.


     The tree is a true giant, and is thought to be the largest of its’ species in the continental United States., because it only grows in Florida and Hawaii, and there isn’t one this large anywhere in Florida!

     Furthermore, about thirty years ago the tree was specifically protected by the City Commission, because of its’ specialness,  but those protections will be set aside about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday ( damn this crystal ball is good!)

     Here’s the rest of the story –

     First, the item won’t come up until late in the evening, and a good portion of the crowd that was there earlier to oppose the tree move has been worn down and gone home.

      Then, Commissioner Romney Rogers will announce a “conflict” of interest and recuse himself from the vote. He will say that his law firm represents the Water Taxi, and because they will be somehow affiliated with the Marina Lofts  project (the crystal ball is murky here), his firm will stand to gain, and therefore he cannot vote.


      The new City Attorney, Cynthia Everett,  will back him up. [ When Rogers runs for Mayor after Seiler leaves that post in 2018, no one will be able to say Rogers voted to move the Rain Tree ( just in case it croaks from the move].

                                                       big dead tree

       Then there will be a raucous debate, with Commissioner Trantalis opposing the tree move.

     Commissioners Dubose and Roberts won’t say too much, but will rely on information from the City’s Urban Forester (Gene Dempsey), who will say the tree could be relocated safely, and then Mayor Seiler rounds out the vote and it passes – 3 to 1.


     With the tree out of the way, the Marina Lofts 950 unit rental building, that creatively looks like it was split by an earthquake, gets approvals to build, and the Rain Tree gets moved somewhere south of the building. (No word yet form the ball if the tree ultimately survives the move).

                                    Now you don’t even have to watch!



Sue and Be Sued !

     If you thought that the question of how to redevelop our Fort Lauderdale Beach had been settled, you’d be way wrong. Let me tell you who is suing who this week!

     Our Beach is in a constant state of disagreement. The problem is that the beach is our major tourist attraction, but it is also a neighborhood!

     Today’s controversy involves a proposal for a new condominium called Grand Birch.

     The developer for the Grand Birch condo received approvals to build the 115 feet, 22 unit condo on the Intracoastal in April from the City Commission, but soon there after a group that calls itself –   Residents for Responsible Growth – sued the City to stop the construction.

                                         proposed condo in the yellow box

      The group, (RRG),  said the approval for the condo was illegal, and their attorney, Keith Poliakoff, (who is usually a pro-development attorney, – go figure,) said he thinks he could hold up the construction of the condo for three to five years, if the developer doesn’t capitulate and make the building smaller, etc.

     [Enter proposed condo – developer’s attorney]

      ….  “it has been the plan of a discreet group of unaffected citizens to use the court for the improper use of delaying ……”

      ….. The developer’s attorney has counter sued for the developer, and is demanding about $7000.00 in damages from the Central Beach Alliance, for interfering, (though the CBA have dropped their participation in the suit)  …. But the group RRG is still in the fight…..


      …. here is the question that I want you to answer –   will we ever find consensus on how to redevelop our beach ?

                  …….  how about a comment !

                                     …….. Tim



Speaking of Crime

     Our last post was about the rate of burglaries finally going down in the South Middle River neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale, after the introduction of the newest in crime prevention techniques- Smartwater – 

                                                      criminal doused with Smartwater

      -but unfortunately, the rate of burglaries in its’ next door neighborhood, Middle River Terrace. that doesn’t have City sponsored Smartwater,  went UP by the same percentage ! (squeezing of the balloon they call it) ………. 

     Tomorrow, both those neighborhoods join the LakeRidge and Poinsettia Hgts neighborhoods for a National Night Out Against Crime event.


     All Fort Lauderdalians are invited  …  Join the 13th Street Alliance, the Fort Lauderdale Police DepartmentMayor Seiler, Commissioner Trantalis, and City Manager Feldman for an interesting and fun event designed to keep up the fight against crime.


     The event is Tuesday, August 6, from 5:30 pm until 8 pm, on NE 13th Street between Dixie Highway and NE 5th Terrace.

     Everything is free, even the famous Bear’s Sausage and Pepper Subs!

     ….. and you’ll have to see the challenging game of “ring around the criminal” to believe it – 

                                 see you tomorrow   ……  Tim