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MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

December 17, 2014


The meeting was called to order at 11:08 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Hamaker, Nesbitt, Adams, Cameron, Casier, Cella. Correa, Fox, Hashek, Katkin, Korn, Larson, Mercado, Neill, Oser, Pohan, Santiago, Solewin, Sunday and Tripoli

Guests present: Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Approval of Minutes - Minutes of the November 20, 2014 Advisory Board Meeting were approved with a proviso to correct the heading date to November 20, 2014 from October 16, 2014. Moved by Casier and seconded by Pohan.

Old and New Business/Guests

  • Pio discussed the following topics:

    • Homeless on the Galt – received an email from a resident of one of the Galt condos regarding homeless being seen in the evenings – Sgt Ogden of the Beach Patrol was notified – no further action at this time

    • Donations to Homeless – reminded to not donate directly to the homeless but to those agencies that provide services to the homeless – such as the Broward Partnership for the Homeless – which operates the 230-bed Homeless Assistance Center on Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale

    • Removal of the Homeless – although protected by a constitutional right to occupy any public venue or right-of-way, aggressive homeless persons can be forced to “move on” or arrested for trespassing or violating a City Ordinance.

    • Showers at Oakland Park Blvd beach access – discussion about discouraging inappropriate use of the public showers (public nudity) at the beach entrance near L Hermitage – it is an amenity provided at most Broward beach accesses. Will verify with City Commissioner Roberts whether City, County or State (FDEP) regulates maintenance and/or use.

    • Question raised about police patrols along the Galt Mile neighborhood – the daily patrol schedule for both the District 1 FLPD Command and the off-duty FLPD Beach Patrol officers is confidential and random, since unpredictable patrol protocols more effectively deter planned criminal activity.

  • Pio introduced Fort Lauderdale District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts, who spoke of the following:

    • Homeless – will review jurisdictional oversight for showers at beach access (see comment above)

    • Homeless – the City continues to work with Arnold Abbott with regard to acceptable Homeless feeding locations during a court mandated 30-day enforcement freeze. However, since Abbott has declined the indoor feeding sites that he originally requested days earlier during a televised interview, he appears more consumed with damaging the City than helping the homeless. After the 30-day negotiating opportunity, the judge will decide whether Abbott’s 14-year old injunction is applicable to the 2014 City food-sharing ordinance. Roberts lamented media distortions of the City’s homeless policy. The new City Law requires basic sanitary and food safety standards and consent of affected property owners for food sharing events.

    • Sun Trolley – reports indicate a sharp decline in ridership along the Galt route –dropping from 12/17 riders per hour to 5/6 riders per hour (the Interlocal agreement with Broward County Transit minimally requires 7.1 riders per hour). Roberts doesn’t find the conclusions credible, and questioned how the statistics were collected. Eric suggested meeting with newly appointed Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli. Roberts will first arrange a private meeting, after which Chiarelli can address the Presidents Council. If the Galt Mile’s Sun Trolley service is reduced or terminated, Roberts observed that Lauderdale-by-the Sea’s Pelican Hopper makes three stops in the Galt Mile. However, it doesn’t service the Galt Mile on Saturdays and access to Coral Ridge Mall and Imperial Point Hospital would be completely eliminated, driving up transportation costs for hundreds of elderly Galt Mile residents / medical patients.

    • Inconsistent Building Code Enforcement – Plaza East President Glenn Rollo reported that after approving a major construction plan and issuing a permit, Code Enforcement stopped the nearly completed project, demanding that it be demolished and reconstructed in compliance with ADA public venue requirements, despite Plaza East’s legal status as a private residence – as indicated in ADA protocols. Although Roberts quickly resolved the problem, capricious and insupportable delays cost the association roughly $21,000. If City inspectors or code officers impose a questionable. demand on any Galt Mile association, please contact Bruce Roberts and/or Pio via email with specifics

    • Bruce announced his candidacy for the District 1 seat on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. Although currently unopposed – the filling deadline is January 11, 2015. If necessary, a primary will be scheduled on February 10, 2015 and the general election will take place on March 10, 2015.

    • Given the wholesale turnover of top building department officials over the past year, a proposed meeting with Galt Mile officials and the current Building Services and Code Enforcement leadership was considered. The last such meeting took place two years ago – and successfully cured a litany of problems.

Beach Renourishment

  • Beach Re-nourishment Project – with the NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion Letter received and the Contractors Agreements under negotiation, final Federal actions are anticipated to be completed soon. At this time, the implementation schedule includes starting around mid-February on the beach south of the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and north of Oakland Park Blvd. Completion of this first phase is expected to be mid-April. Dunes will be created with Sea Oats along the beach to provide sand stability – each building is to be contacted regarding specific sand re-nourishment plans in front of their buildings.

  • Beach Re-nourishment Project – it was noted that this project is a protection for all structures – not just those directly on the sand - it is the first line of defense against destructive winds and storms.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz

  • November 2014 Web Site Stats: 698,203 hits, 23,001 Unique Site Visits (First Timers)

Articles posted during the past month include:

  • November 20, 2014 - Roberts: Homeless, Bullet Train, A1A Fix - In his November - December 2014 Newsletter, after conveying seasonal tidings, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts announces the construction kickoff for All Aboard Florida’s downtown Fort Lauderdale station - one of three futuristic South Florida pit stops for planned high speed passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando. Reviewing the transformation of A1A, the Commissioner updates construction progress along the section crushed by Superstorm Sandy and planned improvements to the stretch of “Ocean Highway” that borders the Galt Ocean Mile neighborhood (which includes input offered by Galt Mile residents, local vendors and neighborhood association officials). He also asks constituents to name citizen volunteers worthy of official recognition, applauds NOVA students for recruiting a record number of “Adopt-A-Neighbor” volunteers (who assist homeowners with property improvements) and encourages registration for local CodeRED emergency alerts. Roberts concludes with a warning about elevated threat levels for storm surge ascribed to seasonal high tides and lists upcoming municipal events. However, in his opening message, Roberts intimates that certain politically vested outsiders are spinning the media to reverse a city policy that balances the needs of the homeless with those of the general public.

  • November 29, 2014 - Galt Mile: Predators vs. Security - As homeless-related incidents proliferated in the City over the past decade, they also exploded across the Galt Mile, mushrooming from a handful of cordial tithing opportunities to robberies, thefts and assaults. For years, a few well-meaning snowbirds slipped daily handouts to homeless regulars who were fixtures on nearby association or sidewalk benches. As predicted by four consecutive District 1 Police Commanders, these congenial bench dwellers were soon replaced by roving groups of street punks. While investigating a variety of security strategies to beat back the growing threat, the neighborhood association stumbled on an option that fell into the “Goldilocks Zone” of Security Services. Although rated by Security Pundits as “highly effective”, the service was among the least expensive alternatives - a serendipitous impact of Galt Mile’s tightly packed demographics. After the community’s beachfront associations unanimously approved initiating the Galt Ocean Mile Security Patrol in 2006, the crime rate dropped precipitously. Unfortunately, predators who slipped through the cracks have staked out several neighborhood sites, turning them into gauntlets. “And the hits just keep on coming.”

  • December 10, 2014 - Galt Mile Sun Trolley - A Bumpy History - While most Galt Mile residents maintain vehicles in the garage or parking deck, our demographics include a larger than average community of dedicated pedestrians. Some lament being barred from a driver’s license by a DMV eye exam. Others evangelize the wellness dividend of endless constitutionals. Few will admit that they were forced to choose between a car, prescribed heart medication and one daily alternative to canned tuna fish. For necessities they can’t reach on foot, they needn’t humble themselves by asking for a lift – they board the Sun Trolley. For scores of our neighbors, the community bus is more than an eclectic party favor, it’s their sole access to medical or “quality of life” resources the rest of us take for granted. For an inside perspective of the Galt Mile Sun Trolley’s bumpy history, Read on...

  • December 17, 2014 - Galt Mile Holiday Season Leftovers - As we wend our way through the Holiday Season, events sometimes meld into a blur, and occasionally slip by unnoticed. While their relative impacts are less than critical, the following news snippets are either enlightening, or scratch an itch. In one recent incident, after a disabled Coral Ridge Towers South resident was victimized by a local merchant, his caretaker and a local news personality teamed up to script a final chapter worthy of the Holiday Season. Those with a passing curiosity about what happened to Commissioner “No” will learn the outcome of her latest local endeavor to re-enter public service. Finally, a summarized agenda item from the December GMCA Presidents Council meeting at Plaza South illuminates the status of our long-awaited Beach Renourishment. If you enjoy easy reading, check out these Holiday Season leftovers!

Other Business

  • New Flood Maps – Ever since FEMA redrew Broward Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) to the newer NGVD88 standard, and placed the Galt Mile in a higher risk Flood Zone, mortgage lenders have repeatedly attempted to require additional flood insurance coverage for mortgaged units. Galt Mile unit owners – and their lenders – are often unaware that Galt Mile associations are eligible for NFIP Grandfathered rates comparable to those charged for their previous zone designation – unless they allowed coverage to lapse. As such, unsuspecting unit owners could be paying $thousands each year for unnecessary flood insurance coverage inappropriately added annually to their mortgage statements by misinformed lenders.

  • Citizens Insurance – there was discussion about how Citizens’ depopulation policies impact some Galt Mile Associations – it was determined that this topic is more appropriate to a Presidents Council Meeting.

  • Advisory Board – a reminder that each Galt Mile Association is entitled to appoint two representatives to the Advisory Board. Ordinarily selected by the Board President, any association member in good standing can serve. Additionally, board members and Property Managers are welcome to attend as guests.

  • Honorary Permanent Membership – three Advisory Board members have been nominated/approved to serve the Galt Mile Committee Association as Honorary Permanent Members

    • Leah Glickfield

    • George Mayer

    • Frank Casier

  • It was announced that Il Lugano has become the Residence Inn Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal, a Marriott franchise owned and managed by Claremont Cos. (following its August sale to Claremont Ft. Lauderdale Suites LLC).

  • Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival will be held on March 7, 2015

Treasurer’s Report - Fred Nesbitt

The Treasurer reported a balance of $18,182.46.

Adjournment - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:44 p.m.

Ed Hashek
For Secretary Fern McBride

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