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MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

DECEMBER 19, 2013


The meeting was called to order at 11:20 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Hamaker, Nesbitt, McBride, Abruzzino, Bazerghi, Casier, Cella, Closke, Cohn, Freismuth, Friedman, Gallagher, Katkin, Kessler, Korn, Larson, Oser, Rollo, Solewin, Tripoli and Vega.

Guests present: Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts; Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca; Officer Tom Gestal (Fort Lauderdale Police Department).

Approval of Minutes - Minutes of the November 21, 2013 Advisory Board Meeting were unavailable (as announced by Secretary).

Old and New Business

  • Pio reported the results of a December 5, 2013 meeting attended by GMCA officials, several merchants, Traffic Planners and Commissioner Roberts to discuss problems with the proposed A1A Greenway project. The two most egregious obstacles – changing 35th and 36th Streets into single lane one-way thoroughfares heading east to Galt Ocean Drive and the planned construction of a roundabout adjacent to Plaza East – have been eliminated. City traffic planners and their staffers were very cooperative, expeditiously excising both items from the plan.

  • Pio stated that Realtor Dennis Matson opposes the A1A project as he claims it will harm his business and property value. At a meeting with GMCA officials and Matson, the history of the project was discussed and it was suggested that he propose an alternative solution to the unsafe parking dilemma that currently afflicts the east side of A1A. If the proposed solution is unacceptable, we will continue to approve the beautification, given its overwhelming support by thousands of Galt Mile residents and merchants.

  • Pio introduced Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts, Fort Lauderdale City Commission, who shared:

    • Parking issues at Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill, which swapped land with the City to enable reconstruction of Fire Station 54 on a site more conducive to addressing flood plain requirements.

    • Reported on the fire station’s progress; which is 1 – 1 ½ years behind schedule due to delays from unforeseen complications.

  • Pio introduced Chip LaMarca, Broward County Commissioner, who reported:

    • The Galt Ocean Mile library is no longer threatened.

    • He is working with Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to find acceptable local polling site(s) for early voting.

    • Characterizing the beach as the County’s most important natural resource, he traveled to Tallahassee in support of the beach renourishment, meeting with environmental officials and lawmakers. He is working with Beach Administrator Eric Myers to navigate permitting obstacles and aspires to get some sand on the beach in 2014.

    • This year was an economic benchmark for Broward transportation hubs Port Everglades (thanks to passage of the WRDA Water Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives) and Ft. Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport, which are both undergoing competitive infrastructure improvements.

    • The County-owned BB&T Center’s prime tenant, the Florida Panthers, was recently purchased by New York businessman Vincent Viola, who confirmed that the franchise will remain tenanted in the County’s sports arena.

  • Pio introduced Officer Tom Gestal of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department:

    • There has been an increase in larceny ascribed to the Holiday Season.

    • He cautioned us to be careful when walking.

    • The Winn Dixie parking lot is being patrolled more; suggests that patrons use “bag boy” service to parked vehicles.

    • Call the police if you see any illegal activity.

  • Pio commented that Winn Dixie still needs to address illicit activity behind the store. He will call them to request that they lock their dumpsters.

Galt Ocean Drive Street Maintenance

Chepo Vega displayed pictures of various landscaping maintenance problems. He is sending the pictures to the City and is meeting with Parks and Recreation officials. He asked for help to accomplish long postponed objectives. Pio will organize a neighborhood walk-through to help identify specific problems.

Chepo was praised for his time, dedication and hard work.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz

  • November 2013 Web Site Stats: 609,366 hits, 15,208 Unique Site Visits (First Timers)

Articles posted during the past month include:

  • November 11, 2013 - Roberts: Economy, Road Kill, Affordable Housing - In his November 2013 Newsletter, Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts reviews a variety of economic and community reinvestment opportunities that contribute to the City’s fiscal balance. Unless Fort Lauderdale increases Marina capacity for super-yachts, the Marine Industry may find a new Ground Zero, costing Fort Lauderdale one of its two main economic engines. Roberts also informs us that Fort Lauderdale may soon see food and beverage service on its Blue Wave Beach, Good Morning America reported that the Venice of America has been named one of the top 10 cities for families, a citywide Pavement Management System will soon cut the cost of maintaining City roadways, responsibilities that the City took over from the County include disposing of hazardous waste and road kill (really!!), and reminds residents to report streetlight outages. The Vice Mayor applauds the redevelopment of blighted blocks in the long decaying Northwest Neighborhood, one of several Affordable Housing successes achieved by a public-private partnership with the Carlisle Development Group - a Miami-based enterprise which is facing Federal charges for swindling tax credits.

  • November 20, 2013 - LaMarca: WRDA, Vet Bus Pass, Workshops - While announcing a follow-up series of “how to” workshops for vendors stalking county business and celebrating approval of his pilot program to provide a free bus pass to low-income veterans, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca’s November 2013 constituent update applauds Congress for throwing Port Everglades the key to its future. For more than seven years, Congress has been unable to pass legislation authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program, which constructs critical navigation and water infrastructure projects across the nation. On October 23, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives convincingly slam dunked the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRDA) by a vote of 417-3, setting the stage for the appointment of a conference committee to mitigate differences between the House and Senate versions. Enacting the WRDA will provide long-awaited access to roughly $7 billion squirreled away and collecting dust in a Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. This will empower the Corps to realize competitive improvements to the Port that will cement its future as a regional economic powerhouse.

  • December 4, 2013 - A1A Greenway at Crossroads - On October 8, 2013, the City of Fort Lauderdale convened a Town Hall style meeting at the Beach Community Center to discuss a seven-year old promise to local residents. Diana Alarcon of Fort Lauderdale’s Transportation & Mobility Department presented a plan to reconfigure the newly narrowed A1A between Flamingo Avenue and Oakland Park Boulevard into a Greenway – as envisioned by City planners. Unlike the design option endorsed by neighborhood residents in a 2009 referendum, the plan she described was riddled with disastrous repercussions. In addition to skyrocketing traffic volume on Galt Ocean Drive, Galt Mile residents would be forced to drive 2 miles in order to park their cars in the public lots directly across the street from their homes. Galt Ocean Drive residents would only be able to exit the block at the northern and southern ends of the street, which would be perpetually jammed by significantly increased traffic. At a December 5th meeting with GMCA officials arranged by Commissioner Roberts, project planners agreed to eliminate the most egregious obstacles. Except for a couple of hardline holdouts, Alarcon quelled the concerns of apprehensive attendees when she announced the concessions at a December 11th public meeting. As a result, A1A will be transformed into a thoroughfare worthy of its designation as a “Florida Scenic Highway” without using neighborhood residents as lab rats in a twisted experiment. Stay tuned...

Other Business

  • Ralph Hamaker reported that Julian’s Restaurant at 3351 NE 32nd Street is under new ownership.

  • Bicycles are Legally Vehicles: laws governing the registration and licensing of bicycles were explained.

Treasurer’s Report -

The Treasurer’s Report, given by Fred Nesbitt, showed a balance of $16,680.93.

Adjournment - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.

Fern McBride
Fern McBride, Secretary

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