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North Beach, Hallandale Beach, Florida, via Google Maps Street View
On Monday morning I'll be posting a lengthy fact and photo-filled look at The Related Group's proposed 31-story hotel/condo Beachwalk project on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway/State Road 858 Bridge & Hallandale Beach Blvd., the former Manero's Restaurant site, which was unanimously rejected in January by the city's Planning & Zoning Advisory Board. Officially, it's 2600 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd.
As of today, the proposal is still scheduled to be heard during a First Reading on Wednesday night in the Commission Chambers at HB City Hall, 400 S. Federal Highway.
I must tell you, among well-informed HB residents and civic activists I've spoken to the past week, there is a heightened sense of concern and even shock in some quarters, about why this particular proposal is being rushed right now, even while everyone in town, including at City Hall, knows perfectly well that many Hallandale Beach taxpayers, homeowners and residents who will be most-affected by this proposal have already left for the summer to escape the brutal heat and humidity we've been experiencing the past month.
And the developer's own paperwork on this project is STILL not even finished.
So why the rush NOW?
To me, perhaps the most discouraging thing, apart from the very bad idea of scheduling such a key vote now, is that what is being largely overlooked by some parties outside of Hallandale Beach, including the South Florida news media, is that the city seems perfectly willing to hand-over the future and development of the northern portion of this city's very small PUBLIC beach, North Beach, to The Related Group as part of the Beachwalk proposal.
They clearly want to be able to tell potential condo buyers.and hotel customers that they will have access to the beach, even though it's actually three blocks away.
Meanwhile, the North Beach area has been VERY POORLY maintained by the city for YEARS, as City Manager Good and Antonio and their highly-paid assistants -and the city's own DPW- already know quite well.
The public beach is not just poorly maintained, but actually filthy in places, with litter and maintenance problems left to linger for years at a time, as I've mentioned here many times previously with photos to prove it's a fact, not just my opinion.
Yes, it's all rather quite the ironic and bitter pill for HB taxpayers that the environmental legacy of Mayor Joy Cooper's self-serving ten years in office -where she has, despite the crappy facts here on the ground that we've all been forced to live with for years- that she has wormed her way into being the Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' (USCM) Environment Committee, despite having just about the worst beach in all of South Florida -and not at all by coincidence.
Try not to let the rusty, filthy bacteria-covered pipes that have been left for years in the middle of the public beach ruin your good mood next time you take your family to the beach.
Just ignore the condom wrappers and the liquor bottles and the mounds of cigarette butts next to the plants that have been there for weeks or months on end... since that's what the city's DPW Director does.
FYI: That's The Related Group's Apogee condo project -in Hollywood- being built at the top of this first photo, all of which I shot in February of 2012, except as noted..
Not that you asked, but as I've been saying for years, in order to get things turned around on the public beach as quickly as possible, and finally bring some degree of public accountability to the area, I've been in favor of hiring a contractor whose only job is to keep the beach areas clean, inviting and properly maintained, since the city's own DPW has consistently shown over the years that they not only lack the will or desire to do so, but consistently seem to try to do as little as possible.
And it shows, too!!!
Tomorrow, you will see further proof of that, but for now, linger on this March 21, 2008 shot, one of dozens I could post, of the city's tenant, The Beachside Cafe, abusing the public beach and our good will, something they have done for YEARS.
This also includes illegally using the public's right-of-way on the sidewalk they aren't entitled to use, on the south side, and placing their chairs and tables there, or, as many people know from experience, actually having the gall to move the public beach picnic tables from the beach over to the sidewalk near their property, and serving food and alcohol.
In this particular 2008 shot above, though, they're using the public beach as a place to dry out their trays on state-protected plants, to break-down their cardboard boxes on the beach and leave them there for hours.
This exact location is also where the restaurant daily dumps dirty water mixed with cleaning chemicals into the ground from their mop bucket, which they often leave on the sidewalk.
They have been doing this and much more for years, with no fear of punishment from the powers-that-be at City Hall, even after you complain as I have.
Why do you suppose that is?
Just this past week, I saw them dumping dirty water and cleaning chemicals from their mop bucket onto the beach for myself yet again.
You may even see a photo of that tomorrow.
Also, if you didn't already know, former Hallandale Beach Development Services director Richard Cannone is working on this project for his new employer, Calvin Giordano & Associates, which means that he is also considered a registered lobbyist for the city's purposes.
Again, I will have lots of photos and facts for you to consider and mull-over tomorrow, and if everything goes as planned, I'll have that up on the blog before Noon.
Right now, though, I need you to make plans to be present at City Hall Wednesday night -and to bring your kids and neighbors, since we all have a stake in this issue.
It's vitally important that you let the elected City Commission know that you are not only NOT in favor of this important issue being decided right now while so many stakeholders are away, but to also let them know that you are opposed to any part of our small public beach being a throwaway sweetener in a 30-year deal for a real estate developer, one who bought the old Manero's property at deep discount -only $2.92 Million.
Until then, here's the current information on the city's website:
Hallandale Beach Blvd
|#47-11-DB (Major Development)|
#48-11-CU (Conditional Use)
#51-11-RV (Road Vacation)
|31-story mixed-use building with|
84 residential units,
432 hotel rooms and
1,225 sq.ft restaurant
|Scheduled for City Commission Hearing on June 6, 2012||DRC|
Planning and Zoning Board (Recommended Denial by 4-0 vote)
Estimated Site Plan Approval: