Consensus Report on Density

The Consensus Report on Density was adopted at the  May  General Membership Meeting. The Report was prepared by the Comprehensive Planning Committee Chaired by Steve Buckingham, President of Tarpen River Civic Association. It was forwarded to the Mayor and City Commissioners and the City Manager as input to the City Commission Density Workshops. We look forward to discussing the Report with the Commisiners at an upcoming workshop.

CFLCA Consensus Statement on Density

Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations

Consensus Statement to the City Commission on Development/Density

 The Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations believes that the City of Fort Lauderdale should encourage human-scaled neighborhoods over urban sprawl, multiple transportation modes over automobile dependence and orderly, predictable development patterns that balance growth with neighborhood preservation.

We feel strongly that Fort Lauderdale should:

  • Encourage transit-friendly office, commercial and multi-family residential development within high density, mixed-use activity centers (ex: Downtown RAC, S. Andrews Ave/SRAC) surrounded by lower density/single-family neighborhoods, parks and natural amenities.
  • Discourage unsustainable, inappropriately-scaled development on the barrier island.
  • Continue to explore new opportunities for growth in the Uptown district and along the major identified corridors. However, until planning for a predictable and acceptable level of density and design is agreed upon, new large-scale projects should be discouraged or subject to further review.
  • Provide greater incentives for sustainable development that utilizes solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources to power the projects’ needs once built.

With 3 annual Neighbor Surveys pointing to traffic flow/congestion as the single biggest challenge facing the city, increased large-scale development and density should be encouraged only in sections of the city that either presently have the necessary transportation and self-supporting infrastructure (places of employment, shopping, food choices, etc.) in place to mitigate traffic flow issues or in sections of the city where it is planned and financed for the immediate future. For example, the Council would be generally supportive of density development along the phase 1 route of the Wave Modern Streetcar as it would be conducive to place more housing where residents have public transportation options. We also strongly support more transit options to airport, beach and the port to reduce car trips.

Further, we believe that growth and neighborhood strengthening can be accomplished by committing to the following:

  1. We advocate an acceleration of improving neighborhood streets deemed critical for the movement of people by all methods of transportation; specifically sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, lighting, street striping, and details outlined in “Complete Streets” and “Connecting the Blocks”.   We would not be supportive of large-scale residential construction moving forward in any neighborhood unless these aspects of planning are either in place or planned and financed in part or wholly by the developer.
  1. We support promoting distinctive, attractive neighborhoods and local business districts with a strong sense of place, including the rehabilitation, re-use, and protection of structures of importance; specifically, we support emphasizing and protecting existing community assets such as community centers, existing or planned parks, waterway access points and vistas, historic structures, etc.
  1. We support responsible, compatible growth in existing neighborhoods. For example, more needs to be done to preserve the general character of established neighborhoods that have developed over time. In-fill residential development (i.e., duplexes, cluster dwellings, etc.) has often become out of character with the pre-existing built environment and we request a review and modification of height and bulk allowances for new construction on existing lots in residential neighborhoods that are mostly composed of older stock, single family homes. Regenerate and implement the recommendations of the ULDR Modifications Plan outlined in the Neighborhood Development Criteria Revisions Project (NDCR).
  1. We want development decisions to be predictable and fair. While the Council supports flexibility from time to time for truly innovative development proposals that will enhance the community, we would prefer that Staff and Citizen Boards either stop or limit exceptions to our building codes and zoning regulations, especially within or nearby highly established and traditional neighborhoods.
  1. Continue to encourage and foster neighborhood participation as early as possible in development and density placement decision-making.

CFLCA Concensus Report January 2013

Fort Lauderdale Council of Civic Associations
Consensus Committee Report
Adopted on January 8, 2013

POSITION STATEMENT:  Fort Lauderdale is defined by its unique and diverse neighborhoods

GOAL:  Enhance the quality of life for neighbors and preserve the diversity of neighborhoods.

PROCESS:  Assemble concerns of member neighborhoods.  In November an “issues congress” will be held by the Council to finalize the definition of all issues in this quality of life exercise.  Once complete and adopted by the Council, the project will be presented to the City Commission, the City Manager, and the Visioning Committee for the purposes of prioritization, planning, budgeting, and staff resource allocation.

There are many issues managed by organizations other than the City of Fort Lauderdale that have a direct impact on the quality of life with our neighborhoods.  It is assumed that the City of Fort Lauderdale would exercise every option to enhance things like education and the arts to enhance the life of its citizens.  Other issues like traffic, airport and port management, the hospital system and business development incentives require proactive interaction by the City in order to maximize the results for neighbors. 

NEIGHBORHOOD ENHANCEMENT

Summary – Neighborhood Enhancement

Redevelopment has entered some neighborhoods at a cost to the quality of life.  Growth and the absence of action have resulted in neighborhood cut through traffic.  The volume, speed and presence have impacted the ability of residents to safely walk and cycle.  The system of sidewalks and bike paths is incomplete and inadequate. 

Recommended Actions – Neighborhood Enhancement

  • Maintain single-family neighborhood ambiance
    • Implement NRDC
    • Quantify “Neighborhood compatibility”
    • Refine code for “mixed use” neighborhoods
    • Petition the State of Florida to permit regulation of vacation rentals
  • Update Codes and Ordinances
    • Windpower
    • Solar installation
    • Urban farms/community gardens
    • Roof and vertical gardening
  • Honor all Master Plans filed with the City during review and approval processes
    • Increase the notice to neighbors both in time and visibility for all parts of the development           review process for both residential and commercial
  • Balance neighborhood character with smart re-development
    • Steer density to downtown core
    • Utilize downtown master plan to direct development/developers
  • Honor the past with preservation efforts
    • Blend new development with historic neighborhoods
    • Provide fiscal incentives to retain architecturally significant homes
    • Protect and enforce historic overlays
  • Requirements for new development should be forward sighted and include:
    • Vacation of alleys for developers valued by three-dimensional square footage
    • Long term plans for energy conservation
    • Buried lines, streetscape improvements, density requirements
  • Vacant Lots and Derelict buildings
    • Incentivize owners to maintain. Alter punitive orientation
    • Enforce code; Consider Eminent Domain possession for resale
    • Establish aggressive position with banks and financial institutions negatively impacting neighborhoods and adding to City costs
  • Manage cut through traffic
    • Use roundabouts to slow traffic and conserve energy
    • Install medians and “bump outs”  
  • Increase “walkability” and “cyclibility” within the City
    • Shade sidewalks and increase canopy
    • Install crosswalks, bike paths, and buffered bike lanes
    • Widen sidewalks
    • Incentivize property owners to install, widen walks
    • Insure contiguous sidewalk access to public transportation
    • Add bicycle issues to building codes (parking, access)
    • Create a “Bicycle and pedestrian Advisory Board” for he City
  • Integrate neighborhoods with the beach, other entertainment and services via walkways, bike paths and public transportation
    • Assume waterways as component of feeder system
    • Proactively use “complete streets” concepts to maximize benefits of mass transit expansions
  • Assure adequate parking provisions for neighborhoods adjacent to business areas during re-     development and new construction
  • Use code as custodian of neighborhood quality of life
    • Particularly the challenge in commercial/residential intersections and mixed-use areas.
  • Disperse low income housing across all neighborhoods and seek private sector solutions 

INFRASTRUCTURE

Summary – Infrastructure

Maintenance and repair of infrastructure is insufficient.  Lack of routine replacement has caused catatrosphic failure, neighborhood impact on health and safety, and cessation of services.  In addition, the decline in maintenance has negatively impacted businesses in the City which serve neighborhoods.  The process by which repair and maintenance is scheduled does not factor elements, traffic, opportunity costs and other causal elements in the prioritization process.  Public transportation is not currently a viable option for Fort Lauderdale neighbors. 

Recommended Actions – Infrastructure

  • Change the Canal dredging frequency and rotation
    • Vegetation growth, neighborhood and erosion factors are not currently factored in scheduling
  • Address neighborhood flooding issues
    • Continue purchase of “flood plain” land
    • Assess the valve project
    • Clear street drains on a routine basis
  • Accelerate the replacement of aging water and sewer lines
    • Catastrophic failures have endangered neighborhoods, canal waters, businesses
  • Reassess the rotation of street surfacing and culvert replacement
  • Secure and explore current and future potable water sources
  • Promote use of reclaimed water
  • Public transportation within and to the Downtown core
    • Remove the duplication of TMA/County bus routes/The Wave 

PUBLIC PLACES

Summary – Public Places

The Council published a Parks position paper February 2009.  It was re-issued in 2011.  The report is attached.  The cornerstone of the report was a “no net loss” policy.  Public spaces set the tone for the neighborhood and are an indicator of the health of the City.

 Recommended Actions – Public Places

  • Increase both green space and passive parks in neighborhoods
    • Use abandoned property and City owned property
    • Involve the immediate neighbors and City residents as stakeholders in park planning
  • Preserve current green space and native habitat
  • Maintain affordable and convenient public access to the Beach and the River for City residents
    • Establish a contiguous walk on both the north and south sides of the river
  • Set “Urban Forest” goals
    • Maintain and increase canopy   
    • Root pruning by City
    • Shade sidewalks (use DT master plan goals throughout the City for landscaping)
    • No removal of mature trees 
  • Explore the PUD ordinance for options to increase green space requirements
  • Secure the safety of public places for use by families and residents of all ages
  • Prioritize and budget for maintenance of medians and public properties
  • Enforce “Dog Ordinance” to assure healthy environment for Park users 

PUBLIC SAFETY and SOCIAL SERVICES

Summary – Public Safety and Social Services

Crimes by youths and the ‘underserved’ increase and impact the quality of life for all residents.  Youth services and education are critical components to turn around the trend. 

Recommended Actions – Pubic Safety and Social Services

  • Continue the neighborhoods policing teams initiated in 2011
  • Explore creative solutions for youth crime
  • Share the burden of distribution in order to prevent “ghettoization” of neighborhoods
  • Select public transportation corridors for social services
  • Provide adequate services to the homeless and underserved 

INTERNAL SUPPORT

Summary – Internal Support

Improvement of response time and effectiveness of response presents a cost saving opportunity.  

Partnering for a result is a change neighbors would welcome.  Proactive and progressive code/ordinance changes incorporating incentives would benefit both the residential and business community. 

Recommended Actions – Internal Support

  • Establish more City staff power to create solutions and address concerns
  • Reward partnering across “silos”  
  • Coordinate abandoned property issues across departments
  • Provide a bridge to FDOT and other County and State agencies
    • provide resident input
    • improve finished product
  • Inform and involve stakeholders (neighbors)      
    • Residents are an invaluable resource before, during and after any initiative

Parks Goals

 

Report of the CFLCA Parks Goals Committee

 
Submitted February 10, 2009
 
Introduction
The committee was tasked with the following:

            1) Find a method to continue to increase green space.

            2) Find an equitable approach to spread parks throughout the city and increase green                          space in neighborhoods that are under-served.

            3) Provide more Park Rangers and allow for coordination of police and Park Rangers.
 
The term “green space” can mean different things to different people.  We have decided to define “green space” as a community park which could consist of open space, a bike path, a dog park, a community garden, a community square, a golf course or any combination thereof. 
 
Our focus has been on creating smaller scale community parks with minimal “programed space” and preserving existing endangered recreation areas that are not “parks” per se such as golf courses, but could add substantially to the open space of the City if kept from development.
 
The need for green, open space in an urban environment is unquestioned.  Not only does it provide areas for recreation and/or relaxation but can also create a sense of place and provide a gathering place for the neighborhood.  In addition parks increase property values in the surrounding area which translates into increased tax revenues for the City.  We would hope that the City would view acquiring more park land as an investment in our future that will pay dividends both in the well being of its citizens and the positive impact on the City’s budget.
 
Before increasing the amount of “green space” we first must preserve what we already have.  To that end the committee urges the City to adopt a “no net loss” principle.  If park land is taken away for another use it must be replaced elsewhere in the vicinity by the addition of at least an equal parcel.
 
Creating More “Green”                                                                                               
Opportunities exist throughout the City to reuse vacant land to create more green open space for the communities where these parcels are now often the source of blight, crime and illegal uses.  Many of these lots are city-owned or could be purchased from private owners.  For some good advice on how to get a park in your neighborhood please refer to Appendix “A”.
 
Where possible, the concept of a community or “Town Square” should be explored.  Using the example of Savannah, GA these town squares could create a powerful sense of place and community pride.  The town squares could be used for public celebrations, meetings or gatherings as well as for recreation, relaxation and the dissemination of information through the use of message boards.

Mindful of the need to conserve natural resources and scarce revenues we recommend the use of design concepts that utilize xeroscape principles, i.e. low maintenance, drought resistant plant and shrub species, pathways and a minimum of grassy areas.
 
Spreading the Wealth

The committee has studied the Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation Long Range Strategic Plan.  Among the Plan’s recommendations we particularly endorse the standard of a minimum of one (1) acre of green space/parks per neighborhood association.  It may be difficult in some neighborhoods to assemble a single parcel totaling one acre so contiguity would not be required.  Priority should be given to those areas of the city that are currently under-served.
 
Funding or “Show Me the Money”

In the past the City has floated bond issues to pay for park land acquisition and construction.  We recommend a new bond issue to pay for new parks.  (See Appendix “C”)
 
Additional operating funds could be derived from vendor rentals of equipment such as bicycles, roller blades, lounge chairs etc.  Our larger parks such as Holiday Park may be good candidates for the creation of a Foundation or Trust, such as New York’s Central Park, which would provide an endowment to supplement city funding.  If revenues can be found from sources such as these and others more general funds would be freed up to provide funding for the smaller neighborhood parks and town squares. 
 
The Lone Rangers

The committee had the benefit of input from Earnest Jones, Park Ranger Supervisor.  Currently there are for all City parks, in total, only 2-4 rangers working from 6:30am to 3:00pm and 4-6 rangers from 3:00pm to11:30pm.  Their duties include public relations, monitoring and reporting on hazardous conditions, assisting in crowd control and rules enforcement, etc.  The idea is to do more with less.  Mr. Jones recommended the creation of 1) a Jr. Park Ranger Program and 2) the institution of a Park Watch Program in partnership with local neighborhood associations.  The Jr. Ranger program would focus on exposing High School students, grades 11 and 12, to the profession of park safety and security.  Students would earn community service points for participating in the program.  Community points could be credited to the Associations who become involved in the Parks Watch Program.  Both programs could be funded with corporate sponsorships.  A breakdown of some of the costs involved can be found in Appendix “B”.
 
Summary
!          Focus should be on preserving existing parks and green space and creating community parks in areas that are currently under-served.

!          City should adopt a “no net loss” principle.

!          City should consider parks and green open spaces an investment paying dividends in economic terms through increased property values and a better quality of life for its citizens.

!          Town Squares should be created where possible.

!          To save revenue and natural resources, Xeroscape principles should be adopted for new parks/green spaces and phased in in existing parks where possible.

!          The City should adopt the standard of at least one (1) acre of park/green space per neighborhood association.

!          A bond issue should be floated to finance land acquisition and capital improvements.

!          For larger Parks the City should explore the establishment of a Trust or Foundation.

!          A Junior Park Ranger Program should be established with funding to come from corporate or private sponsorships.

!          A Parks Watch Program should be established with participation from Neighborhood Associations.

 

This report was prepared by Committee Chair Doug Sterner with the participation of:
Abel Conejo, Lake Ridge; Dennis Ulmer, Lauderdale Manors; Mark Boyd, Progresso Village; Marilyn Markus, Bermuda Riviera; Betty Hays, River Run;
DebraVan Valkenburgh, Chula Vista Isles