Consensus Committee Report

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. 


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


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


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


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


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