Fort Lauderdale says Jimmy Tate’s reduced Bahia Mar plan can’t continue — yet

Renderings of Bahia Mar and Jimmy Tate
Renderings of Bahia Mar and Jimmy Tate

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission won’t be voting any time soon on Jimmy Tate’s revised development proposal for the Bahia Mar resort and marina property. Commissioners decided Tuesday evening to defer a decision to sign off on Tate’s submission of a site plan application on land owned by the city.

The revised plan, which includes seven new buildings with 651 residences plus a 250-room hotel, 151,000 square feet of ground-floor shops and restaurants, and a boardwalk surrounding the marina and a pedestrian village, still has to work its way through the city’s Development Review Committee and its Planning and Zoning Board before going to a commission vote.

Because the developer leases the property from the city, Fort Lauderdale commissioners Dean Trantalis and Romney Rogers said they feared that allowing Tate to apply would amount to a de facto endorsement of a proposal that neither they nor the public had seen until last week. 

Tate’s original plan drew a torrent of criticism last year for its potential impact on traffic as well as the height of its two proposed 39-story towers. It was submitted with the “Innovative District” zoning designation, which meant the commission had broad latitude to come up with reasons to warrant a rejection. Tate withdrew the proposal in June of last of year.

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The new proposal, with buildings topping out at 12 stories, now falls into the city’s “Site Plan Level IV” submittal category —which also requires city commission approval, but with more stringent guidelines for the requirements the city can impose. Architect Kobi Karp is designing the project.

City attorney Cynthia Everett noted that the commission’s eventual decision on whether to approve the development would include a fairly general consideration of “neighborhood compatibility,” and that it would be based on precedents from developments on private parcels.

“Site Plan Level IV only allows us to [deny] things under certain conditions,” said Trantalis, adding that if the developer complied with all the zoning requirements, he could build essentially whatever he wanted on the public-owned land.

The commission voted unanimously to table the discussion until May 2, saying the developer would need to get a jump on neighborhood outreach before getting approval to submit the new site plan.