Fort Lauderdale edges closer to traffic-based cap on central-beach development

Under a 1989 agreement with the county, the city is approaching a limit allowable development in the mid-section of the beach area

Jun.June 09, 2019 03:00 PM

Beach Boys Plaza rendering

Fort Lauderdale commissioners narrowly approved plans to build a beach-front hotel, but it may be the last major development allowed in the mid-section of the city’s barrier island due to a traffic congestion.

The five-member city commission on Tuesday night voted 3-2 to approve the site plan for Beach Boys Plaza, a 16-story, mixed-use development with 205 hotel rooms and a parking garage with 381 spaces.

The development site is a single-story, multi-tenant retail building and a parking lot at 401 South Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard (State Road A1A).

The owner of the 1.66-acre property is the family of the Plantation-based developer, Neil Hamuy, whose father long operated the single-story retail building under the name Beach Boys Plaza.

The 16-story version of Beach Boys Plaza would generate an estimated 1,991 additional daily vehicle trips to and from Fort Lauderdale’s central beach area, including 155 more during the afternoon rush hour.

Under a 1989 agreement between the city and Broward County, real estate developments can add no more than 3,220 daily vehicle trips to and from the central beach area during the afternoon rush hour.

Approval of the Beach Boys Plaza site plan pushed Fort Lauderdale closer to a moratorium on further development in the central beach area, where the 30-year-old city-county agreement now allows future development generating only about 100 more trips during the afternoon rush hour.

City commissioners also voted Tuesday against a proposed 17-story development at 3016 Bayshore Drive called Bayshore Hotel, which would have included 168 hotel rooms and 115 condominium units. Bayshore Hotel would have generated 975 additional daily trips to the city’s central beach area, including 84 during the afternoon rush hour.

Mayor Dean Trantalis, who voted against the proposals for both Bayshore Hotel and Beach Boys Plaza, cited doubt about the reliability of traffic studies for each project and concerns about emergency response times in the central beach area.

Police and fire-rescue crews responding to emergencies sometimes are forced to drive on the wrong side of roads to pass backed-up traffic on the barrier island, according to city commissioner Steve Glassman, who also voted against both development proposals.

The city has allocated some of the maximum number of 3,220 rush-hour trips to and from the central beach area to at least a dozen developments that haven’t yet been built.

For example, the pending redevelopment of the Bahia Mar hotel property at 801 Seabreeze Boulevard would generate an additional 460 trips during the afternoon rush hour. [Sun-Sentinel]Mike Seemuth

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