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Deerfield Beach Community Redevelopment Agency Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

6:00 P.M.


The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Popelsky at 6:05 p.m. on the above date in the City Commission Chambers, City Hall.


Roll Call:


            Present:                                  Mr. Steve Gonot

Ms. Pam Militello

Ms. Sylvia Poitier

Vice Chair Martin Popelsky

Chair Albert R. Capellini, P.E. – Tardy


            Also Present:

                                                            Michael Mahaney, City Manager

                                                            Andrew Maurodis, City Attorney

                                                            Ada Graham-Johnson, CMC, City Clerk


Approval of the agenda


November 20, 2007


MOTION was made by Ms. Poitier and seconded by Mr. Gonot to approve the agenda as submitted. 


Voice Vote:  YEAS: Mr. Gonot, Ms. Militello, Ms. Poitier, and Vice Chair Popelsky.  NAYS:  None.


General Items


                                    ITEM 1                                               TAPE 1, COUNT 0078


            Presentation and Discussion of Draft Cove Charrette Master Plan


Gerald Ferguson, Director of Planning and Growth Management/Building, introduced Henry Iler, Iler Planning Group, to present the design of the Cove Charrette Master Plan


Henry Iler, 11000 Prosperity Farms Road, Suite 206, Palm Beach Gardens, Iler Planning Group, introduced his planning team who participated in the design of the Cove Charrette Master Plan.  Mr. Iler outlined his presentation, as well as a brief description of the history on planning the design. 




Continuing, Mr. Iler stated that design Alternative #1 was a basic change which allowed maintaining the current layout to improve the existing façade, versus structural changes.  To increase that total parking in Alternative #1 was 618 spaces.  Alternative 2 included a parking garage at the northeast section of the Cove, closest to Hillsboro Boulevard.  He stated that the parking garage would create additional green space in the parking lot.  A greenway from Hillsboro Square from 15th Avenue to the Cove was also a part of the plan; total parking was 634.  Design Alternative #3 would include a five story parking garage with 400 parking spaces; additional offices over the existing buildings, additional landscaping, pedestrian elements and total maximum parking of 868.  The consultant team combined Alternatives 1 and 3, because those alternatives received the most votes, which led to a mall and green space closer to the stores, eliminating a row of right of way, drive aisle, and the Key West architectural design.


Mr. Iler stated that there were a number of people interested in the parking garage, but the majority desired to keep the basic design and improve it.  Phase I entails upgrading the basic layout, no parking garage, but improving the flow of traffic and the landscaping in the parking lot, by adding additional spaces.  He stated that the plan would provide 14 additional spaces. 


Vice Chair Popelsky asked if a parking space is based on 10 x 20 size. 


Mr. Iler replied yes, that is the standard parking spaces according to code.


Vice Chair Popelsky asked if the idea of utilizing a 9 X 18 parking space considered.


Mr. Iler replied he would answer the question after his presentation.  Mr. Iler highlighted the entranceway of the shopping center to include a clock tower for greater visibility, decorative pavers, and a connection from the parking lot and the Cove center to the northern park.  He also stated that the plan would include a green buffer for residential uses, decorative landscaping along the west side and additional neighborhood landscaping. 


Continuing, Mr. Iler stated that Phase II addresses major issues of parking.  The plan would accommodate 928 spaces; however, this plan would be a long term plan, approximately 5 – 15 years, if so desired by the community.  Moreover, he stated that if the community desired, Phase I could only be utilized.  He stated that there is still walkability in Phase II. He described in detail how implementing a paseo would allow for connectivity.  He said that with Phase II, landscaping would increase due to the parking garage.


Mike Grosswirth said the reason they were able to gather more parking spaces they went from the 90 degree 10 x 20 spaces and angled them into one way drive aisles.  This change would narrow the drive aisle requirements thereby allowing them to widen the landscape areas.  Also allowing a safer pedestrian area, since the traffics would flow in one direction.  Additionally, changing the spaces to 9 X 18 would widen the area.  He stated that currently, the striped pavement could be redesigned to provide additional landscaped areas. 


Ms. Poitier asked what would be in the area near 15th Avenue to the medical office. 


Mr. Grosswirth replied that it would be an open pass through pedestrian walk way to provide walking connectivity from the Cove to Hillsboro.  He stated that the stakeholders did not want to lose any parking, which was of utmost importance.  They also wanted the ability to move safely from one end of the center to the other. 


Vice Chair Popelsky asked if Phase I will include a sidewalk on the west side.


Ms. Militello replied that there will be crosswalks intermittently to guide people.  Additionally, she stated that inside the parking lot there will not be sidewalks, but the design proposes pedestrian crossing areas to guide people. 


Continuing, Mr. Grosswirth stated that they will increase the landscape green space, adding an employee parking lot on the north side of the northern buildings, enhance the parking lot lighting, reduce street markings, making it safe and easy to read.  The landscaping would use predominantly native planting to keep the use of water low.  He described the various trees included in the landscaping plan.


Chris Zimmerman, President CPZR, stated that the Key West style tended to blend well with the community and the surrounding areas, as well as many of the design implements already in place.  In the design palette, the design recommended building walls to reflect the old siding, trim ideas, sloped roofs, and various details that could be incorporated due to the gable roof ends.  Moreover, she stated that the use of operable doors and windows prevent fixed glass and storefronts, but to allow more residential and tropical character. She elaborated on the use of decorative or hurricane shutters, doors with use of transoms, and other decorative items are a part of the design palette.  Additionally, porches would provide shade on the storefronts, with overhangs and decorative trim ideas to enhance buildings on a second story.    Ms. Zimmerman continued to describe various design ideas that could be used throughout the Cove.


Mr. Iler stated that connectivity and buffering is another major feature of the design charrette.  He reiterated various design implementations previously discussed for Phases I and II.  Mr. Iler stated that due to the Cove’s current design, it is easily passed; therefore, for the main entrance they would like to include some type of landmark that would identify the shopping center. 


Continuing, Mr. Iler stated that there will be amendments to the CRA Master Plan. He suggested updating the Capital Improvement Program, which currently shows the parking garage being funded between 2008 – 2010, as it would be postponed for a number of years, and the parking lot redesign would be put forward in a shorter priority.  Additionally, Mr. Iler stated that the Master Plan should be included, as well as a reference to the Cove Center design report, and include standards for façade grants.  He suggested the CRA providing loan/grant programs to owners within the Cove to provide an incentive for them to redesign the front of the buildings. 


Mr. Iler continued to outline changes to the Capital Improvement Program and the master plan design.  He further suggested adjusting the date of the parking garage from 2008 into the future.  He stated that in order to implement the charrette report, Land Development Regulation changes would need to be made.  He also proposed an overlay district; a district that would keep the underlying zoning of B-1, but would place additional


architectural standards into the City’s Code as an overlay district for the Cove Center only.  Nonetheless, uses or densities would not change, but would add a layer of requirements to reflect what the community would like implemented in the Cove.  He suggested that retail be placed on the first floor and offices on the second floor.  Also, adding a view corridor along the waterfront.  He commented on including a view corridor requirement in the City’s Code.  He recommended clarification of code language, as to not violate the maximum height of signs in the B-1 district.


Continuing, Mr. Iler stated that the Cove Center parking lot improvements are in the amount of $2.5 million for 2007/2008; the parking garage is shown from 2008 – 2010; the façade grant program is a current funding source.  He continued to recommend various funding ideas to improve the Cove Center.


Chair Capellini arrived at 6:30 p.m.


Additionally, Mr. lIer stated that there would be an additional master plan charrette report. He stated that the final report would be presented to the Board on December 18th.  On January 8th, they would provide changes to the Zoning Code for consideration. 


Vice Chair Popelsky suggested possibly changing the parking lot to 9 x 18. 


In response to Mr. Iler’s question, Mr. Grosswirth replied that the 9 X 18 spaces would be angled and allows a narrower drive aisle between the spaces since much back up space would not be needed. 


Chair Capellini stated that 9 X 18 is tight.   


Vice Chair Popelsky asked if the handicap parking will be standard or doubled.


Mr. Grosswirth replied that they will conform to the minimum ADA standard, 12 feet wide, with a walkway.  If possible, there will be a space, a walkway, and a space to double use of the access way. 


Ms. Militello asked if additional handicap parking will be near the medical offices.


Mr. Grosswirth replied yes, the handicap spaces will not be reduced, but will add more near the medical complex.


Vice Chair Popelsky suggested handicapped parking around various areas, in the middle, near the curbing.  He further commented on page 9, property ownership, he asked if the City owned the parking spaces.


Chair Capellini replied yes, since 1954.


Mr. Gonot said that there were 19 owners and asked what was their consensus.


Mr. Grosswirth replied that a poll was not done for the business owners only, but it appeared that the individuals operating the businesses and renting the spaces preferred incremental  parking lot improvements; they did not want to lose parking, especially close


to the business.  He stated that it appears that they were in favor of Phase 1 plan. 


Zack Gray, Iler Planning Group Graphic Designer, said that there were approximately 15 business owners in attendance in at the stakeholder meeting and they were in favor of Phase I and II; however, most were anxious to begin Phase I.


Mr. Gonot asked what the feedback in the special taxing district was.


Mr. Grosswirth replied that they did not concentrate on that so much during the charrette, but it did not appear that they were interested in an additional tax bill.   He said that it maybe due to the business climate; during the summer business was winding down. 


Chair Capellini said that the Cove owners have reduced from 34 to 19 and the City has made various attempts to reach an agreement concerning the Cove Center, but was unsuccessful.  He asked if the owners will cooperate with the current design proposal. 


Mr. Grosswirth replied that it may be doable, but there is no guarantee.


Chair Capellini said there was once an interest in purchasing the center, but it was difficult to get in touch with all the owners.


Andrew Maurodis, CRA Attorney, said that it was his understanding that the project would be financed by the tax increment fund (TIF) and not a special tax district fee. 


Mr. Gonot said that although the TIF is the primary source, extra funding may be needed.


Mr. Iler said that if Phase II is implemented, the City may consider a business improvement district or special assessment; however, for Phase I, most were assuming that funding would be provided by the TIF. 


Mr. Gonot stated that those were his primary thoughts also.  He asked if there was a significant opposition to any portion or aspect that is noteworthy. 


Mr. Iler replied that one aspect that may have opposition is the parking garage.  He stated that a number of people did not want it, due to cost and the changing of the Cove.  Additionally, there were thoughts that it might generate more development. 


Vice Chair Popelsky stated that approximately 1000 parking spaces are needed and the Cove only accommodates half of that. 


Mr. Iler stated that concerns were voiced by the owners, the lessees, and people from the community. 


Chair Capellini said that with the enhancement of the Cove, additional parking will be needed as visitors currently use the Cove Center for parking when visiting the beach.  He further stated that the parking garage will be needed in the future if the Cove Center continues to enhance the buildings.


Ms. Poitier stated that TIF funds will need to be invested with private partners.


Ms. Militello stated that the goal was to implement the design changes in phases; funds are not available for a parking garage.  She stated that the shortage of parking is due to one business in the Cove on Friday night, who was given 500 parking deviations a few years ago.  She stated that the plan is to make improvements to the Cove for better business; and the improvements will hopefully encourage the owners to make façade improvements.  Additionally, she stated that if a parking garage is needed in the future, then it should be reviewed; however, it would not be prudent to tie the project up based on a parking garage.


Chair Capellini stated that he is not suggesting a garage; nonetheless, he would like to know if a trip analysis was done.


Mr. Iler replied no; however, a study was performed to determine how much parking all the businesses needed and they were up to Code.


Ms. Militello said this will not change the Phase I design. 


In response to Chair Capellini’s question, Gerald Ferguson, Director of Planning and Growth Management, replied that the Cove Shopping Center is short approximately 400 parking spaces, as required by Code.


Discussion pursued regarding a trip analysis and concurrency report.


Chair Capellini said that he does not wish to make the parking situation worst than what it currently is. 


He further stated that he is trying to determine what kind of impact this would have if the shopping center became successful. 


Mr. Ferguson said that we can look at the businesses, but cannot project the future.  He said that there are 500 plus spaces now, short of 400.


Ms. Poitier said that in the charrette, comments were made regarding apartments. She stated that the neighbors and the owners must determine if they want the area to become successful.  She said that the CRA requires that the money is put back into the area.


Mr. Gonot asked if adding the paseo would result in the loss of a business.


Mr. Iler replied yes, if the Board decided implementing Phase II in the future, it would include removing one of those spaces. 


Mr. Gonot asked if there is a process in place to buy a business. 


Mr. Iler replied yes, if the City wishes to; however, it cannot be done through eminent domain, but a friendly acquisition of a business space for the paseo.   


Mr. Gonot asked how long would Phase I take and during the process, how many parking spaces would not be available. 


Mr. Iler replied that there are currently 501 spaces and the Phase I plan would provide 528. 


In response to Mr. Gonot’s question, Mr. Iler replied that the parking spaces would be usable for six (6) months.  He further stated that the changes would be done in sections so that the entire parking area is not unusable. 


Brett Knight, Engineer, stated that there are four (4) natural sections in the Center that would be worked on at different times, which would allow part of the lot to remain open.  Since there are two (2) drains in the parking lot, underground work would have to be done.  Additionally, corridors for additional lighting would be made because the current standard of lighting is at a deficiency.  He stated that these improvements would be performed so that the lot would be disturbed minimally.  Moreover, he stated that the business owners would be made aware of what portions of the parking lot are undergoing renovations so that temporary parking is established.


Mr. Gonot asked if there was a desire of any of the owners to sell.


Ms. Militello said that she did not her anyone comment on this.


Vice Chair Popelsky stated that during the analysis, there was mention of a State mandate that after 40 – 45 years, reinspections had to be performed; he asked when was the Cove built.


Chair Capellini replied in the 1960’s.


Vice Chair Popelsky asked if renovations to update the Cove are a part of Phase I design plans.


Ms. Poitier said that the Cove was built in 1953.


In response to Vice Chair Popelsky’s question, Mr. Iler replied that the plan deals with the public lands in the parking lot.  He stated that private properties would have to upgrade their electrical as they redevelop in the future, as a result of the parking lot improvements.  Moreover, he stated that if spaces are upgraded, there would have to be a redevelopment plan to come up to Code.  Furthermore, Mr. Iler spoke about the drainage improvements needed.


Vice Chair Popelsky asked if the electrical was underground.


Mr. Iler replied that the electrical will be kept above ground, but will possibly update the lighting standards and provide shields to deter light from entering the residential area.


Ms. Poitier began discussing having a consultant for CRA; she indicated that the Iler Planning Group is a planning entity.  She went on to discuss the costs associated with the Cove renovations and said that the owners should have been present at this meeting, because the cost is going to be prohibitive unless the City is going to be responsible for improving the area.  Furthermore, if the TIF is spent as was done in the past, the CRA will be eliminated.


Mr. Gonot said that the charrette is a plan that the City will need to implement.  If the City moves forward, the Cove Center will have to be managed, if owners desire to sell.  He said that there will be a down turn during the improvement phase.  Additionally, he stated that there are businesses that he would like to see removed because they take up parking spaces and because of plans of expansion. He further expressed concern on how the plan will be implemented.  Once the buildings are upgraded, the properties will improve, along with the tax benefits for the TIF.  He said that the idea of the special tax district is not so outlandish, because the City is putting in more capital improvement in the area and the owners will receive greater equity.


Ms. Militello said that the people she has spoken with felt that with continued maintenance of the parking area, they felt that the business owners should contribute to assist with maintenance.  She stated that if the parking garage is considered, the City will need financial assistance; however, Phase I is in place to encourage the business owners to invest in their businesses.  She said that Phase I sets the ball in motion to begin improvements in the Cove Center.  She expressed concerns of road blocks that continue to erupt with starting the process. 


Mayor Capellini said that he does not have a problem with moving forward with Phase I, but would like to his concerns to be addresses to determine what the impact will be in the future.


Mr. Iler said that the improvements should be timed during the off season, and it may take approximately two (2) or more years to complete.


Mr. Gonot said that since he did not attend the charrettes, it is very important to ask questions now, they are not road blocks.  He said that he is happy that there is a plan.


Mr. Ferguson asked if the team is directed to finalize the plan.


Chair Capellini asked that his concerns be reviewed.  He stated that it is important that all issues be addressed, as to not create other problems in the future.


Board/Administration Comments


No Report
















There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.