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Community Feedback Brings A Town Center to the City of Hallandale Beach

The City of Hallandale Beach credits community participation in the development of a new Town Center. City staff spent countless hours over several years working with the community in order to find a suitable development as our City's Town Center, something that accurately reflected and addressed the City's changing demographics and needs. The development on the Gulfstream site is a cooperative effort between public input and private enterprise and we are lucky to have a willing partner, says City Manager D. Mike Good.

The approval of the $1 billion Town Center is a culmination of a statutory review process for a Development of Regional Impact. This process requires an extensive amount of public hearings public meetings, and town hall meetings at which the public at large is provided an opportunity to be heard. In addition, the project must be reviewed and approved not only by the City's Planning and Zoning Board/Local Planning Agency and City Commission, but also by a number of additional levels of government, including the Broward County Planning Council, Broward County Commission, the South Florida Regional Planning Council, and the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs. The review and approval by the Local Planning Agency, City Commission, Broward County Commission and South Florida Regional Planning Council included public notification and hearings with extensive opportunity for public comment. It was decidedly pointed out at the meetings and endorsed through various respected civic leaders, the Chamber of Commerce and many of its members, and active residents that the project would be a benefit to the City, surrounding businesses, and the Community at large, encouraging quality of life and welfare for all. Finally, the City insisted that the Developer, Forest City Enterprises, hold a series of advertised public forums at their own expense to further inform the general public and community of the project and the opportunity to be heard.

The only issue is concerns by a neighboring property owner who came forward with a complaint regarding the review process and opportunity for public comment. The property owner has filed a lawsuit challenging the project and alleging he was denied the opportunity to be heard and that the City failed to comply with the requirements of the law, among other allegations which the City strongly denies. The multi-layered public review process ensured that the project would comply with all the necessary state and local regulations, including water, sewer and transportation. The City Commission would never authorize a project that would not provide the necessary utilities for our residents, and has been thoroughly transparent during this entire process, says Good.

Pursuant to Florida law, City officials gathered last Thursday in an attorney-client closed door session to discuss ways to resolve the situation. In accordance with Florida Statutes, the session will be transcribed and available as a public record once the litigation is closed. Unfortunately, this new legal challenge will cost taxpayers money and time with delays that tie up city financial and administrative resources and that's a concern, says Good.

It's always been our policy on issues that affect the residents and city planning to encourage our residents and concerned parties to participate and speak freely on issues that concern them, adds the City Manager.

The City of Hallandale Beach invites the public to call city hall and/or visit www.hallandalebeachfl.gov for more information and to review public records anytime.