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November 2019 Committee Update

Even though we are between elections, city business doesn’t stop, nor do the concerns of all of us who love Pompano Beach

We continue to monitor the status of various city plans and projects and are working hard to ensure that Pompano becomes an even better place to live, work and play, so you can rest assured that we remain interested and engaged in our city’s future.

Zoning is one of the issues of great interest to us. It appears that there are some unintended consequences of zoning rules which were put into place to ensure that new projects are architecturally pleasing.

In particular, former District 1 Commissioner Barry Dockswell, a member of our Executive Committee, eloquently expresses our Committee’s opinion on this topic below:

“When I was on the Pompano Beach City Commission, I worked with the zoning director to make it possible for new projects to have more creative building designs. We realized that the standard zoning rules (which include mandatory front, side and rear setbacks) inadvertently encouraged each property owner to build the largest “cereal box” permissible. That is, to maximize profit, the developer would want to build the tallest, widest and deepest building allowed under the property’s existing zoning.

At first, we considered the idea that re-zoning proposals could present any shape building desired, but only if the building stayed within the authorized square footage allowed by the underlying zoning. But we rejected this idea because, for example, a developer could increase the ceiling heights of each floor of a proposed building while staying within the authorized square footage, and end up with a building that takes up a lot more visual space than would have been permissible under the existing zoning.

Instead, we decided to modify city codes to provide an opportunity for re-zoning proposals which would present creative building designs, but would only be allowed if the cubic volume of the proposed building did not exceed the cubic volume which would have been authorized under the property’s existing zoning. The result would be that these new designs would only take up the same amount of “visual space” as the existing zoning would have allowed.

This crucial cubic volume limitation was to be applied any time a property owner requested a re-zoning involving a building design which did not conform to the underlying zoning’s setback and height rules.

Including this cubic volume limitation in our codes would allow for more creative designs than the “cereal boxes.” For example, slender, taller towers with the same cubic volume often cast a much less offensive shadow on surrounding properties than the shorter, wider cereal box designs, and could also allow for more “green space” around a building. Smaller shadows and more green space could be achieved without creating or allowing any more density on a given property.

As it turned out, the cubic volume limitation was not inserted into the PD (or “Planned Development”) areas of the city codes. Note that several re-zoning requests to PD-I (Planned Development – Infill) have recently been approved by the city.

I strongly believe that the failure to add the cubic volume limitation to the PD zoning categories was a significant oversight which should be corrected ASAP. After discussions with city staff, I’m optimistic that a code update to correct this problem will soon be brought before the city commission.”

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this or any other issues that are of interest to you

In addition, while we’re not as active as we plan to be during election season, we continue to incur the costs of keeping our organization going, which include website costs, email maintenance, and the like. We’d greatly appreciate your donations as we gear up for the 2020 campaign season, so please continue to donate.

Thanks so much for your support.

As a reminder, you can contact our City Commissioners and Mayor on the City’s “Commission” page, at http://pompanobeachfl.gov/pages/commission.

Thanks again for your support. Let’s keep it going!

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