Coral Springs Residents Not Asking for a “Downtown” and Cannot Vote on it

One Charter Place

By: Dave Hulett

In the headline of her article in the Sunday October 26, Sun-Sentinel, reporter Lisa Huriash writes “Downtown Gaining Traction”. She forgot to mention that this is not the plan of the average Coral Springs citizen. It is being promoted by the developers who are asking the citizens of Coral Springs to anchor the project with $28 million of taxpayer dollars, $6 million for a parking garage and $22 million for a building of which only 7 percent is actually going to be used by the city, according to an ad sent out by Mayoral candidate Tom Powers.

Coral Springs citizens are much more concerned about the value of their homes, which according to the city’s 2015 Business Plan, had the least amount of increase in value of the cities listed.

Taxpayers will be stuck trying to rent out the 93 percent of the building not being used by the city, along with the maintenance costs for both the building and parking garage. The biggest blow is to the citizens of Coral Springs who are not being allowed to vote to approve a General Obligation bond for this “Taj Mahal”. If the proposed “Downtown” project is as fabulous as the developers and candidate Powers claim, then why shouldn’t the developers who are going to profit from it, pay for it?

Using public money for this project is no different than using it to build sports stadiums for privately owned teams. This project is being driven by millionaire developer George Rahael and his associates who have contributed over $6,000 to Commissioner Powers campaign for mayor.

At the last city commission meeting, at the request of Mayor Boccard, Mr. Rahael was allowed to make a detailed presentation of his plan during the “Recognitions and Awards” section of the meeting. This relieved him from the 3-minute restriction normally placed on speakers during the “Citizens Request” portion of the meeting, a highly unusual opportunity to say the least. No such opportunity was afforded to anyone with an opposing viewpoint.

The bottom line is to just follow the money! Voters should take a look to see who is really going to benefit from this project. Coral Springs voters should elect candidates for the city commission who will take a fresh look at the $28 million dollar expenditure for this parking garage and building. Perhaps they might even be inclined to consider allowing the citizens of Coral Springs to vote for it! If this project is as advantageous to the citizens of Coral Springs as claimed by Mr. Rahael, then certainly such a vote should pass easily.

I believe the candidates who would take a fresh look are: Skip Campbell for Mayor, Howard Melamed for Seat 4 and Joy Carter for Seat 5.

Coral Springs Talk welcomes editorials offering different points of views.

About Dave Hulett

Dave Hulett Dave Hulett has deep roots in Coral Springs. His wife and him have lived in the Dells neighborhood for 35 years where they have raised their children. He has been very active in the community over all these years, including Past President of Kiwanis, Past President - Coral Springs Basketball Club, chaired the 2000 Committee in 1984, was Citizen of the year in 1984, a founding member and Past President of the Meadows & Dells Neighborhood Association, has served on Planning & Zoning Board, and most recently on the the Nuisance Abatement Board and the Board of Supervisors of the Sunshine Water Control District. Hulett has worked on many campaigns over the years and has known commissioners back to Geiger, Heafy, Gordon, Sanders and Tache and city managers back to Dodd Southern. He is currently contracted as the Chief Operating Officer of the Masters Basketball Association. The MBA runs a basketball tournament for men 40 to 75 and have 35 to 40 teams come from across the country to Coral Springs each May. They have played the tournament in the Coral Springs Gym for the past 13 years.

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  • Barb

    I don’t think it was so unusual. They have made time for lots of people who are making presentations during this time as well as reports from different individuals. There have been numerous meetings about this issue with plenty of public imput. Just throwing out a statement that the average Coral Springs Citizen does not make it a fact. Do you have anything to back that up with or is it just so the candidates that you contributed money to will have a better chance.

  • Ira

    Amen, brother:

    When this Commission agrees with something, they let people talk. When the people don’t agree, they shut them down. An example:

    Northeast corner of Sample Road and Coral Springs Drive. Empty lot, next to the vacant Bank of America building.

    Sunshine Water District, who’s in bed with every developer under the sun (that’s what they mean by the new slogan!), just contracted to fill in the canal, so they could connect the two parcels for new development. The company who owns the property was listed with the state just ONE MONTH before they finished work on the canal (Go take a look–no more canal.) No permits on display…and a friend who took out his camera to film saw the crew chief blocking him and telling everyone to halt work.

    Well, any time there are major projects like this, it’s required to have citizen input and public hearings. Making two lots into one lot affects the character of what’s going to be built, and affects people in the surrounding area.

    But were there any hearings yet? No–and they even already filled in the canal BEFORE the fact! (With a pipe to continue a portion of the water flow to the south side of Sample.)

    Same thing with Broken Woods. They approved a massive residential project when EVERYONE opposed it, except the commissioners and city manager.

    This bunch really stinks. They just don’t listen to the people.

    • Abunchofbullshit

      You do realize that Sunshine Water District is NOT part of the City, nor does the City have any control over them!! In fact, the author of this article was on the water district board and their President up until a little over a year ago! In his tenure the SWD started (and continues) a clearing project of their easements along the canals and will be coming to you soon; check your survey, as your easement will be grass to the water and you will have to cut it and trees and shrubs on the District’s property will be removed using your tax dollar. Having said that, Mr. Hulett above attacks the City center by saying “Coral Springs citizens are much more concerned about the value of their homes”….and you don’t think the clearing of 60+ non-invasive trees along canal AA in the Country Club sub-division had any affect on the value of those people’s property Mr. Hulett; that was under your tenure as President!!

      Your statement in this article “The bottom line is to just follow the money

      ” relates back to previous SWD commissions that connived with then Mayor Roy Gold (see August 2011 minutes and previous) to do this project under the guise of former Coral Springs Mayor Rhon Earnest-Jones, who became an Engineering Consultant and brought the $2MM+ SWD business to his firm; mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yeah, the Progressives are out for we the ‘little people’ aren’t they, and people just buy into all this rhetoric that is spewed by all of them, without doing their own homework!
      They count on all this always being buried, and are so ballsy that they can spew hypocritical articles and statements like this and forget where they have come from!

      • Ira

        Sunshine Water District is for all intent and purposes directed by the current commission. And they direct the current commission as well

        But can you address my issue of Sample Road and Coral Springs Drive? How did two lots all of a sudden become one, without resident input, and to boot, Sunshine Water District modified the canal in this ridiculous way?

        If these guys have any ideas about putting a gas station there, the fight is on.

        • Abunchofbullshit

          Don’t know the details on the lot you are talking about, though aware they were ‘catering’ to the owner. Not sure what the zoning is for that, but sure it is commercial and I would think the City controls the zoning of it. I’m with you on this one, I would hate to see another gas station! As for the make-up of the current SWD you are probably right, with the exception of the President. IF the City is ‘directing’ them, I wish they would put a stop to their ‘Flush cut’ agenda of their ROW (right of way) as we need the vegetation and trees or we end up with the ‘sterile’ look of all canals having 10-30 feet of grass bordering them.

  • jhkilroy

    I love it when liberals all of a sudden become financially prudent…… too funny , if obama supported this you would say its a ” shovel ready project ” …..

    • Ira

      I love it when Conservatives call me a liberal and have no idea who I vote for.

      • jhkilroy

        it doesn’t take much to figure out your a liberal democrat ira .

        • Abunchofbullshit

          Kilroy, do you think he will give back that $$$ to the bank? Maybe he thought that was the Progressive voting booth.

        • Ira

          It doesn’t take much to realize that “you’re” grammar and spelling is severely lacking.

          You don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re?”

          • jhkilroy

            the grammar police or shall I say Nazi is in the building folks….. you can always tell an arsewipe in the crowd when you get your and you’re commented on…. what a douchebag – hope I spelled that correctly grammar nazi…

      • Abunchofbullshit

        copy me a copy of your ballot and I will give you $100 for every Republican you voted for over and above the Dems!

  • The Truth Seeker

    OMG, REALLY? Ok, so I’ll get accused AGAIN of being a hired gun for Powers but here it goes, more of THE SAME BULLSHIT with a few new twists.

    It’s ironic that in other articles by the Sun Sentinel naming endorsements that is the word of God, we better believe it because the Sun-Sentinel knows all, but now when there is something that doesn’t align with the bullshit propaganda machine, they call foul. My solution is simple, I don’t listen to a damn thing the Sun Sentinel says, read all sides and do your own research and look at FACTS. Facts don’t LIE.

    But here we go again with half/mis truths. This is CLEARLY OUTLINED on the city website if anyone would bother to look and I have stated it in other articles but here it goes again to dispel the fuzzy math.

    Parking garage is not 6 million, it’s 4.5. Building is not 22 million, its 15.75. Other moneys, like 4 million are soft costs, like furniture, IT systems, etc. These costs are going to be incurred by moving to ANY new building. I have shown the $15.75M to be comparable IF NOT CHEAPER than any similar building in nearby cities (like Wellington, WHICH CAMPBELL AND CARTER BROUGHT UP), Everyone agreed there needs to be a new city hall building so lets just take that 15.75M off the table. So, we are talking 4.5M for a parking garage. There has never been discussion on how much a typical parking lot would be but some internet research (and I claim it is just that, I am not in construction) shows a typical space is roughly 30-40% of the cost of a garage space. The garage space is listed as 300 spots @ 15k so lets take average of 35% or $5,250 (vs 15,000) for a cost of around $1.5M. You need parking either way, so if you really break it down, the whole argument comes down to the additional approximately $3M for the parking garage vs a lot that would take up more revenue generating space.

    So to jump for a second to last paragraph – Carter, Campbell and Melamed will take a fresh look. Ok – well here’s my prediction… they take a fresh look, find out the building, soft costs and everything else (but the garage) are well thought out and reasonable so they proceed with the project. The extra $3M for the garage – can go either way, they may kill it to save face so they can say they actually saved some money but then they have to explain why they took away revenue generating space. So my guess is whoever wins, the project will go on largely as is.

    Is 93% empty a fact or opinion? I find it hard to believe the listed items like a movie theater, etc are going to be empty space.

    Why not let voters approve the GO bond. Ok – one of 2 outcomes – 1. It passes. Great, now the whole nut is right on our ad valorem tax bill, we the taxpayers pay for it DIRECTLY AS A LINE ITEM ON THE TAX BILL! But wait, they say no raised taxes. You can’t have it both ways! The way it is planned as a revenue bond it is paid by revenues of the city, its in the budget. YOU WILL NOT SEE IT OR PAY FOR IT ON YOUR TAX BILL. We really need to keep pointing this out? or 2. It fails – people don’t want the extra tax burden which is what I DO hear people say. So then what? They all agree we NEED a new city hall building at the least ($15.75M reasonably), so where is that money going to come from – a revenue bond? GENIUS! Or, don’t do it, which we all know is not a viable option.

    Why shouldn’t the builders foot the bill? WHO THE HECK DO YOU THINK IS PAYING FOR THE PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT??? They ARE paying to put in all the building/shops/amenities. We are paying for the city hall building and parking garage. We ARE NOT paying for ANY of the private development. Is this really that hard to understand? Do these authors think we are blind and stupid?

    I laugh at the paragraph comparing to sports teams. That paragraph is COPIED WORD FOR WORD from Mr. Townblinders ‘editorial’ Unbelievable. Some editorial, can’t even form his own opinion.

    Yea, who will benefit? THE CITIZENS! and the City (in increased tax base). You think the commissioners benefit (other than maybe a pat on the back). The developers? Yea, they will certainly benefit too, maybe even enough to recoup the millions they will pour into the project themselves.

    It’s disgusting that these same things keep getting brought up. They are not unique editorials, its copy and paste same BS. Maybe thats why I sound like (and do) support Powers.

    Got a better or unique idea, something besides mis-stating the costs and trying to argue both sides of the fence, let’s hear it!

    • Ira

      You just spent countless paragraphs spelling out your opinion:

      Why aren’t Coral Springers allowed to voice THEIR opinion with their vote?

      You see, you have the same problem that Powers, Boccard, and some others on the commission have–you think you’re always right, with zero evidence you ARE right. You have a narcissistic view of the world, accusing others of political hack-mongering for opposing this ridiculous project!

      A PARKING GARAGE!?

      Since when has CS ever needed a PARKING garage!?

      • Barb

        We already have one over by the charter school.

      • The Truth Seeker

        I was not even going to reply to you because you have proven your personal agenda, your outright disgusting name calling and not a single person here believes a word you say. So this will be my last reply to anything you say.

        I never said I was always right, I say let THE FACTS speak for themselves. have outlined those facts as you say in countless paragraphs. My agenda is the truth and I will call out the bullshit every time it is regurgitated here. PROVE my facts wrong and I will publicly apologize right here. I WELCOME OPINIONS but I’ve yet to see any opinion besides ‘it costs too much’ which I clearly outlined the REAL numbers or ‘why can’t we vote on it’ which has been clearly answered in discussion of revenue bonds vs GO bonds. READ the facts. My OPINION is based on these facts and are stated clear and simple. I’m for the truth and what makes sense. So go ahead, keep regurgitating the same bullshit thats been answered 20 times and I will keep replying with the facts. Or reply with an honest opinion and lets have a civil discussion without calling women a special kind of stupid, etc.

        Fact is the one side you clearly have an agenda for doesn’t have a single positive idea to move the city forward, they want to keep it status quo so all they have is to throw darts. I’m simply returning to sender.

        And oh, yes, I sure do hope you move to Idaho. Have a nice miserable life – look up the word KARMA – it’s a nasty little bitch you’re likely to run into.

        • Ira

          Wow–you said “bitch!”

          You’re going to HELL for that! You know:

          That place your feeble mind thinks actually exists!

      • Abunchofbullshit

        Where will the city employees and store attendees park, on the street? At the post office? Have you even looked at the actual plans or are you just spewing?

        • Ira

          Your logic is mind-numbing:

          Let’s build a huge complex with hotel and theater and other stuff we don’t need…

          Which takes up space…

          So you can make the argument that now, there’s no place for employees to park…so we need a parking garage!!!

          Hey, Einstein:

          Where do they park now?

          • Abunchofbullshit

            they parked around the current city hall and then on the old south campus they had large parking there. Now, we get rid of north city hall over to where south was we need to park all of both old places there, plus whatever public shopping, theater, etc, which is why they do parking ramps in the modern era. We need to modernize and class this joint up, and as is normal the Progressive folk like yourself don’t produce ideas, just crap like taxes, war against women, and racism!! I know the DQ by your favorite bank is enough to class the place up for you, but some would like more.

    • Andy Holz

      Just posted this:
      Increasing spending power of our residents goes a long way in helping promote local businesses within our community. Tax revenue has increased by 16% since 2008; the same period of time saw property values decrease by 16%. The millage rate has jumped 30% over that time. My plan for the city includes decreasing the millage rate by 15% from the proposed rate, including the debt service rate. This would save homeowners and residents of Coral Springs $5.5 million every year (adjusted for property values).
      A homeowner whose house is appraised at $200,000, at the proposed rate, would pay $955 in property taxes to the city.
      Under my plan, the same house would pay $811 in property taxes.
      The proposed ad valorem tax revenue for FY2015 is a 26% increase from 2008.

      • Abunchofbullshit

        God luck in your run Andy. If elected, please end the Fed money via section 8 housing in Coral Springs, that is where are property values have gone!

    • tj

      let the builder pay for a part of the garage…

      • The Truth Seeker

        tj, I would have no problem with that. However, is that really fair? What if you go with the model of a city hall building at another location? You will need the same garage (albeit slightly smaller because there will be nothing else for a resident to do there). The garage as planned would be used by residents for anything in that area, the city hall building, events at the ArtWalk, etc. Take an example of the annual art fair by The Walk. It’s a nice event but every year there are parking issues – businesses calling the police over parking, etc. I would assume with the ArtWalk and the rest of this project complete the Art Fair would be moved to the Art Walk and the garage would be used. This would apply to any events there.

        • Ira

          The Art Festival is the ONLY high class event this city hosts, thanks to Joy Carter!

          So we need a garage for this one weekend a year event?

          Also, is parking going to be FREE?

          • John Smythe

            Coral Springs was never structured nor designed to be a destination city. It was and has been a suburban outlier. I understand expansion and the need to capitalize on the Coral Springs persona of upper middle and upper class but that no longer exists. The city allows Section 8 housing in areas it is uncalled for and unrestricted, property taxes to cover expenditures not needed. Please explain why an entry sign was needed off Royal Palm and Riverside? Or the average $80K+ art work that dots Sample Road west after University? And to the claims we have an Art Festival, I would scoff as its more of a craft fair than art show, not worthy of the cost of distraction it causes around our city in my opinion. Why not just invite the Broward County Fair to our fair city, supplement the parking and security costs, gain profits from something we only need to deal with for 10 days?

          • Ira

            The only space for the county fair in Coral Sorings would be the Sportsplex, and that would make a lot of sense.

            The problem is, the organizers of this fair really don’t have their act together. It wouldn’t be all that responsible to deal with the potential problems.

            And although I appreciate your comments about the Art a Festival, it’s still a fantastic even…well organized…and attracts thousands–MANY from far away.

  • Bruce Weinberg

    I am writing this piece as the Chairman of the Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce and also as a citizen of the great City of Coral Springs. There have been a great many articles written as well as campaigning about whether Coral Springs needs a new municipal complex and downtown region. From all I have seen, there is very little argument about whether or not we need a new city hall. If you have spent any time in our current city hall north (city hall south is already gone) it is an embarrassment. We are one of the top 15 largest cities in Florida and the city hall is not even ADA compliant. Three independent studies were issued to the city from highly regarded planning entities; Urban Land Institute, Anjelou Economics and Redevelopment Management Associates. All three independent reports validate the construction and location of the new Municipal Complex, including how it will impact the Economic Development of our downtown region. The chamber has publically stated that we are in favor of the new municipal complex and the expansion of the downtown region as a whole. The Chamber feels that this expansion will begin the process of bringing new quality businesses into our region which assists in the continued economic growth of our city by not only garnering these new businesses but also brings more customers into our city to patronize our existing businesses. The City of Coral Springs wants to continue to bring in more quality businesses and in turn expand its residential base, then it needs to set the standard and have a municipal complex that the city can be proud of. The creation of the Artwalk is underway and for those who have seen the plans, it should be absolutely gorgeous and begin as the initial stepping stone of the process to a beautiful downtown. In addition, the potential of a new hotel, movie theatre and urban housing complex will also add to acceleration of growth in our town.
    As it relates to the amount of money to spend on city hall, the parking garage and the municipal complex as a whole, we at the chamber have been privy to not only the public presentations on the future city hall, but we have been in chamber meetings where the plan has been presented. The best part about the plan is that while they state that the entire complex, including the garage, will cost approximately $28 million dollars, there will be no increase in our ad valorem taxes that are included in our real estate tax bill. I do not know about you, but a beautiful new city hall, downtown garage and the proliferation of a downtown region with no increase in taxes sounds like a pretty good deal to me. We need to continue to revitalize this great city. We just had our 50th anniversary, it is time we get ready for the 100th anniversary and this is a great start.

    • Karen

      Could you please write an editorial for Coral Springs Talk. : ) I’m not sure your comment here will be seen.

      • Karen

        And thank you for your insight…I agree!

        • Bruce Weinberg

          You could just use what I have posted if you like