County Staff: Davie Commons Won One After All


The Davie Commons fooled state representatives. They fooled the City of Weston’s lobbyists.  They fooled all the other opponents of  sprawling shopping and office complex.

Just when some thought The Commons got nothing from The Florida Legislature, county staffers have found it did win some gains.

It took days after the session ended May 1 to find the language, pointing out a problem with the Legislature:

Lobbyists insert special interest language into huge bills, which are then slapped on lawmakers’ desks in the final days of the session.  It is impossible for members to read the bills, much less realize the consequences of every vote.

Just Monday state Rep. Martin Kiar, D-Davie, told that he thought The Commons gained nothing at the session.

But Kiar was watching for language which would have prevented any more review of the project in Broward County.  He wasn’t looking for the language that passed about the traffic consequences of the project.

Lobbyists apparently stuck language in a Senate bill which exempts developers from having to solve any problems created by traffic from The Commons.

The language is important since the county’s Planning Council rejected the project last year because of its impact on traffic.

The county staff has found the language favorable to The Davie Commons in Senate Bill 360 the growth management bill passed on the final day of the Legislative session.

Here is a memo from Planning Council Director Henry Sniezek obtained by County Commissioners:

From: Sniezek, Henry []
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2009 4:46 PM
To: Sniezek, Henry
Subject: State Senate Bill 360 – Transportation Analyses for Land Use Plan Amendments


Hello.  FYI, today I became aware of language (see below) that was inserted into Senate Bill 360 during the final days of the State Legislative session.  The provision was approved by the State House and Senate as part of a much larger bill, and is now pending signature by the Governor.

“(f) A local government’s comprehensive plan and plan amendments for land uses within all transportation concurrency exception areas that are designated and maintained in accordance with s. 163.3180(5) shall be deemed to meet the requirement to achieve and maintain level-of-service standards for transportation.

The initial review of this provision indicates that proposed land use plan amendments located in certain areas of the County which are designated as “transportation concurrency exception areas (this generally includes areas in southwest and northwest Broward County), such as the pending Davie Commons amendment, will not be required to be subject to a land use plan transportation impact analysis.  As such, amendments in these areas may not be subject to an evaluation in relation to whether their estimated impacts would meet long-range transportation levels of service.

This language is currently being reviewed by legal counsel to confirm the scope of its effect.  I will keep you informed as to the status of that review.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.



Word is that lawyers from Ruden McClosky were overhead in a local restaurant bragging that they helped insert the language.  Land use lawyer Dennis Mele, who works at Ruden, is a lobbyist for The Commons.

A leading opponent of The Commons is Property Appraiser Lori Parrish.

“This is far from over, Parrish predicts.

16 Responses to “County Staff: Davie Commons Won One After All”

  1. Sean says:

    If Jack Seiler, or for that matter a legislator who could read and/or have a competent staff and/or friends who cared, this matter would have been addressed. I could care less if they build the project (my concern is more with our major boulevards having lots of access when I feel it impedes traffic), but if Mr. Seiler was still our State Rep he would have at least not boasted the project gained nothing during the session. I know he was not a rep in west county, but he delivered the goods. Nothing against the Reps who thought they overcame the lobby (and were quoted on the blog and in other outlets), but it begs a question. If you are on one side admit it. Don’t feign a lack of knowledge when something gets pushed through as it implies incompetence. My two cents.

  2. Davie Cowboy says:

    We will beat them in the end. The Commons will not be allowed to destroy our lifestyle.

  3. i doubt it says:

    sorry, while i have no doubt the commons folks were able to get some beneficial language inserted in the legislation, i do doubt that dennis mele was bragging about it. doesn’t seem to be his style.

  4. Thanks Diana says:

    Thank you Diana Wssm Ruben had you just voted no for this project like we asked it would all be dead. Instead you sold us out and voted yes. Nobody is ever going to forget that. They should name this new law after you.

  5. Good! says:

    I hope this is true and we get The Commons! YES!

  6. Re: "Thanks Diana" says:

    Yes, THANK YOU to Diana and everyone else who voted it to proceed. They all did the right thing. It should proceed and be built – we need it. Diana represents my neighbors and myself and we are all very happy with the decision she and the other Commissioners made.

  7. Broward Resident says:

    Davie will still have to vote on it

  8. confused says:

    Why would Henry from the Planning Council send a memo like this to the Commission? Isn’t this for their lobbyists/ga staff to do?

    FROM BUDDY: Henry is part of their staff.

  9. Sick of Traffic says:

    Pray that all those lobbyists are stuck in the traffic caued by this needless development. We will not be able to drive in Weston. Keep fighting, Mayor Hersh.

  10. Nicely done Commons says:

    The people working on the commons who did this, deserve an attaboy. Anything to move this development forward in this economy is good news.

  11. Henry says:

    Hi. I was told about this post, so I checked it out. In response to “confused” above, I note the email printed above was sent by me to Planning Council members for their information.

    Thanks. Have a good weekend.

    Henry Sniezek

    FROM BUDDY: I changed the language to reflect your letter.

  12. Broward Residents says:

    Why is Weston still involved in this issue. They have spent half a million dollars trying to stop the Commons Project. What a waste and they will raise the taxes and including Lori parrish hidden message in her last flyer sent to the Broward people. Well the only way that Parrish can stop the Commons project is to rasie evry homewoner’s taxes this year so she can allocate the money for attorneys!!!

  13. Revisiting the Problem says:

    Many believe that Davie Commons would be popular, those that live next door disagree. Town of Davie needs the added taxbase that the Commons project would bring. It promises amenities that many would like to enjoy. But the project has two major flaws that the Town of Davie has failed to resolve.

    First, the Davie ranchers living behind the project site hate the project. They argue that noise and light displacement will ruin their rural community. Davie has been at the forefront of protecting the rural lifestyle. Now their most rural residents say the Town has lost their sense of values. The tension has been so great that the former Town Mayor, a chief proponent of the Commons, was thrown out of office in favor of an anti-Commons advocate. People are very angry in Davie. The Town has to date failed at selling this project more effectively to their own residents.

    Second, Davie has significant and unresolved traffic problems with the project. Chiefly, they refuse to allow Shotgun Road to be used as an entrance and exit to this project as would normally be the case. Instead, they want the only entrances and exits to come in off I-75 in ways that significantly impact traffic in Weston; all this to save Davie from any traffic inconvenience.

    Davie cannot say that the project is compatible with the surrounding rural environment, yet deny it the use of local city roads because they fear the impact would upset neighborhood character. That position is inherently duplicitous and ripe for attack.

    Davie’s solution? Go forward anyway. Weston’s response? Hell no. Was that response predictable? No question.

    Weston is an affluent community every bit as dedicated to their values and lifestyle as Davie.

    Weston believes Davie is crazy to think that Weston will allow them to build a project that intentionally throws thousands of cars into Weston, forcing Weston to widen their already beautifully landscaped roads, so that Davie can remain free to collect all the tax dollars with no traffic impact to their residents whatsoever. All the benefits here would go to Davie and all the burdens to Weston. Weston is defending their own interests and it’s hard to blame them.

    Now come the lawyers and lawmakers and the lobbyists. Millions upon millions are at risk here. We’ll just have to see what happens in this classic battle between the rurals and the affluents.

  14. Lori Parrish says:

    To Broward Resident:

    The Property Appraiser does not levy or collect taxes.


  15. Give Me A Break says:

    Thousands of construction workers and others involved with the building industry (architects, engineers, etc.) are out of work. this project would employ over a thousand plus provide employment after it is completed. What is wrong with that, Ms. Parrish? You voted for dozens of bigger projects when you were a county commissioner. Now that there is one you don’t like because it is a few miles from your house, you try to block it. There is a word for that that starts with an H and ends with a E. HYPOCRITE

  16. Lori Parrish says:

    Give me a break:

    I suggest you check my voting record on the perservation of neighborhoods while I was a county commissioner.