Fire Chief Opposes Beach Development Deal






The latest South Florida example of Bend Over and Kiss Your Lifestyle Goodbye has an unusual opponent – Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Robert Hoecheri.

Hoecheri has raised some very interesting questions about a developer-proposed land swab on Fort Lauderdale beach.

The developer wants to trade land now containing a beach fire station for a smaller less desirable lot.

The proposal is scheduled to be discussed Tuesday by the Fort Lauderdale City Commission.

The deal involves the Bahia Cabana hotel and bar. The owners want to build a resort/condo on the site.

Developers would like their project to have a bigger footprint by using the more attractive city land where Fire Station 49 is located.

The fire station land fronts on State Road A1A and backs up on the Intracoastal Waterway.

In return for that city land, the developers want to give the city a new fire station and a fire boat. They would be housed on a smaller parcel still on the Intracoastal, but on a back road instead of A1A.

The chief is unconvinced.

“The Fire Rescue Department staff has a difference of opinion and a number of concerns with the content of the present proposal,” Chief Hoecheri wrote in a memo.

Hoecheri writes that moving the fire station was a potential threat to traffic, would flood the neighborhood with “air horns, sirens and back-up alarms…at all hours of the day and night,” and may cause neighboring properties to flood.

The chief also notes that the fire service would get a .38 acre lot compared to its existing .51 acres.

These negatives apparently offset the promise by developers to give the fire service a new “industry standard fireboat” worth roughly $1 million.

“This sounds like an attractive offer but we will continue to explore alternative funding for a new fireboat,” the chief writes.

Lobbyists Stephanie Toothaker and Jordana Jarjura pepper their proposal with the usual — promises of economic riches that will shower on Fort Lauderdale from the development. The development would increase property taxes, add an additional 150 parking spaces for the city to use and bump employment, the lobbyists pledge in a letter to commissioners.

Pleeeze. Even the pro-development lackeys at City Hall have to realize that this smells and looks like a bad deal.

You can’t blame Toothaker and Jarjura for trying.

The truth: The Bahia Cabana will be redeveloped at some point without this city land swap.








Exhibit 6 – Memorandum from Fire Chief dated April 2, 2015


View of the proposed land swap (click to enlarge).  The B Ocean Resort, formally the Sheraton Yankee Clipper Hotel, is the triangle shaped building at the bottom:


Bahia Cabana Project

27 Responses to “Fire Chief Opposes Beach Development Deal”

  1. just saying says:

    its a done deal. they will just go thru the motions, talk it up, let citizens speak and then vote yes.
    they think the only good thing for fort lauderdale is development, tax dollars, revenue, heads in beds,etc. they want to break the 200,000 population mark by the 2020 census so the city gets more county tax revenue, because the dollars are divvied up by population, not where it is generated.

  2. resident says:

    Seriously? Is a fire station “the highest and best use of time and space” on A1A? Isn’t this the city & county’s job to determine?

  3. count L F Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    According to the Randolph Equities Partners website the people behind this deal according to their Randolph Equities website are:

    Arthur Sharif who ran and owned menswear stores

    F Adam Sharif who is a banker in Chicago behind ocean front developments in places in Florida like North Bay Village

    Robert Lamendin who is a “trouble shooter” in the US and Canada for real estate developments and teaches at NYU,

    and the only “local” guy,

    Leonard R Markowitz who was with Morse Diesel and is a construction expert and manager involved with the L”Hermitage and L’Ambiance both in Fort Lauderdale.

    I can’t find any hotel involvement for these people, only condo developments and nothing “apparently” related to “hosting” events at their holdings for things like “Yachting”.

    As a retired consultant to major developers in New Jersey and Manhattan I think this looks like a mega condo development being sold to the City Commission are helping tourism and yachting, which I am beginning to doubt based on their own website and various companies’ listings on the web.

    As for l). risking fire safety, 2). increasing traffic on the Beach, 3). trading PUBLIC PROVERTY or its LEASE for BELOW MARKET VALUES to PRIVATE DEVELOPERS, that is something I cannot describe in words that Mr. Nevins or Miss Greenbarg or Mr. Fields or any of you would find acceptable.


    John Preston Seiler says he cares about congestion on the Beach
    Romney Rogers says he cares about preserving quality of life where he and his family have lived for nearly a century,
    Bruce Roberts has dedicated his life to protecting the public,
    Robert McKinzie says he wants decent, good paying professional jobs for the African American community not low wage labor jobs, and
    Dean Trantalis will be urinating on the Beach in front of his Beachfront Condo before he votes for this deal.

  4. A Little Late says:

    That station is pretty new. They should have thought of this sooner.

    It also serves the beach with quick response to back up the life guards since its right across the street.

    F**k the lobbyists & developers.

  5. Talks like a politician says:

    And where do all the climate change people who are concerned about sea rise stand on this proposal to build a bigger resort? Their numbers have been crunched to show several feet of water flowing into buildings near and far from the beach in a few years.
    If the climate change numbers are correct, there should be a moratorium on building until new codes can be developed. Gasp! A moratorium, please, just find my snorkel.

  6. Harbor Beach Resident says:

    I believe that bringing in a mixed use development to that site location is definitely best use of site. If developers are proposing to build a 150 parking garage and give to city then its a no brainer. The economic impact will be immense for the city. Having a parking garage there will also clean up the street and remove several cars that are constantly driving back and forth looking for beach parking.

    As for relocating the fire station, I think its best to move it off a heavily congested street like A1A because of the difficulty of leaving its location. By moving it to the proposed site the fire station will have less traffic to fight through. They will have a few second drive through a quiet street and once they hit the traffic light it will already be triggered to have truck drive through immediately.

  7. Tony G says:

    It’s about time for that blighted area to be redeveloped. That is the gateway to our beach for visitors from the airport and seaport and it needs to speak to who we are in Fort Lauderdale.

  8. Boone says:

    We recently moved away from Fort Lauderdale after 30 years. The Commission has NO regard and NO concern for the present residents.
    Federal Highway can not take one more car or apartment building. Travel on A1A is a nightmare. The neighborhoods near Executive Airport are daily bombarded with noise & an oily residue. Our City Commission doesn’t seem to care what happens to middle class property owners. More apartments, more traffic, more high rises -approved, approved approved !

  9. Alice McGill says:

    @Tony G
    The gateway to the beach for visitors coming from the airport or the seaport is the bridge over the Intracoastal at SE 17th Street. They can see the vista from the top of the bridge while they recover from the sewage smell near the Publix shopping center south of 17th Street.

    As for traffic, when it takes over 40 minutes many days to travel from the Harbour Heights area to downtown Fort Lauderdale, something is wrong. It is called too many sardines crammed into the same can.

  10. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    The defenders of this condo NOT MIXED USE project that is NOT the entrance from the airport which NORTH FEDERAL HIGHWAY IS and is NOT A BLIGHT AREA because tens of millions of dollars are pouring INTO It! Needs fire protection contrary to the bizzare idea of NO FIRE PROTECTION! As a 70 year old zfloridan native I have never seen such a phony list of really NON BENEFITS with LIFE SAFETY RISKS ON THE DOWNSIDE.

  11. Barack Obama says:

    when’s the last time you even saw a real fire? Why does this “chief” have any clout at all? Who cares?


    You must always remember that many if not the majority of fire fighters are also paramedics, who are working every day to save lives.

  12. do the right thing says:

    FS 49 was re-built using 2004 fire bond dolars. between chief otis latin who left half way thru station ‘prototype planning’ and the next chief, the plans were done twice by PGAL from bond funds at 300k for the 1st design and 300k for the 2nd design. meanwhile a developer wanting to build condos with bahia mar begged the city mgr to let him buy the property. as to the history of developers building anything for the city in trade for land, a developer wanted to build a fire station in 2005 off A1A up near the old cleveland clinic hospital in return for some sweetheart deal which didn’t pan out when economy tanked.
    these developers are far more shrewd than anyone on the 7th and 8th floors of city hall so taxpayers will be shafted. taxpayers will never get their money back on fs49 either because of the foul ups and ineptitude of city hall

  13. John Henry says:

    The fire chief comes out with these comments after watching City Hall throw the PD under the bus?

    Wouldn’t surprise me if the FD is next to come under the radar.

  14. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    You should have seen all five commission members in ft Lauderdale city hall fall over themselves to facilate Stephanie toothakers client. They acted like diabetics in front of a candy store!

  15. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Princess forked tongue to justify giving away a 2004 firehouse on .51 acres for a promised .31 or .37 acre site blatantly on camera says she talked to a nearby condo n the president comes up on camera and says it never happened and the five diabetics, the four phillsbury dough boys plus one just keep rolling on as if lying in public to them is business as usual. Mayor Seiler, vice mayor mckinzie commissioners Roberts n trantalis don’t lie but neither should lobbyists lie to them! Lets have lobbyists keep as truthful to the ft Lauderdale city commission as they are to others

  16. Tired of Sitting in Traffic says:

    Re: “the economic impact will be immense for our city”. Seriously? When is the last time you actually noticed the City have any beneficial impact from a condo building? Yes there is an increase in property taxes which in the grand scheme of the City’s budget amounts to about .000000000000001% bump. I guess that is immense.

    Unless and until the City and County get serious about transit in downtown Ft. Laud and the barrier island, there should be NO more large scale development.

  17. Fred Carlson says:

    The central location, both on the Main Drag ie. A1A and on the Intracostal Waterway is hard to replicate. Several properties have been proposed as alternate locations but they ALL suffer from being off the main drag and being on residential streets were the sirens would get complaints and turning space is limited.
    The proposed building is lovely, but we really do need to keep public safety as the first priority. Ambulances and water rescue crafts needs are just too important to be relocated to facilitate a condo development.

  18. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    On Miami beach they took all the surface parking lots n let developers build garages stores n offices. It has a traffic nightmare bloated the city staff m made tens of millions for the developers who don’t live on the beach! The same will happen in ft Lauderdale if the Sebastian parking lot n fire house swaps go through as princess forked tongue wants. For heavens sakes don’t be pawns for the usual suspects.

  19. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    When not the city hall reporter for the sun sentinel but one of their other reporters did the story WITHOUT MENTIONING THE FIRE CHIEF’s OBJECTIONS she wrote the story with “what I was given”
    NOT the online agenda she NEVER READ but the developer’s HANDOUT!

    It is sad the sun sentinel decided it is the publicity arm of princess forked tongue! Mr begins said NOT to trust the sun sentinel on this and the reporter’s OWN WORDS to me prove it!

  20. Ha Ha Ha says:

    I’d send specially designed Chaz-inspired “I Fellate Developers” T-shirts to all the Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners, but I’m afraid they would just very proudly wear these T-shirts at all times – after selling the space on the back of each T-shirt to deluxe kneepad advertisers…

  21. Distressed says:

    We as home owners are very disappointed that this even a discussion-the answer is NO!

    Home/ property owners on Harbor Drive did not buy waterfront property only to be disrupted by one entity-Randolph Equity and their selfish benefit!

    We will have to be unreasonably subjected to:
    Beyond what we already do.

    We bought with a reasonable expectation of not being disturbed all day and night because Randolph Equity decides they want to over develop and TRY to land grab from the city.

    We live with the fire station as close as we will have it!!

    What about any future development on Harbor Drive?? No one will invest millions of dollars on waterfront property with a fire station in the middle of their dream property. We do not want this either. This will render all future development useless.

    For those that are in favor of this, let them build a monster building and then move a fire station near you. Let them disturb you and your well being as well as a peaceful night’s sleep.

    What about quality of life…

  22. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Why can’t people organize against these things? Private property owners have rights they exercise why don’t the public which owns public land exercise theirs? If a couple hundred beach residents started writing, e-mailing, calling, the commission members n the sun sentinel and the greater fort Lauderdale chamber of commerce where the lobbyists live and breed this horrible proposal would die the death it deserves. I live in south middle river on a sleepy quiet street, if the people on the beach what to live in a permanent construction site that threatens ems response time so be it! I think the people of the neighborhood are going to show the rest of us what they are made if. It’s a democracy, lets see what the people directly will do. But it is the con job from hell delivered by princess forked tongue to five older guys who react to her manure like diabetics in a candy store

  23. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @22 – You mean the kind of protest activity that the Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners so completely ignored when developer Asi Cymbal wanted their permission to move the largest rain tree in Florida?

    According to the Sun-Sentinel in Oct. 2012, it is not “just one big tree among many”; see “In 1982, the Florida Division of Forestry declared the tree a “Florida Champion,” meaning it was the largest of its species in the state. Since in the U.S. rain trees only grow in Florida, it may well be the biggest such tree in the country… In 1987, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission designated the evergreen a ‘protected tree’ which means it can only be moved upon the commission’s specific approval. Such trees, the commission said, ‘are particularly worth preserving and protecting for the future enjoyment and benefit of the city’s citizens.’”

    The voices of the people mean absolutely nothing to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. They only care about developers.

  24. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Update: as of January 2015, the rain tree was still standing. The developer got a two-year extension on the deadline to apply for a building permit on the site, as the press speculated that the Marina Lofts project might never be built – the new deadline is February 2017…


    My guess, only a guess, is that he wants to slip the property. My question: Would his promise to move the tree — an expensive proposition — bind any new owner?

  25. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Look mayor Seiler, vice mayor mckinxie, commissioners Roberts Rogers and trantalis sre honest. Intelligent and not lazy if a bit pompous but nothing like the walking moral n ethical disasters on the county n commission or in Miami or Miami beach or Miami Dade commissions. The problem is the community people refuse to do either the grit work of meeting, volunteering, and lobbying officials, the press and large economic interests. What advocate for raining in overdevelopment on the beach ever lobbied banks major investors and hotel chains to act more community friendly? How many billionaire hedge fund mgrs want their 80 year old yiddische moms in Boca calling to complain the hedge fund mgr is killing old trees or closing fire houses with paramedic services for seniors? No biilionaire no hedge fund magnate wants calls from moms in Miami the generic name for south Florida.
    Look I have to be away from June to September shopping and clubbing to celebrate my 70th birthday in various castles and palaces, if the fort Lauderdale city commission rushes through the fire house swsp before I get back from Oktoberfest (the ceremonial parts are in the third week of September when the Duke and native Bavarians Marshall in alt-start in our native dress.) I can assure Mr. Ha Ha n everyone from miss greenbarg to Mr fields I will not let this go by “unpunished”.
    However it is for former and future vice mayor Romney rogers’ constituents to inform him of their views, not I. I am blessed with commissioner dean trantslis who already has heard from me – quote stop kissing princess forkedtongue’s ass in public unquote. You all should be as direct and man up and then this morally repugnant disaster will die its deserved death

  26. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @24 Buddy – “Would his promise to move the tree bind any new owner”

    It was never a promise, only a proposed action for which this developer requested and received legal clearance. He can change his mind anytime he feels like it, and so can any subsequent owner.

    It looks to me like this developer will not take any action until enough people put money down as deposits on the proposed housing units, and people just aren’t doing that.

    The rain tree protesters may have lost the political battle but still won the war – by depriving this developer’s project of paying customers.

  27. Paul Lewakowski says:

    Overall, the value is cheaper as a result of all these things are under
    control, if that makes any sense.