Hallandale’s Folly: 38-Story Bldg. Almost In The Ocean Despite Flooding, Hurricane Threats





County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs may be the only Broward politician who gets it.

Jacobs has been warning about global warming for years.


Kristin Jacobs

Kristin Jacobs: She understands the threat


She has been largely ignored, except by the White House which put her on a global warming task force.

No one has listened to Jacobs, which is especially strange in a community where the height above sea level is less than the height of players on the Miami Heat.

This week, the Hallandale Beach City Commission again disregarded Jacobs’ message. The development-happy commissioners approved 3-2 a condo that is being built “135 feet east of the Coastal Construction Control Line, or CCCL,” according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Then they delayed approval until April 16 when a third commissioner disagreed with the landscaping, parking and height of the new building.

The CCCL is defined on a state website like this:

“Recognizing the value of the state’s beaches, the Florida legislature initiated the Coastal Construction Control Line Program to protect the coastal system from improperly sited and designed structures which can destabilize or destroy the beach and dune system. Once destabilized, the valuable natural resources are lost, as are its important values for recreation, upland property protection and environmental habitat.”


That Hallandale Beach commissioners are even entertaining a condo 135 feet past that line doesn’t surprise me.  The place has been poorly governed for decades.

Ever wonder why Hallandale Beach is so full of tall condominiums? Ever wonder why Hallandale Beach has such overcrowded roads?

When I was a kid — my step-father was in the development industry — it was an open secret that the Hallandale Beach Commission was for sale.

Hallandale Beach today is an overcrowded pile of ugly condominiums and strip shopping centers with nothing unique or especially appealing.

I spent 30 minutes driving three miles along Hallandale Beach Boulevard to visit a dermatologist at 10:30 a.m. in the morning last year.  I switched dermatologists.

So I wouldn’t normally worry about a 38-story building in Hallandale Beach, a city I view as a lost cause, except for one reason: When that building is wreaked by the next hurricane, we will all pay higher insurance rates.

Because this is Florida, there will be a hurricane that damages that building. It is being built where no structure should be…virtually in the ocean.

A United Nations report warned just this week of more severe storms, more flooding and more disruptions in coastal areas because of global warming.  The report stated there is a high confidence that the world will experience:

  • Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones
  • Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services such as electricity, water and health and emergency services.
  • Extreme events such as heat waves, “extreme precipitation and coastal flooding.”

It doesn’t seem like the time is right to build so close to the waves.

Commissioners Bill Julian and Michele Lazarow are the good guys this time.  They were against the project, the Sun-Sentinel said.

Commissioner Anthony Sanders also objected to some aspects of the project.

The Sun-Sentinel didn’t mention Commissioner Alex Lewy, a state House candidate.  

Lewy said he voted for the project because the new building will have far less density than the neighboring structures — roughly 50 units per acre compared to as high as 150 per acre in older condos.  Thus, it will put less cars on the street. 

He also said the distance from the ocean is not an issue because the condo will still be behind the existing sea wall.  

Jacobs has long been worried about construction on the barrier islands.  She has been talking about it for years.

Maybe if she gets to the state House – She is running for an open seat in North Broward.  – she will have better luck making others listen.  Somehow I doubt it.

The flood of developers’ dollars will always trump warnings about future flooding…until it is too late. And too late is coming too soon.

 (Personal note from Buddy:  An earlier version of this story had an incorrect figure for the height of this controversial condominium project.  The mistake is mine. The remainder of my opinion piece stands.) 

10 Responses to “Hallandale’s Folly: 38-Story Bldg. Almost In The Ocean Despite Flooding, Hurricane Threats”

  1. Alice McGill says:

    There is a new “buzz word” going around. The word is “iconic”. One of the Hallandale city commissioners described the proposed building as “iconic”. A representative of EDSA, the company hired by Dania Beach to redesign that city’s beach area, described a high rise building that could be placed on Dania Beach as “iconic”.
    Stacy Ritter now calls the water in Broward, the ocean and the Intracoastal, as “iconic”. Sounds to me that anything that is “iconic” is “in”. Look out Hallandale and Dania Beach. The developers are coming for you. Dunes and hurricanes are not on the “iconic” list yet.

  2. Sky is Falling says:

    rising property values –
    more jobs for the local economy –
    more dollars for infrastructure projects –
    more dollars for the Arts –
    more dollars for education –
    and on and on

    you gotta hate those evil developers and commisioners – and of course trust everything the UN says


    There is no doubt that some development is positive. That doesn’t mean it can’t be smart development that is more environmentally friendly.

    Development is not the answer to everything. Overdevelopment destroys the lifestyle of millions who already live here.

    As far as development being the answer to government budgets, how come taxes keep going up along with development? No city is more development friendly than Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale recently had to float a $340 million bond issue to pay its employee pensions. I guess all that development didn’t cover it.

  3. Julius Sanders says:

    I lived in Hallandale. I moved from New York to what I thought would be a comfortable place to live, which was far from true. After a year of my wife complaining it took her an hour to go to market and me having to leave for golf an hour before tee time, I moved to Boca. They can keep Hallandale, the arm pit of Florida.

  4. Chaz Stevens, Festivus says:

    When I hear knuckleheads say stupid shit like, “Don’t trust the UN when it comes to climate change,” I’d like to get the opinion of a soon-to-be-fucking-extinct polar bear.

  5. Sam The Sham says:

    I don’t live anywhere near Hallandale. I would never want to live there, but guess what? It would not be so crowded if nobody wanted to live there.

    I know that most of you Bolsheviks want to usurp other’s property rights, but this is America after all and you should be allowed to develop your own property.

    If you don’t want to have that building and others like it affecting your flood insurance rates, you should tell your progressive representatives in Congress to stop subsidizing flood insurance.

  6. Good Comment says:

    Suggestion: Each unit sold should come with water wings.

  7. Lifelong Broward Resident that Actually understands flooding says:

    I typically appreciate your objective opinion, but your article is full of errors….the CCCL is seaward of the FEMA V flooding zone on this site, which essentially means the building is required to be elevated like a house in the keys. Last but not least, the City does not have the final say in this process, the State DEP does and they will take into account the other existing buildings, many of which are even with or further eastward of the CCCL. Get your facts straight before rendering an opinion – oh wait, this is Broward County.


    Let me get this right: Because the mistake was made in the past — you claim buildings are further eastward — it should be done again. Why aren’t we still using septic tanks?

    The first step is the Hallandale Beach City Commission. The second step is the state. The public can only vote on members of the Hallandale Beach Commission.

    Let me reiterate: That building will be damaged in a hurricane. It is too close to the water.

  8. tell the truth says:

    “….Fort Lauderdale recently had to float a $340 million bond issue to pay its employee pensions. I guess all that development didn’t cover it.”

    Sorry Buddy but the 340,000,000.00 twenty year Police and Fire Pension Obligation Bond was police and fire pensions ONLY Not General Employees. i have all the back-up docs from this Sept 2012 agenda item. I will be happy to email to you.


    Aren’t police and fire fighters “employees?” Regardless, I appreciate you clearing that up.

  9. you have got to be kidding says:

    Wow! This will South Broward County’s ‘Stiltsville’ in a few years.

    But seriously, it appears the postage stamp of a site is just too small to put a ‘profitable’ project (i.e. Pro Forma) west of the CCL

    Mother Nature will have the final say, and any Lender on the project with an ounce of common sense

  10. Sam The Sham says:

    You enviro-weenie drama queen, control freaks are too much. Let the developer build at his own risk. Let the residents buy in at their own risk.

    Tell me, just what environment in Hallandale is being threatened by this building?