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State Government Engaging in NIMBY-ism
Plantation affordable-housing plan opposed by state agency
By Sean Cavanagh, Staff Writer

October 3, 2001

PLANTATION · Opponents of a much-debated affordable-housing proposal on the city's east side may have gained an important ally: the state of Florida.

Officials from Florida's Department of Management Services have asked Plantation City Council members to reject the controversial project they are scheduled to consider tonight, saying the plan could drag down the value of nearby land the state owns.

In a letter to the city, Management Services Secretary Cynthia A. Henderson says the proposal for at least 150 apartments and houses south of Sunrise Boulevard infringes on state property.

"Approval of this request by the city of Plantation will adversely impact the property value of the [state's] parcel, as well as other parcels," Henderson writes. She calls the project "a direct infringement of our property rights."

Officials from the Pinnacle Housing Group of Miami propose building on a vacant plot of commercial land just west of State Road 7. They estimate the housing's total value at $17 million.

Pinnacle officials call it a vital piece of rental property for working people in Plantation and nearby cities. Rents in the units will range from $700 to $800 a month, the developers say, amounts they must charge in order to receive financing from a county program.

On Tuesday, Pinnacle officials could not be reached for comment on the state's letter.

State officials say they own 6.4 acres of land in a business park next to the space Pinnacle has targeted. Part of the land needed by Pinnacle already has been given to the state for storage and access into the site, Henderson explained to Plantation officials.
Pinnacle's plans have drawn a fiery reaction among residents of the surrounding Park East neighborhood, who have circulated petitions, organized rallies and hired a lawyer to fight it.

Homeowners say their middle-income community, a diverse mix of mostly white, black and Caribbean-born residents, has steadily improved in recent years. They worry that rental housing will only bring it down.

Last week, the homeowners association in Park East sent city officials a letter opposing the project. The council will review the proposal at 7:30 tonight, at City Hall, 400 NW 73rd


Plantation slows housing plan by demanding lengthy review:
By Sean Cavanagh, Staff Writer

October 4, 2001

PLANTATION· City Council members dealt a blow to a controversial housing proposal for the Park East neighborhood late Wednesday night, forcing the developer to go through a potentially lengthy review process that could take up to a year.

Faced with a crowd of residents opposed to the project, council members voted to deny the Pinnacle Housing Group of Miami the right to a speedy review process.

"We're trying to create a synergy between the commercial and residential folks," said Councilman Bruce Edwards, who voted against the speedy review.

The 3-2 vote does not kill the project, but it means Pinnacle will have to face several city panels for approval of the apartment complex plan.

Pinnacle's lawyer, Jeffrey Finiawsky, said he was not sure whether the developer would be willing to undergo such a review.

The proposal offered by the Pinnacle calls for 152 apartments and more than 30 single-family homes to be built on what is now a grassy plot just south of Sunrise Boulevard. Only the proposal for apartments was presented to the council on Wednesday.

The project would require the land, which is now targeted for commercial use, to be rezoned. Pinnacle officials, who estimate the housing's value at $17 million, say the complex would cater primarily to teachers, police officers and other working people, who are being priced out of Broward's housing market.

Last month, the developers also said their project could add at least $150,000 in annual tax revenue to the Community Redevelopment Agency, a special financing program created to improve the area around State Road 7.

But the project has outraged residents from the surrounding Park East neighborhood. Homeowners have tried to cast the proposal as a low-rent complex -- a depiction the developers angrily deny -- and said the rental units will drag down property values.

Some east-siders also have accused the city of Plantation of neglecting their area, in comparison to the wealthier sections of town, further west. Allowing Pinnacle's project would set back the neighborhood, they contend.

In a Sept. 26 letter to the homeowners association, Pinnacle President Michael Wohl said the city had approached his company about buying the land the developer targeted for single-family homes, and turning it into a park.

Last week, the homeowners association in Park East voiced their objections in a letter to the city. During the past few months, residents have gathered hundreds of names on petitions opposing the project, organized rallies and hired a lawyer to fight it.

On Monday, the state Department of Management Services followed suit, claiming in a letter to the city that the Pinnacle project would infringe on nearby land the state owns, and affect its value. The state asked Plantation council members to reject the development.