City of Fort Lauderdale staff is proposing zoning changes that will put new development regulations on all properties in the Downtown Regional Activity Center (RAC). These regulations will impact property rights.
In September, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors voted to oppose the proposed updates to the Downtown Master Plan by a large majority, citing a lack of specific language in the plan. That vote came after a presentation by the City, during September's Government Affairs Committee meeting.
On October 16, 2019, City staff presented recommended zoning changes to the Fort Lauderdale Planning & Zoning Board. The Board voted 6-1 to recommend denial of the zoning changes and it is anticipated that the City Commission will vote on the item before the end of the calendar year.
The stated reason for the zoning changes include the need to "codify" certain design guidelines that are in the Downtown Master Plan, which relate to the form and scale of building and site plan configurations. The Downtown Master Plan was adopted in 2003 and updated in 2007, apply only to development applications that include residential units. The zoning changes being proposed at this time would apply to all new development, putting untested and new regulations on non-residential development for the first time in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
On November 14, the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority organized a workshop in order to help educate and downtown property owners on the proposed changes. The Chamber was proud to help spread word of the workshop, which also allowed City of Fort Lauderdale leaders a chance to hear from the community.
Although the City Commission has not voted on the zoning changes, this is expected to become a voting item before the end of the calendar year. As of this writing, the Chamber continues to opposed the proposed updates to the Downtown Master Plan.