FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Dan Lindblade, CAE, 954/462-4911
Adjustment Board Overturns City Staff on Hotel Permitting
FORT LAUDERDALE--Business and tourism prevailed in the early morning hours today at a hearing before the Fort Lauderdale Board of Adjustment pitting hoteliers and business groups against a small number of residents, city staff and Vice Mayor Charlotte Rodstrom.
In a case clearly about noise emanating from the W Hotel and not about the developer’s decade-old site plan approval, frustrated condo residents complained before the Board as attorneys for the hotel proffered hours of facts and expert testimony.
“ The Board’s decision reflects our position that resort hotels and their outside areas are built for activities that drive revenues, jobs and enjoyment for our visitors,” said Dan Lindblade, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. “What we need to figure out is how to make these activities compatible within the urban core. Shutting down businesses and arresting employees are not solutions.”
In 2011, a W employee was arrested after a complaint was issued by a resident under the guise of an unpermitted use. The City never prosecuted.
Stymied by their inability to mediate the issue, City staff initiated a new process for review and applied it retroactively to the W. This after the fact policy could have been devastating to hotel and tourism industry, risking millions in revenues, jobs and investment.
The interpretation issued by City staff in February suggested the W did not have a valid beach development permit to conduct unlimited activities on its various outside fifth floor decks because staff and various other governmental bodies were not informed of the specific functions ten years ago.
Vice Mayor Charlotte Rodstrom, who submitted her resignation in order to run for her term-limited husband’s seat at Broward County, has been applying pressure to staff to create ways to eliminate noise from the hotel. Rodstrom both wrote a letter to Board members and testified in support of staff’s opinion.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce is comprise of over 1,300 companies representing over 295,000 employees throughout South Florida.
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