Letters to the Editor for the week of 7.11.18

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Readers React to “Should City Fund the Pride Center’s Affordable Housing Project?”

As described by Robert Boo of the Pride Center to CANA members last year, the proposed low-income housing project will pay an upfront fee of around $1 million to the Pride Center. Ongoing fees would also be paid to the Pride Center in the future. Now we learn that Broward County is being asked to contribute $900,000 to the project. And Wilton Manors is being asked to donate $200,000. It is hard to characterize these contributions as investments in affordable housing when the bulk of the money will flow into the treasury of the Pride Center. A few questions: Who gets the other $100,000? Carrfour? Why isn’t the Pride Center offering to reduce its upfront development fee in an amount equal to the $200,000 it is asking the city to contribute?

  • Brent W. White 

 

It still has the playground; it has a gym; and now it wants to create affordable housing for senior citizens. Can any one organization really have this breadth in the services that it provides? And does Wilton Manors really have so few social-service agencies that one agency has to do so many things? ….. I just don't think that it's possible to do so many things and to do them all well.

 

  • Chris Gonza 

 

 

This City has no established program with procedures for utilization of this housing fund. Broward House, with the client in-take office in Wilton Manors, could certainly utilize these funds for their housing services. If Wilton Manors wants to grant $200,00, almost 2/3 of their affordable housing fund, they should request “bids.” City must then exercise due diligence and provide professional review of each applicant for legal and financial issues. Commissioners may then evaluate and make a legal binding decision. “Shovel Ready” programs should have some sort of priority. To simple meet, discuss, and grant funds to the Pride Center right now is irresponsible.

  • Raymond Carrier 

Three-bedroom apartments as affordable senior housing? If anything is built, shouldn't it all be studio apartments, and as many as possible to help as many seniors as possible?

  • Lenny Cohen 

Readers Respond to “Double Standards — The Pride Center should not be given preferential treatment”

People who live next to trains tracks complaining of loud music? Seriously?

This article completely ignores all the good work the Pride Center does. It ignores the good work the low-income housing at the Pride Center would bring.

The legitimate Business at the Pride Center should get a license... I should add the good work that business does for its patrons.

Nothing but healing and personal growth happens at the Pride Center. For SFGN to constantly beat up the people who organize this great work should be shamed of themselves. All SFGN wants is a salacious headline. Shame on SFGN!

  • Michael 

In my 13 years of living in the very center of this town, Code Enforcement has always been the most frustrating, opaque, and in the end, I believe, corrupt part of a city government that otherwise functions fairly well.

The most glaring, consistent and troubling failure is selective enforcement of our code. Along the Drive on any given night after 11 p.m. will prove this: to nearly the last one- every business is breaking code. Try finding a Code Enforcement Officer (not WMPD) at that hour. And should you, thru some good grace, karma, or bit of luck (OTHER THAN MONEY/ACCESS TO ATTORNEYS) the word you will hear on the street, is this: no one wants to harm these businesses.

Money and power are always seated at the table, no matter where or when. But I know of no place where it is more readily and brazenly apparent.

  • R P 

Dear Sal,

You asked: "How is it then that the Pride Center, with outstanding code issues and an illegal commercial business operating on their campus, can continue moving ahead with their planned partnership with Carrfour and the planned low-income, supportive housing complex for their campus?"

Short answer: You don't understand Florida Statutes, Wilton Manors Code, or really anything about these issues. But you alas have lots of "opinions” about it.

First, the gym is not an illegal business in this zoning district (TOC-E). It is a permitted business in the zoning code for Wilton Manors. “P” means permitted by right. That means they have a legal right to place the business in this location. 

The Plat Restriction under Broward County Code relates to them paying an impact fee for transportation. The Plat Restriction has nothing to do with whether or not a business is permitted on the property or not. It is an impact fee not a license to do business. It is my understanding that this application is in process and will be approved.

Once this issue is resolved, they will then pay their Business Tax Receipt (BTR). A BTR is exactly what it sounds like a BUSINESS TAX. It is not a license as you say under Florida law.

Bottom line: The business is legally permitted on this property. They do not need a “license” to operate. It is already legally permitted as outlined in the Wilton Manors code.

On the issue of the noise, the City did not follow its own code when measuring the sound when responding to the noise complaint. You can't just go around citing people when someone thinks something is loud. The City's code has a method for measuring the sound in decibels by using sound measuring devices. The Code officer did not use the devices per the code requirements and therefore did not follow the proper procedures. In fact, the one being treated unfairly is the Pride Center. 

Your exaggerations in this Op-Ed and others in the past are quite disturbing. The vitriol you have against the Pride Center’s mission to help the LGBT community is telling. You use words such as “shyster,” which verges on anti-Semitism, and other loaded language like “low income,” “illegal,” and “carpet bagger.”

Your opinions are divisive, unwelcoming, and will not move Wilton Manors forward as an inclusive, welcoming community to all members of the LGBT community.

 

  • Justin 

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