A residential parking lot flooded, sediment-filled water poured into the Middle River and construction materials were dumped too close to trees at a construction site where Broward County’s first LGBT-friendly affordable housing project is being built.
Inspectors from Broward County’s Environmental Engineering and Permitting Division found several violations of a Surface Water Management License at 2040 N. Dixie Highway, where a 48-unit, $15 million complex is being built in the parking lot of the Pride Center at Equality Park.
According to the report:
- Catch basins in the construction site had poorly maintained inlet protection
- Construction erosion and sediment control measures were not implemented in the temporary parking area
- Tree protection was insufficient
- Not all catch basins were equipped with inlet protection
- The construction entrance allowed sediment to be tracked into an access road
- Catch basins in the construction zone were filled with sediment-laden water
The violations were first spotted by neighbor Matt Dreger, who noticed murky brown water spewing from a stormwater pipe that carried runoff from the construction project.
“The first time there was so much pressure it sounded like there was an engine,” said Dreger, president of the Townhomes of Riverside HOA. “I thought, if this is what happens now, what’s going to happen when they pave over that area for parking spaces. The water has only one place to go and that’s right here.”
Dreger, who lives directly south of the Pride Center, contacted Broward County’s Environmental Engineering Division in October and again in November because the runoff dumping into the south branch of the Middle River looked dirty.
It had also flooded into the Townhomes’ parking lot, where units have sold for up to $350,000.
Wilton Manors Utilities Director David J. Archacki said a county inspector discovered that the filter fabric on the Pride Center’s storm drains had holes in it, allowing for sediment to flow into the Middle River.
Pride Center CEO Robert Boo forwarded several emails to the Wilton Manors Gazette confirming that the filter screens had been repaired. He did not comment further.
Kayakers and paddle boarders frequently glide up and down the Middle River, a stone’s throw from where the runoff had spewed out.
The city hired engineers to inspect the Pride Center property again on Dec. 2 and discovered additional problems with a silt fence along the railroad, a silt fence along the private driveway and also along the north property line, Archacki said.
“We gave them 10 days from today to complete all of the issues or all inspections for the job will be stopped,” Archacki said.
Carlos Adorisio, Supervisor for the Environmental Engineering and Permitting Division, said the Pride Center has to work with the city to ensure the sediment control measures are working. He said the county checked the drains in mid-October and late October, and again in mid-November. Wilton Manors has to check the site regularly to ensure compliance.
“We told them you need to visit the site more frequently,” Adorisio said. “They have to constantly maintain those [screens]. It’s not like you put them on and it’s forever.”
The complex is being built by Carrfour Supportive Housing Inc. The developer is receiving $11.2 million in low-income housing tax credits from Florida Housing Finance Corporation, a FHDC loan of $550,000, and $955,866 in deferred development fees.
The city is contributing $200,000 from its Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The county is contributing $900,000.
Carrfour’s affiliate Crossroads Management LLC will manage the building and have a presence on-site. The property would be leased from the Pride Center under a 65-year, long-term lease and must be maintained as affordable housing for 50 years.