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State Government Engaging
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
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
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
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.