Pompano Beach, Florida – Subsequent to an extended City Commission meeting on May 23, which concluded with a decision to forward the issue for review to the Planning and Zoning Board, Terry Patterson, the owner and developer of Lighthouse Point, has withdrawn his request to amend the Development Agreement for the Lighthouse Point Yacht Club.
The process of advancing the amendment proposal through the Planning and Zoning Board, had the request not been withdrawn, would have extended the final decision on the matter until September at the earliest. This delay would necessitate a Board meeting, a couple of public hearings, and another City Commission meeting at the minimum. Such a protracted timeline, according to Patterson, was the impetus behind his decision to retract the amendment request.
In Patterson’s words, “What I was asking for from the Commission could have been approved at the Commission level by the middle of July and we could have commenced our preparations. However, since three of the Commissioners instead chose to delegate their responsibilities to the Planning and Zoning Board, this process would now terminate in mid-September at the earliest…Once we consent to the changes through Planning and Zoning, only then can the agreement be returned to the Commission, who should have dealt with it in the first place.”
The amendment request, before its retraction, was intended to give Patterson and his team the clearance to begin demolition of the old clubhouse, prior to satisfying a requirement specified in the development agreement. The current agreement mandates Patterson to first demonstrate to the Commission a “proof of financial viability” for the project. The City Administration, however, found a previous letter of intent from Colorado Savings Bank to cover $25,500,000 in construction costs for the residential units, to be inadequate proof, thereby withholding approval for the demolition to commence. According to the development agreement, the initiation of demolition sets the strict construction timeline into motion.
Patterson elucidated that in order to finalize bank loans, which could potentially fulfill the “proof of financial viability” stipulation in the development agreement, the bank needs to first see the master permits, city-endorsed plans, and builders’ risk insurance. As such, Patterson has to first wait for the master permits to be approved before he can present Mayor Kyle Van Buskirk with the finalized construction loan documents.
In a letter to yacht club members, Patterson stated, “I have never requested to alter it [the financial viability requirement]. However, I won’t officially present it to the Mayor until our master permits are prepared for issuance.”
Yet, the permits have encountered substantial delays. Around six months prior, the clubhouse building plans met an unanticipated obstruction when the Pompano Beach Fire Marshall, in the absence of a Fire Marshall in Lighthouse Point, disagreed with a prior verdict by the Planning and Zoning Board regarding the building’s maximum capacity. The Fire Marshall insisted that the plans must accommodate nearly 1,600 people to consider both indoor and outdoor spaces, despite the Planning and Zoning Board’s approval of a design for around 400 occupants based on indoor space only. This decision from the Fire Marshall necessitated a clubhouse redesign by Patterson and his team.
Patterson expressed at the Commission meeting that this setback “came at great cost.”
Due to this delay, Patterson was optimistic that the City Commission might amend the development agreement to permit the commencement of demolition without initiating the complete construction timeline until the vertical build starts.
The subject of amending the agreement was the center of a heated debate lasting over two and a half hours at the May 23 Commission meeting, involving the Mayor, City Administrator, City Commissioners, Patterson, the staff of Lighthouse Point Yacht Club, and local residents who ardently voiced their concerns and apprehensions regarding the development. The outcome of that meeting was a decision to refer the issue to Planning and Zoning.
With the amendment request now withdrawn, Patterson plans to wait for the issuance of the master permits.
Patterson noted in his letter, “I keep saying that our permits are imminent but that the last 5 percent push is always the hardest.” He added, “The silver lining is that our Mayor Kyle Van Buskirk, City Administrator John Lavisky, and all the city employees are working diligently to get our permits through the process. Due to this positive development, we have withdrawn our requested development agreement amendment from the City Commission and will place our trust in our Mayor and City Staff. No more appealing to the Commission to expedite things.”
The revised clubhouse plans, submitted to the City of Lighthouse Point on May 17, are still under evaluation. According to Jessica Easterling, the owner of Lighthouse Point Yacht Club and Community Outreach Director, as of June 14, some trades, including plumbing, electrical, and mechanical, had commented on the plans, which were then under structural review. No comments had been added for the fire review. City Administrator John Lavisky informed that a meeting was scheduled for June 16 to review all comments.
As per Sandra King, the Strategic Communications Administrator for the City of Pompano Beach, as of June 13, the revised clubhouse plans had not yet been sent to the City of Pompano Beach for Fire Marshall review. The Lighthouse Point building department will forward them to Pompano Beach.
The plans for the tennis center were largely approved, with only minor comments to address. The townhome plans had not been resubmitted as of June 14, but Easterling suggested they were expected to be resubmitted by around June 21.