2015-The Smart Growth Partnership awards four Excellence Awards for the following projects:
The awarded projects are highlighted below:
The City of Fort Lauderdale Received the award for Overall Smart Growth Excellence Award for Connecting the Blocks – Creating Options for Moving People
The City of Fort Lauderdale underwent a visioning process from 2010 to 2013, where it asked neighbors to envision Fort Lauderdale in 2035 and suggest ideas to achieve the City you never want to leave. Over 1,560 ideas were transformed into “Fast Forward Fort Lauderdale: Our Vision 2035.” The Vision initiative showed that residents want Fort Lauderdale to be a prosperous and united community of distinct neighborhoods with ample transportation options and a focus on resiliency and sustainability. Over 45% of the “big ideas” captured through the visioning process called for connected development, with complete streets being the second highest request overall.
The City took the Vision to task, crafting and adopting policy to advance the Vision, including its complete streets policy that is ranked third in the nation. The City did not stop at the vision or the policy, keeping the momentum going by developing its long-term multimodal infrastructure plan, Connecting the Blocks in 2014. Achieving this goal will require a multimodal, connected community where the vehicle is not the only choice, where everyone can walk, bike and use transit to get to many destinations. The first step in developing this implementation program was conducting an inventory of the existing sidewalk, bicycle and transit conditions. The inventory of needs was then compared to the City’s Complete Streets Manual to determine needed infrastructure, and planning level cost estimates based upon industry standards were prepared for each project.
The Connecting the Blocks Program advancing several of the Smart Growth Principles, not only in theory but in practice. The City has already begun implementation as highlighted in an article in the January 2015 issue of the Florida Magazine, Our Future Is Here - Fast Forward Fort Lauderdale: The Vision 2035 is not only moving ahead – some of its concepts are already visible. This is evidenced by the dynamic painted intersections along Las Olas Boulevard, a thriving corridor with growing pedestrian activity. Improvements like these contribute to creating walkable and attractive neighborhoods with a strong sense of place. The City has also made strides in providing a wide variety of transportation choices through implementing projects with pedestrian and bicycle improvements on a block by block scale and through significant capital projects such as the Wave Streetcar.
These steps have led to the development of a comprehensive, strategic and ambitious long-term program that includes maps, design components, planning level cost estimates, and existing and potential funding sources. Connecting the Blocks will serve as a guiding document for City infrastructure investments through the annual Community Investment Program (CIP) and will inform other funding streams including the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Long Range Transportation Plan. City staff will continue to actively pursue grants and partnerships to implement this work plan including with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Broward County. This work plan will provide private developers the details of needed improvements to be included in development projects thereby contributing towards achieving the community’s vision.
Broward County Received the Smart Growth Excellence Award for Smart Growth and Green Buildings for Complete Streets and Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure
Broward County has built a strong record for demonstrating commitment to providing a multimodal transportation system as well as a commitment to identifying and implementing green and sustainable practices. One of the key areas where these commitments converge is in the transportation infrastructure realm.
Broward County Planning and Redevelopment and the Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Divisions have worked closely with partners to address and integrate transportation and climate resiliency needs. In 2010, Broward County adopted the Broward County Climate Change Action Plan which includes a number of transportation-related recommendations focused on mitigating the causes and adapting to climate change. In early 2013, the Broward County Comprehensive Plan was amended to include a Climate Change Element, which includes a number of specific policies related to the transportation network, including expanding infrastructure for charging electric and hybrid vehicles. A third milestone for the County was the adoption of Complete Streets objectives and policies into the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan in 2014 and the formation of a Complete Streets Team. The Complete Streets Team has focused on reviewing and updating codes and standards to support Complete Streets, identify locations and coordinate with partners on pilot projects using new technologies, working with Broward County municipalities, the Broward MPO and Florida Department of Transportation to identify priority corridors for improvements, and working to improve safety for bicyclist and pedestrians.
Addressing safety issues was a major impetus behind the adoption of Complete Streets policies, along with the desire to develop a truly multimodal transportation network to provide safe and efficient transportation options. By providing additional infrastructure, as well as public education and outreach, the County is determined to reduce the fatality and injury rates among bicyclists and pedestrians and improve the travel mode split.
On the electric vehicle infrastructure side, level two electric vehicle charging stations were installed at the Broward County Governmental Center West location in December, 2014, providing free charging opportunities to County employees. In 2015 additional level two chargers are planned for installation at the main Governmental Center location in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The Lauderdale Lakes Community Recevelopment Agency received the Smart Growth Excellence Award for Programs, Policies and Regulations for Effective Collaborative Community Planning
The City of Lauderdale Lakes was incorporated 50 years ago as Fort Lauderdale’s population growth stimulated western expansion stimulating the growth of suburbs and the incorporation of new cities to the West.
The City of Lauderdale Lakes today is a low income, minority majority community of extraordinary diversity with a population of 38,000. At just under four square miles in size, the City is in the geographic center of the economically distressed Fort Lauderdale SMSA.
The CRA district is 551 acres in size principally covering main commercial arterials running through the city/region. Affordable housing of all types is available to 73% of households, as is an expansive network of public transit services. As well, most residents live within walking distance of public transit. The two highest ridership bus rapid transit routes move through the center of the City at US 441/SR 7 and Oakland Park Boulevard along with 130,000 vehicles per day where bus transfers are among the highest in the regional system.
Having adopted the original CRA Plan in 2001, and updating it in 2009, and again in 2013, the CRA in 2014 once-again updated the plan through public processes defined above.
For the first 13 years of the CRA’s existence it has proven necessary to update the plan simply because the projects and programs defined through planning are completed efficiently and effectively. The CRA believes that this process will continue through 2031 when the CRA is retired and the Tax Increment revenue that has been earned (estimated at $5-7m annually) will forever be paid to the City to support on-going General Fund expenses and the delivery of local governmental services.
By 2031, it is anticipated that the CRA will have invested up to $30m within the district and that those funds have the real potential to leverage up to $120m in private investment within the CRA target area.
The Hallandale Beach Community Redevelopment Agency received the Smart Growth Excellence Award for Community Assets for their In-Fill Housing Project
The Hallandale Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (HBCRA) is focused on eliminating slum and blighted conditions. In addition, the HBCRA is focused on stimulating and creating physical, economic and social improvements in the area. A vision of the agency is to apply these improvements in the Northwest area of the City as it is considered the first priority for redevelopment to create greater real progress in the community. As a result, the HBCRA created the In-Fill Housing Project, which entailed the construction of eight single-family homes, on HBCRA owned land, to be sold as affordable housing opportunities to income eligible buyers.
The HBCRA owns several vacant parcels suited for residential development. The developer Stuart and Shelby, Inc., was engaged by the HBCRA through RFP process for the construction of the In-Fill units. The HBCRA paid $1,130,873.42 for the design and construction of the housing units. The houses were built in approximately four months.
Six units were three bedrooms (1 ,534 SF) and two units were two bedrooms (1 ,487 SF). All units have two or three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, garage, alarm system, hurricane impact windows, full landscaping, irrigation system, air conditioning system, ceramic tile flooring, smoke detectors, gourmet kitchen and energy efficient appliances. Additionally, the developer provided a one year limited warranty on all labor and materials.
All eight housing units received the national Green Building Standard Bronze Certification. Green homes or energy efficient construction provide a financial benefit overtime to property owners. These units use energy more efficiently, meaning that less energy is wasted and homeowners cut costs and save money. The potential future savings in energy bills was a motivator to homeowners.
The In-Fill Housing Project generated significant benefits to the community and the local government (City of Hallandale Beach). It creates a diverse workforce and promotes social and economic integration. These affordable housing units replaced vacant land, which benefit the local government from increased property tax revenues. Furthermore, buyers of these units were able to participate in the First Time Home Buyers Program offered by the HBCRA. This program provides up to $50,000 in assistance to be used towards down payment and/or closing costs. This assistance is considered a second mortgage on the property with no payments required for ten years. A requirement of the program is a 20 year covenant restriction in the housing unit that requires that if the property is sold the new buyer must be income eligible for affordable housing.
2014 – The Smart Growth Partnership awards four Excellence Awards for the following projects:
Award Recipient: Broward County
Awarded Project: Climate Change Element
Award Category: Overall Excellence
Award Recipient: City of Dania Beach
Awarded Project: Nanofiltration Plant
Award Category: Smart Growth and Green Building
Award Recipient: City of Deerfield Beach
Awarded Project: Complete Streets Guidelines and Comprehensive Plan Amendments
Award Category: Programs, Policies, and Regulations
Award Recipient: South Florida Regional Transportation Authority
Awarded Project: Tri-Rail Coastal Link Station Area Opportunities Analysis
Award Category: Community Assets
The projects are highlighted below:
Broward County receives an award for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth for its Climate Change Element
The purpose of the Climate Change Element (CCE) is to provide a planning framework for addressing the economic, environmental, and social impacts of climate change. A county-wide strategy, based on local vulnerability and consistent with regional efforts, the CCE aims to mitigate the causes, and address the local implications, of global climate change. In doing so, Broward County moves one step closer to building a greener, more sustainable, and climate resilient community.
Broward County recognizes the widespread international scientific consensus that climate change is occurring, and that greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, may be a contributing cause. Furthermore, we understand that our region, Southeast Florida, is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise and other climate change impacts. Because of these global and local realities, Broward County has made reducing carbon emissions and protecting and preparing residents, businesses, and natural resources from the unavoidable consequences of climate change, a priority.
Sea level rise is just one of many possible impacts our community will face because of changing climate conditions. Changes in temperature and evapotranspiration, rainfall patterns and the occurrence of extreme weather events are also likely. Impacts are also multi-directional and interdependent, making predictions highly challenging. For instance, some impacts have cascading effect, the way sea level rise exacerbates coastal erosion, reduces drainage capacity (which can cause inland flooding), and accelerates salt water intrusion into our drinking water supply. Extreme weather is hard to predict, but shifts in the timing and length of seasons is impacting local wildlife health and food production. Additionally, the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes is expected to decrease, but the intensity of these weather events is predicted to increase. Similarly, while projections for average precipitation vary greatly, changes in the intensity and timing of rainfall is likely lead to increased incidents of both flooding and drought.
The City of Dania Beach received an award for Excellence in Smart Growth and Green Buildings for the Dania Beach Nanofiltration Plant
This project was the combined efforts of the City of Dania Beach, Florida Atlantic University faculty and student researchers within the College of Engineering and Computer Science, engineers , architects and construction personnel from CDM Smith. Two FAU civil, environmental and geomatics senior student groups submitted conceptual designs as their capstone project and spent significant time analyzing the process, site and design issues. These students designs were used by CDM Smith and the City of Dania Beach to fully develop the plant concepts, including the idea for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The project is the first water treatment plant in the world to receive a LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is a process to highlight aspects of building projects that encompass the concepts of green building. The project incorporated the following LEED categories and elements of Smart Growth Principles:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Use
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Indoor Air Quality
These innovations, including the increased water recovery and the potential to use the facility for educational purposes, helped to make this facility the first LEED-certified process building at any water or wastewater plant in the United States. The LEED certification process was administered by FAU. Students helped with some of the templates submitted for the LEED process. A total of 43 points were secured (39 needed for Gold certification). Dedication of the facility occurred on March 27, 2012 (Figure 15) and the LEED Gold certification was received in April 2012.
SFRTA receives Smart Growth Excellence Award for Tri-Rail Coastal Link Station Area Opportunities Analysis
The project focuses on an 85 mile rail corridor in Southeast Florida between West Palm Beach and Miami, between US1 and I-95, less than a mile from the Intra-Coastal Waterway. At six million people today, the region is anticipated to grow to nine million people by 2060. The 20-25 stations proposed will connect 26 communities. The project was funded and coordinated by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, in close collaboration with the municipalities studied.
This project is very effective in advancing smart growth principles because it shows how a rail corridor can revitalize station areas and the regional economy. The region grew up around the existing rail corridor, and developed into the distinct communities of today. The new service will help re-energize these historic communities. The study supports these principles by studying the redevelopment of each station area at a parcel by parcel level. The rail corridor evaluated in this application will revolutionize access and mobility in an area with few regional transit options and a population anticipated to grow by 50% in 2060, according to new regional planning predictions. This study shows the positive impacts of the proposed transit service on the station areas and the region. Additionally, the historic grid system surrounding the proposed station areas provide a walking and bicycling network for transit access to regional employment and residential centers along the densely populated rail corridor. The new service will generate 18 million in tax revenues, 5,770 new residential units, and 8,248,300 square feet of new office and commercial development. The transportation benefits of the new service include:
- $140 million in travel time savings
- $12 million in fuel savings
- $11 million in vehicle operating savings
- A significant increase in regional mobility where only 16 percent of jobs are reachable via transit in less than 90 minutes
The project is being implemented by a team of transportation professionals and guided by a May 2013 Memorandum of understanding, which outlines a committee structure and the project roles and responsiblities. Much progress has been seen since the adoption of the Memorandum of Understanding. Because each station area received its own set of projections, communities can use this information to update their land use, zoning and/or overlay districts to enhance place-making and better capture the value that will be created by the train service. The complete document can be viewed on the SFRTA’s website by clicking on the following link:
City of Deerfield Beach receives Smart Growth Excellence Award for adopting their Complete Streets Guidelines and Comprehensive Plan Amendments
The City of Deerfield Beach depends on manuals for design guidance on new streets, as well as for retrofitting and modifying existing streets with new development. Along with land use planning, street manuals play a large role in determining urban form. Street manuals, in effect, serve as the “DNA” of streets. As such, they help to determine how walkable and bicycle-friendly neighborhoods and communities are, how conducive cities are to transit use, and how livable communities become.
The Deerfield Beach Complete Streets Guidelines manual is based on complete streets principles that aim to design streets for people of all ages and physical abilities, and to accommodate all travel modes. The Guidelines offer another way to design streets rather than by traditional street manuals. The result will be a City with more livable neighborhoods and with healthier residents, who have increased opportunities for active transportation (walking, bicycling, and accessing public transportation).
The Complete Streets Guidelines exemplify most of the Smart Growth principles. Outlined below are examples how the guidelines address four of those principles:
1. Create distinctive buildings and neighborhoods with a strong sense of place:
Chapter 12, Re-placing Streets, outlines six design techniques for creating “re-placed streets,” (streets that balance the moving and staying needs of its users and have multiple, people-serving purposes.) These techniques include: support and encourage activities and destinations, design street elements and adjacent buildings for the human scale, provide a feeling of safety and security on the streets, connect both sides of the street, show a sense of ownership, and reflect community identity.
2. Preserve and create open space:
As stated, in Chapter 12 of the Guidelines, “streets comprise a large portion of publicly owned land in cities and towns. Streets are a huge part of any community’s public space network, and historically served as meeting places, playgrounds for children, marketplaces, and more.” As such, the Complete Streets Guidelines call for “re-placing” the streets, (taking them from being designed solely for the purpose of moving vehicles as quickly possible from point A to point B and designing them to be slow and filed with human activity.) This is creating new open space for pedestrians to use that was previously used to simply move vehicles as quickly as possible.
3. Promote mixed land uses serviced by a variety of transportation modes:
Chapter 13 provides guidelines for designing land use along Complete Streets. This chapter lays out the important connection between Complete Streets and adjoining land use. Sites can be designed to encourage walkability. An example of this is moving buildings up front along the property line rather than having a parking lot front the property. This creates an enjoyable, comfortable walk from one destination to another rather than walking through large, unsafe parking lots.
4. Create walkable sites, neighborhoods, and community design:
The purpose of the Guidelines is to create walkable, more sustainable communities and neighborhoods. Taking existing streets that were designed simply to move cars from one destination to another as quickly possible and re-designing them to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists will create walkable neighborhoods and encourage more people to walk, ride their bicycles or use transit rather than driving.
The Deerfield Beach Complete Streets Guidelines can be found on the City's website at www.deerfield-beach.com/completestreets.
2013 – City of Fort Lauderdale presented with the Smart Growth Excellence Award for the Sistrunk Streetscape Enhancement Project
The Sistrunk Streetscape Enhancement Project was awarded the 2013 Smart Growth Excellence Award and is the key element in the Northwest Progresso Flagler Heights Community Redevelopment Project. Other public sector initiatives completed by the CRA in collaboration with a variety of public and private sector partners have resulted in over $20 million in public improvements and $350 million in new private-sector development.
The Sistrunk Project has been highly successful to date. The CRA anticipates that it is the beginning of what is anticipated to be a complete and sustained revitalization of the area both physically and economically, with positive long term effects on social fabric of this community and providing a supportive environment for living, shopping and working in the area.
The CRA prefers to take a holistic approach by first establishing a vision for the future and then utilizing sustainable planning principles. These may include neighborhood revitalization and economic development strategies combined with public improvements to attract private investment. City departments have been consolidated and reorganized to group functions into interdisciplinary teams for improved services and to plan and implement smart growth infrastructure, transportation, community and economic development projects.
In general, development activities in the Northwest CRA district have resulted in the creation of over 1,140 new housing units over the last three years providing the full range of housing opportunities and choices. This includes over 980 affordable low, medium and high-density new units and over 460 market rate units.
New development projects have been constructed on in-fill sites utilizing existing infrastructure and right-of ways. This approach has increased the overall efficiency of the existing water infrastructure and energy sources. Over 400 housing units have been developed on a designated Brownfield site while an additional 177 housing units were developed on land previously used for industrial purposes.
New open space has also been created with the development of the 1.25-acre Flagler Park, the Flagler Greenway and the new pocket park at the Northwest Gardens I housing project.
Distinctive architecture is also a part of the redevelopment program. The CRA funded facade renovations along the Sistrunk corridor, which have included the convergence of public and private sector developments to create a strong sense of place that did not previously exist.
The redevelopment area is also attracting a variety of developers and entrepreneurs as development decisions are more predictable, quicker and cost effective through zoning amendments and financial incentives. City and CRA staff members work collaboratively to facilitate new quality development projects, encourage creative project designs and promote density to support a mix of uses, walkability and public transit.
residents and existing businesses in the area are also involved. These two groups provided input into the site planning, building design and recommendations of CRA funding for projects. Stakeholder input has been important to the planning and implementation process, and has strengthened the community and created a sense of accomplishment.
2012 City of Dania Beach City Center and Solar Lighting Project
Marianne Winfield, Executive Director of Smart Growth Partnership, presented two 2012 Southeast Florida Awards for Smart Growth Excellence to the City of Dania Beach at their bi-monthly City Commission meeting held on September 25, 2012.
The first award was granted in the "Smart Growth and Green Building" category for the Dania Beach City Center Project. This center includes the Broward County Library, which received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold rating for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings from the U.S. Green Building Council. The library is connected, via an outdoor public plaza, to a "green" municipal garage. The garage was made with recycled construction materials and also catches rainwater for on-site landscaping. It holds four electric vehicle charging stations, parking for hybrid vehicles and bicycle racks.
Dania Beach's second award was given in the "Community Assets" category to the Dania Beach City Solar Lighting Project. This project was undertaken after the city conducted their Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) study that indicated a need for additional street lighting in many of the city's neighborhoods to help deter crime. The city selected energy-efficient light fixtures with an integrated, top-of-pole mounted solar power module that capture the sun's energy. These fixtures, which use LED bulbs, are virtually maintenance-free and have nearly limitless life expectancy.
2012 - Northwest Gardens Project Receives Smart Growth Excellence Award
The Northwest Gardens project is the recipient of the 2012 Smart Growth Excellence Award. Northwest Gardens is a community within Fort Lauderdale that for many decades had been plagued by high crime, unemployment, poverty and a lack of adequate infrastructure. Through a joint project undertaken by the Carlisle Development Group and the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale the area was revitalized through the adoption of Smart Growth Principles that resulted in economic, social and community improvements.
Northwest Gardens is now one of South Florida's most outstanding models of sustainable neighborhood development. The project reflects the key principles of Smart Growth which encourages compact development in existing urbanized areas, promotes services and proximity close to residential areas, provides alternative transportation options and ensures access to recreation areas and community resources.
The Smart Growth Excellence Award was presented to Executive Director and CEO, Tam English, and Director of Development & Facilities, Scott Strawbridge, of the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale during the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors® and Smart Growth Partnership South Florida 20/20 event held on September 21, 2012 at Nova Southeastern University.
2011 - City of Dania Beach Presented Smart Growth Partnership Award
At the Commission meeting last week a proud moment ensued for city commissioners and CRA Executive Director Jeremy Earle. The Smart Growth Partnership presented the first South Florida award to the City of Dania Beach. This prestigious award salutes sustainability with planned comprehensive growth enabling cities to meet the needs of its citizens.
The Smart Growth Partnership consists of citizens, professionals, and representatives from many organizations who believe growth can be better planned to give cities livable communities. Gloria Katz, Founder, Smart Growth Partnership , stated that the “City of Dania Beach is a wonderful example of what can be done if elected officials and its staff work together to make this happen”. Providing a range of housing, transportation, and energy awareness, while creating open spaces, a smart growth city encompasses the development of local communities enabling their residents to maximize full potential.
While presenting the award last week, Marianne Winfield, Executive Director, Smart Growth Partnership lauded Jeremy Earle as a visionary. “The ability of people who understand the goals and their vision to initiate changes” makes them pioneers in the Smart Growth movement. The City of Dania Beach is fortunate to have leaders who fulfill this vision.
2010 - South Andrews Avenue Master Plan
The South Andrews Avenue Master Plan has been developed with Smart Growth Principles in mind. The first principle is to “provide a range of housing opportunities and choices.” One aspect of the master plan is to provide a variety of medium density housing types, ranging from live/work studios, loft style apartments, to luxurious townhomes. The master plan proposes approximately 1500 dwelling units in 1.65 million square feet of residential construction.
Principle two is to “increase efficiency of utilizing water and energy sources.” This plan will be able to increase efficiency through the redevelopment of the existing South Andrews Avenue corridor. Higher density development along the avenue will benefit from previously existing utility sources.
Principle three is to “preserve and create open space.” Since this plan will be redeveloping an already developed corridor, existing open spaces will be maintained throughout the area. New elements such as flare-outs will be integrated into street corners to provide additional safety as well as landscape buffers throughout the area.
Principle four is to “create distinctive buildings and neighborhoods with a strong sense of place.” This plan has grouped the avenue into four sub-areas with their own distinctive character; the natural curve of the avenue also provides a strong sense of place. The Central Plaza and adjoining hotel would create a focal point for the area.
Principle five is to “promote mixed land used serviced by a variety of transportation.” The redevelopment of the avenue will be characterized as a mixed-use neighborhood with low to mid rise buildings. There will be a variety of transportation choices including the new Wave Transit line as well as vehicular parking located behind the new buildings.
Principle six is to “make development decisions more predictable, quicker and cost effective.” Once implemented, new zoning laws would allow for residential mixed-use buildings to be built in the area; currently, units would need to come from flexibility zones in order to add residential dwellings around South Andrews Avenue.
Principle seven is to “create walkable sites, neighborhoods and community designs.” Landscape and pedestrian amenities will be significantly improved; this will generally make the street environment more inviting to pedestrians.
Principle eight is to “encourage community and stakeholder collaboration.” The public was involved throughout the design process. The City began the process with stakeholder interviews; this was followed by a week long community charrette.
Principle nine is to “promote regional collaboration.” A potential multi-modal transit station could be built near Broward General Hospital, which would provide widespread access to the community.-
Principle ten is to “strengthen and direct development towards existing communities.” This master plan will redevelop the existing community, which will tie into the new residential development along South Andrews Avenue as a walkable, pedestrian friendly community.
Principle eleven is to “take advantage of compact building design.” The redevelopment will require higher density, multi-story buildings and low setbacks to encourage compact buildings. Parking should also be behind the buildings, structured and shared parking for mixed-use buildings is encouraged.