Hallandale Beach Updates: Hemispheres Condo Update, Beach Cleaning & Condo Law Changes

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

June 30, 2022

After a long 9 days, the Air Conditioning was finally back on at the Hemispheres Condo on Sunday. The final fix is still ongoing. The Staff at The Hemispheres Condo, the City Staff and FPL are working on plans to redo the Electrical Panels and Access. During this time they will be running Heavy Diesel Generators to supply enough power to the Plant Pumping Stations to keep the Air Conditioning running. While this is not ideal due to the exhaust and the noise, it is necessary.

While this Crisis was taking place I received some calls and E-Mails complaining about the Board Of Directors, I still stand that President Yvette Suluco and Board Member Barbara Drabkin along with all of the Staff have worked tirelessly under an Extreme Emergency. They were fully accessible during the entire Event and worked around the clock. I certainly did not want to get into Condo Politics; it was not the time nor the place. My goal is to work to make sure we can address the needs of all of the Residents.

We have been working with the Management to make sure that all of the Permits are submitted correctly. On another note, to date, the Pool Permit is awaiting Shoring Plans from the Contractor. The Window Permits will be final after having the Contractor not addressing Deficient Plans for almost a year, they are mostly finalized. I continue to stress that while we are extremely busy, our Staff needs Contractors to follow the State Regulations and File Complete and Accurate plans. If they do not, it only delays the Process further.

Beach Cleaning
Every once and awhile I get calls about our Beach Cleaning. We clean our beaches daily and I do need to remind Residents that it is still Turtle Nesting Season. Typically, Volunteers go onto our Beach and make sure that any Turtle Nests are found and protected. Then we go and clean. This takes place around 7:00 a.m. and takes 2.0 to 2.5 hours. We drag and bury the Sargassum, this has been our Practice for decades.

Sargassum season is in full effect in Hallandale Beach. The amount of Sargassum that we do find on the area Beaches is Seasonal with much more being present during the Spring and the Summer. When visiting the beach, please remember, Sargassum is not harmful to people and is a habitat for a lot of animals. Please use caution when crossing the seaweed to access the water. For more information on Sargassum visit www.coHB.org/Sargassum

As it relates to what other Cities do, it is my understanding that the City of Fort Lauderdale drags, picks up and removes the Sargassum. I believe that the City of Hollywood may perform the work in the same manner. In both cases a Vendor is used to perform that work at a considerable expense. I know we were involved in a Pilot Program to Research this Practice. I will be researching this issue further for our Residents.

Our Beach is also much different than Dade-County’s Beaches. We have Hot-Spots that are created by how our Port was designed. The Army Corps Of Engineers has been in the process of addressing this problem and have finally passed Environmental Permitting Concerns. This will help allow sand to flow from the North to the South without scooping inwards to our Beach and pulling the sand out to the Sea.

Condo Law Changes
The new Law that was enacted will now require Condos to set aside Reserves. It was found that typically 50% Percent of Florida Condos do not plan nor set aside Reserves. This may be a hard pill to swallow but in light of the Champlain Towers Tragedy it is absolutely the right thing to do! By 2025 all Condos will be required to have set aside Reserves for Structural Repairs.

For Buildings with Certificates of Occupancy issued prior to July 1st, 1992, the Initial Milestone Inspection is due by December 31st, 2024. The Inspections must Include: Windows, Roof, Load-Bearing Walls or other Primary Structural Members, Floors, Foundation, Fireproofing and Fire Protection Systems, Plumbing, Electrical Systems, Waterproofing and Exterior Painting. In next week's article I will review the new Law, but I encourage every Condo to speak with their Attorneys and to hire Architects and or Engineers to start the Process.

Congressman Charlie Crist and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Introduce Bill To Help with Costs

U.S. Representatives Charlie Crist and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) recently introduced H.R.7532, the Securing Access to Financing for Exterior Repairs (SAFER) in Condos Act. The Bill will make it easier for Condo Owners to afford Special Assessments assigned by expanding access to two Loan Programs guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help cover the cost of Special Assessments for Structural and Safety Related Repairs.

“As Floridians remain focused on Safety and Structural integrity of their Condominiums, more and more Owners are facing Unaffordable Special Assessments. When Associations have to make Critical Repairs to keep Residents Safe, the Special Assessments that fund the Repairs can be a significant financial burden, especially for Seniors on Fixed Incomes and working Floridians,” said Representative Charlie Crist.

I spoke with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz this past weekend and they are working hard to make sure that Congress acts to Amend the Regulations.

The Act Amends the 203(K) Program to allow Loans to be used on Special Assessments for Structural Repairs, expands the Title I Property Improvement Loans Program to insure Private Lenders against losses when lending to Individual Condo Owners or Condo Associations for Special Assessments. It also increases the maximum insured Loan amount to $55,000, to be adjusted with inflation. It also streamlines the process of applying.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by Phone or Text At: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me At: jcooper@cohb.org. Or visit my Facebook & Web-Site At: www.MayorJoyCooper.com.