On A Mission: It Has Been A Struggle To Get A Slow Speed Zone On The Intracoastal Waterway in Hallandale Beach

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

April 14, 2022

For over twenty-five years the Golden Isles Safe Neighborhood, Hallandale Beach Marine Advisory Board and the Golden Isles Homeowners Association have been struggling to get a slow speed zone on the Intracoastal Waterway in Hallandale Beach. This small stretch was never addressed years ago when they began to focus on speeding all along Broward waterways. Those of us that have lived here over the years remember the multiple times we attempted.

I along with the HOA request that we establish a Marine Advisory Board. One of our neighbors Mr Barry Webber, Esq. was already serving on the Broward Marine Advisory Board and had knowledge and insight into the process and grant opportunities. I championed boating and speeding issues on the commission level to establish a Marine Patrol and apply for a Slow Speed Zone. The finding was put in the budget every year and I had to fight to keep it. Finally, I had three likeminded commissioners that agreed we would make the zone a permanent zone, but it is not 24/7. Our patrol focuses on weekends and holidays. The officers are specifically trained for this duty.

A few years have passed and we tried again to get the speed reduced. Our main obstacle was Broward County, without their blessing the State Fish and Wildlife would not even consider an amendment. Many Broward County Advisory Board members, including their executive, would not support it. Many boaters despise the slow speed because it takes longer to get from home to ocean inlets. Personal watercraft owners are not fans either. I even spoke with the boat industry leaders that did not weigh in. My argument with them was all the empty boat slips that should be filled but people would not consider them.

Along the stretch many homes could not even safely have a boat and if they did it was extremely dangerous getting on and off. The Condominiums on A1A that had docks also suffered the same fate. Many of their docks were vacant. Some installed lifts over the last few years. During King Tides properties would witness waves crashing over the seawalls from all the waves created from speeding boats.

I reported the news a few months ago that Bradley Weitz, Esq. Barry Webber, Esq., and other residents rekindled the interest to establish the zone. They created Slow HB Facebook and rallied residents to get involved. Mr Weitz is owner of the two point properties on Palm that are surrounded by water. He invested in line-of-sight surveys to show how dangerous ingress and egress is into the ICW.

The group worked with our marine patrol to crack down on the excessive amount of speeding boaters. Due to covid and everyone boating the number of tickets combined with the surveys created a compelling argument for regulation. The group resubmitted the application with support of our Hallandale Beach Commission and the Broward County Commission. The Slow Speed/Minimum Wake Zone application was approved at the FWC meeting in Bonita Springs. There was a 21-day publication period for other parties to challenge it. There was not a one. Mr. Weitz noted when this occurred, the head of FWC‘s Boating Section, Major Rob Beaton, personally congratulated the group and said that our 150-page application is the new ‘gold standard’ for future cities to follow.

At that time due to supply shortages and staffing shortages it took time to get the signs installed on the ICW. I am happy to report that they are being installed now.
I want to thank Slow HB team and our staff that worked tirelessly to make sure this much needed safety improvement was implemented.

I am proud to announce and invite our readers to attend my State of the City Address that is being presented by the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce at Gulfstream Park on May 4th at 12 PM. Reservations are required. Thank you to Gulfstream Park for being the Tile Sponsor and hosting lunch in the Flamingo Room. The lunch is $30 for members and $40 for non-members. I send a big Thank you also to the additional sponsors; Realtors Broward, Palm Beach and St Lucie, Memorial Healthcare System, Shutts and Hallandale Beach. Please contact the chamber at 954-454-0514 or visit their website Hallandalebeachchamber.org or email them at info@hallandalebaechchmber.org for more assistance.

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