Safe Neighborhood Districts: What Are They & How They Are Being Changed
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
September 7, 2023
Golden Isles Safe Neighborhood District is a special taxing district that was established in the 80’s. The neighborhood of single-family homes along the finger canals was established in 1957 by a visionary Herbert “Pappy” Layne. Mr. Layne created the neighborhood by reclaiming marshlands and establishing the Seawall System.
Unlike private planned developments we see today Golden Isles was created by selling individual green vacant lots. Parcels were sold to individual owners and homes were built or lots remained vacant as investment properties. Today our roads are still public roadways. Infrastructure was put in such as Water, Wastewater, Storm Drains and still remains City Responsibility.
Back in the 1980’s Mr. David Markowitz and a group of like-minded individuals united and started what is now called the Golden Isles Homeowners Association. This organization was focused on security. They went about encouraging people to join and donate with the hopes of building a guardhouse and adding security.
Obviously this organization was not mandatory, and some people were paying, and some people were not. Mr. Markowitz and the HOA wanted to maintain operations, so he united with Sonny Rosenberg a former Mayor and Commissioner to request the State Legislators develop as part of Chapter 163 the Safe Neighborhood District Rules and Regulations. This became the model for many Safe Neighborhood Districts including the Three-Island Safe Neighborhood District. These SND’s pay a Separate Tax for an added layer of security.
Over the past years before the COVID-19 Pandemic both SNDs embarked on updating their Corporate Documents, District Plans and most importantly Neighborhood Improvement Plans. Golden Isles still has the Golden Isles Homeowners Association, so they worked hand in hand with the Safe Neighborhood Advisory Board to develop a plan. The District hired the engineering firm Stantec to create a blueprint for the neighborhood.
Over the past months Stantec met numerous times with the board's residents and Staff to develop high level designs to what I call “complete streets.” Golden Isles had Infrastructure, but we never had lighting or sidewalks and other amenities that planned communities have.
During August these plans were presented to the Golden Isles Safe Neighborhood District Board of Directors. The City Commission sits as the Board for both Districts in the City. The plan was unanimously adopted by the Board. It includes reconfiguration of Layne Boulevard starting at Egret Drive to incorporate a unique design. Rather than traditional sidewalks on each side an extra wide center walking path that will go from the guard house to Holiday Drive.
The new design will provide an undated refurbishment of the guardhouses and a split entrance after the guard house for residents. One will lead to condominiums on the west side of the District and the other to single-family homes. The split road will help with safety for condominium parking which is back out. There will be an extra-large multi use path lined by trees. All owners will exit at the south end of Layne and Holiday. The design also incorporates lighting features, additional curbing, bridge lighting and upgrades.
During the meeting I suggested rather than simply focusing on Layne Boulevard we incorporate the entire design package and move forward with the next level of design. I also discussed preserving the drainage systems and looking at making sure they were connected via flat curbing that mimics a sidewalk. There was a discussion by Stantec that every property owner needs to understand the right of way in front of properties owned by the City.
I asked for an amendment to the motion to approve to make sure it included that we look to partner with the city since the Infrastructure is not solely that of the Safe Neighborhood District. All funding mechanisms need to be on the table and the cost for these upgrades should not solely be with the District Taxpayers.
The next step will be looking to see if we need to go out for an RFP for costs and estimations since Stantec has already been hired to do this blueprint. Staff will research what is legally needed. If we have to go out for a new RFP or Design Build RFP the process does take time. State Laws govern City projects, and this process is not something that happens overnight. To get cost estimates and go through the RFP process for them will take a minimum of six months.
On a personal note, I would like to thank all the volunteers and the residents that worked on this plan. As a resident of the neighborhood, I too have been waiting for years to see that this comes to fruition. Thankfully we have all united for the betterment of our neighborhood. The same need to share that the same process was undertaken with the Three Islands SND. Their plans were put on hold and then the pandemic struct. We look forward to working with their district on their next steps.
As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns, and ideas to make our City a better place. I am available at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or at: email@example.com. On my Office number at: (954) 457-1318. Or my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. You can always visit my Facebook and follow me at Mayor Joy Cooper. You can always visit my Facebook and follow me at Mayor Joy Cooper.