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Understanding The Often-Complex Development Rules

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

May 31, 2023

Recently our neighbors at Towers of Oceanview received a notice of a Community Meeting for a development taking place in Hollywood at the Diplomat Planned Development area. I was made aware of the meeting from the condominium president of the master association. At that time, I explained that the city nor I received the notice probably since it was a site plan meeting, not a land use meeting.

The Diplomat Hotel was developed in early 2000. The beach and golf course at that time was purchased with money from the Pipefitter Pension Fund. The golf course property is in Hallandale Beach with some of the course in Hollywood. During the approvals in Hallandale Beach, we charged part of the land use from Commercial Recreational to a dash line hotel site to accommodate the Hotel, Conference Center, Spa, Tennis Center and Marina. The original site did have a hotel and golf course but was spread out not condensed into a small footprint.

The total course was redone and upgraded. The hotel that is currently on the course was built. Units on Diplomat Parkway and along the water were torn down and the marina was added. Where the new Slate tower was added was always a separate parcel that was incorporated into the course to expand the golf holes.

On the Hollywood side, everything was torn down and the Hotel was built with the parking garages across the street. This whole area was established as an entire development site with specific entitlements. At the writing of this article, I had yet to get the old records so for the sake of explanation I will call it a Local Activity Center. It may be a Planned Development District. Entitlements are what the developer can build on the land. It can be Commercial, Hotel, Hotel/Condo or Residential Condominium. The use is applied and then there are approvals for the number of units, types, and square footage of the commercial property.

Once these rights are granted by the local authority, they cannot be taken away without the owner’s agreement. They by right are entitled. If a local planning agency attempts to reduce those rights, the owner has what is called a Bert J. Harris, Jr. Act and they can sue the government.

Large scale plans like the Diplomat go through a rigorous approval process. First the city must review applications to be consistent with their Comprehensive Plan. Comprehensive Plans address all impacts of Water, Wastewater, Traffic, Transportation, Environmental, School, Housing, and other levels of services. If they cannot not meet these requirements they are either amended or not recommended by staff. Then the LPA holds hearings. It goes to multiple public hearings. In our case, we first require a community meeting then advisory board meeting then a commission hearing.

After the first round of public hearings at the LPA level, the applications go to Broward County, South Florida Regional Planning Council then the state for review. It comes back and then finally adopted at two final hearings. Once these PDD’s or LAC’s are approved, the developer has rights to build. It then goes to site planning. The area can be built all at once or in phases. Each phase must go through site planning.

These areas can be modified. In the case of the Diplomat Hotel back in 2019, Hollywood amended the land use. At this point in time, I am not certain if they simply changed the mix or amount of hotel-to-Hotel Condo and/or residential. The change was approved and went through the legal process and now the residential units are in front of the Hollywood LPA and Commission for approval.

Our city requirement is different than it is with the city of Hollywood. Years ago when I was first elected, I had to learn all about the process. In doing so, I learned quickly that the most important component of the process was public notice and communication. I pushed to adopt the “Citizens Bill Of Rights” for land use. It expanded the notification process for all public hearings and added the community meeting component. Our distance for public notice for land use expanded to a mile. Zoning and Site changes also were expanded for 500 feet to 1,000 feet.

In the case of the Diplomat, Hollywood was not required to notify our city or our commission. Adjacent property owners within 500 feet from a site plan is why only Towers of Oceanview, were the ones that were aware of the meeting. Our City Staff has been in touch with Hollywood. At this point, there will be a public meeting and if not two, I will keep our residents informed.

There are two events coming up! This Saturday we will open Sunrise Park on June 3rd, 2023 at 10:00 am. Come out and join us at 416 Northeast 8th Avenue, Hallandale Beach, Florida 33009.

Also, on Tuesday, June 6th, 2023, I will be delivering the State of the City Address at Gulfstream Park at 12:00 p.m. in the Flamingo Room. For more information, you can visit the Hallandale Chamber of Commerce at:

As always, I am available for your questions, concerns, and ideas to help make our City a better place. Please feel free to reach out to me at my office at: (954) 457-1318. On my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. Or email at:

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