Neighborhood Inequities: Gaps in the Wall
February 6, 2007, 1:37 PM
Filed under: Neighborhoods

February 6, 2007

Back in April 2006, the Balance Sheet reported that the two Emerald Hills residents then on the Hollywood City Commission (the Mayor and Commissioner Keith Wasserstrom) successfully pushed a capital improvement project in their district to the head of the line: $600,000 for a wall for the Lakes of Emerald Hills.  And the Commission voted to borrow the money for this project in response to highly effective advocacy on the part of the neighborhood.

The Mayor and Commissioner Wasserstrom had tried to get funding for this wall included in the general obligation bond but could not overcome opposition from the city’s bond counsel.  The wall was explained as essential for safety and a sound barrier because of the increased proximity of the Tri-Rail tracks caused by the double tracking project. The proposed wall was not included in the City’s five-year capital plan — as is required of all the other capital improvement projects that have awaited available funding for years.

Now, there is a complication that calls into question the very justification for building the wall. At the time the City Commission approved spending the extra money for the wall, a continuous 1900-foot wall was contemplated. But now, some of the affected property owners are refusing to grant easements for the wall. This means that “there may be a gap in the wall system that will extend across one, two or three adjacent single family residential parcels.”

Due to this potential gap, community residents are seeking additional easements from property owners to the south but it is not clear that the city will be able to obtain these easements either.

The matter is on the City Commission agenda this week for clarification. Two questions come to mind:

Is funding a sound barrier-safety wall with multiple gaps a good use of city money?

Now that District 4 does not have a commissioner, would it not be better to postpone this agenda item until after the February 13 election when Emerald Hills will again be fully represented?

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