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Fort Lauderdale Denies Plat Change Necessary
 For Developers to Build a Value Place Hotel
By Brittany Wallman, South Florida Sun-SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

September 18, 2008 - FORT LAUDERDALE -- Plans for a Value Place hotel at Riverland Road and State Road 7 were stymied when city commissioners voted unanimously to deny a plat change necessary for the development.

A dejected Sovereign Development Group IX Inc. left in defeat Tuesday night, while some in the community erupted in applause.

Neighbors had expressed concern the hotel would be more like an apartment, offering only weekly rentals and attracting transients.

"Is this a hotel, or is it not?" asked Commissioner Carlton Moore.

Though hotel officials said they'd offer nightly rates to meet the city's definition of a true hotel, commissioners didn't buy it.

The developer's attorney, Beth-Ann Krimsky, said details about the hotel's operation were irrelevant at Tuesday's hearing. The city was voting on platting of the land, a preliminary hurdle on the road to development.

The city's Planning and Zoning Board also had unanimously rejected the application.

In other action, Fort Lauderdale commissioners Tuesday:

--Gave final approval to a $602.1 million budget that includes an increase in the fire fee paid by property owners from $94 to $135, and a slight increase in the tax rate to about $4.25 for every $1,000 of taxable value. The tax rate will cut property tax revenue to the city 2.5 percent and reduce most property tax bills.

--Gave final approval to a 5 percent increase in water sewer rates and a 5 percent increase in storm water rates.

--Settled for $60,000 the workers compensation case of Elgin Jones, a former city employee who is now a journalist for the South Florida Times. Jones injured his knee while working for the city.

--Settled for $60,000 a lawsuit filed by Jessica Jones, who was hit by a police car responding to an emergency in April 2006. Her car was totaled and her arm fractured, requiring surgery.

--Voted, 3-2, against holding a hearing on a shed built at Lauderdale Marine Center at 1601 SW 20th St. That means the shed's approval stands.

--Approved a pollworker agreement with the county elections supervisor for city elections Feb. 10 and March 10.

--Were told that the city after 4 1/2 years of effort obtained a 20-year permit to draw water from underground aquifers, from the South Florida Water Management District.

Brittany Wallman can be reached at bwallman@sunsentinel.com or 954-356-4541.

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To see more of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.sun-sentinel.com/.

Copyright (c) 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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