Regional panel studying impact of Gulfstream project
By Deserae del Campo
A regional planning board is conducting a Development of Regional Impact review of Gulfstream Park, where a rebuilt horse-racing facility and mixed-use project will affect traffic in Hallandale Beach and surrounding areas.
The South Florida Regional Planning Council is a regional government agency serving Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties, including their 72 municipalities and 4 million residents. By state statute, the council must conduct the review as an advisory to the City of Hallandale and other entities affected by the projects.
The projects are being studied for issues that can affect the environment, transportation and roads, emergency preparedness, urban-infill human services and wastewater in surrounding areas.
The review process, said Carolyn Dekle, executive director of the council, "brings together public and private stakeholders to discuss the potential impacts, both positive and negative, of large regional projects."
Once the review is completed - in nine months to a year, according to Ms. Dekle - the council will submit an impact-assessment report to Hallandale officials.
"The impact-assessment report contains recommendations to the local government - in this case, the City of Hallandale Beach - regarding steps they should take to ensure that any potentially negative impacts of the proposed development are appropriately addressed if they choose to issue a development order," said John Hulsey, senior planner for the council. "A typical DRI impact-assessment report may include 40 or more conditions to a development."
The Gulfstream project entails an urban village with 1,500 residential units, 900,000 to 1 million square feet of retail, 200,000 square feet of office space and a multi-screen movie theater.
Cities that could be affected by the development include Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Aventura, Mr. Hulsey said.
The developer of the project, Magna Entertainment Corp., paid a $75,000 fee for the impact study. The track project is scheduled for completion next year.
"Right now, the council is collecting information from the developer and other stakeholders to develop a better understanding of the project's potential impacts as currently proposed," Ms. Dekle said.
The council was formed in 1969 as the Tri-County Jetport Planning Council to address issues surrounding the proposed development of the Everglades Jetport in Big Cypress. The council was renamed in 1971.
The council's mission is to "identify long-term challenges and opportunities facing Southeast Florida and assist the region's leaders in developing and implementing creative strategies that result in more prosperous and equitable communities, a healthier and cleaner environment and a more vibrant economy," said Isabel Cosio Carbillo, regional coordinator.
"The council tries not to specialize in one specific thing but to have a broad understanding of critical issues such as transportation and housing affordability and the long-term trends, conditions and opportunities facing our region," said Ms. Dekle. "The Strategic Regional Policy Plan contains 22 goals that reflect the priority issues of the region over the next 25 years. We work hard to enhance our region and try to make it better."