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April 6, 2014

Hearing set on plan to narrow Hillsboro Boulevard

A proposal to narrow Hillsboro Boulevard between Northeast Second Avenue and Northeast Ninth Avenue is up for discussion by Deerfield Beach next month.
The city is submitting an application to the state to remove a lane in each direction, and replace it with a landscaped median. “The intent of this project is to improve pedestrian, bicyclist and automotive safety in this corridor,” the city said in its announcement, “while also enhancing the aesthetics and creating a comfortable, enjoyable atmosphere…”
The project has been inspired by the Florida Department of Transportation’s plan to resurface the corridor in 2016, a project that can include the proposed design if the lane elimination is approved by FDOT.
On April 8, the city will host a public workshop to discuss options to redesigning in a section running roughly between the post office and just east of Deerfield Beach Elementary School. The workshop will begin at 7:30 PM in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 150 N.E. Second Avenue. The public is invited to offer ideas about what would be desirable in the way of wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes, transit shelters and such.
For information, contact the Planning & Development Services Department at 954-480-4206 or web.planning@deerfield-beach.com.

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March 28, 2014

Donuts and prospect of children brighten new commissoner's first meeting

A bright moment from the March 25 Lighthouse Point city commission meeting, the first since Kyle Van Buskirk bested Tom Hasis: The father of four and the incumbent were bidding for a seat formerly held by Glenn Troast, who was elected mayor by acclaim when incumbent Mayor Fred Schorr decided not to run for a fifth term.
The meeting convened without much discussion of the changeover. At the end, however, Commissioner Mike Long took a moment to acknowledge Van Buskirk – and his contribution. “I’d like to thank the newest commissioner,” he said, holding up an oversized box of donuts. “He said `What can I bring to the meeting?’ “ Long continued, “And I said, `Doughnuts.’ And he did.
“So if anyone wants to invite everyone up for doughnuts…”
That invitation might be better received on April 22. That’s when commissioners plan to observe “Take your child to Work” day. The holiday was introduced in 1993 as “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” by the Ms. Foundation for Women. The intention of the holiday was to give girls additional insight into work available to them, and increase their self esteem. Since then, it has been expanded to encompasses children of both genders and, on March 18, Lighthouse Point commissioners decided to observe “Bring Our Kids to a commission Meeting” on April 22.
“Can they sit up here,” queried Commissioner Sandy Johnson.
“That would be a nice photo op,” Long replied.
“I am in favor of anything that gets more fo the public interested in meetings,” said Commission President Earl Maucker.
“I would invite other people to bring their kids to see the social studies aspect of this,” Van Buskirk chimed in, adding. “Tell people our meetings are short; our meetings are easy; our meetings are light-hearted – but we do a lot of things here.”
Some times with donuts.

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March 26, 2014

LHP dance school wins nod to open in larger site

Gone were the little girls in leotards who turned out earlier this month to support their teacher’s campaign to open a larger dance studio. . On March 25, when Lighthouse Point city commissioners signed off on RealDance Studio’s application to open at 1827 N.E. 25th St., only the owner was there to witness the unanimous vote that discounted the many precautions cited prior to the first approval two weeks ago.
In fact, only Commissioner Mike Long hinted at the veritable consensus that traffic was going to be a problem. “There is a consensus that there is a need to restripe 25th from Federal Highway to 19th,” he said.
Two weeks ago, it seemed that almost all on the city side of the application agreed that it wasn’t a good idea at all. In its review of the plan, Lighthouse Point’s planning and zoning board had observed that zoning does not permit a dance school and that the buildings do not conform to current codes, according to the minutes of the meeting. At that same meeting, however, a former city commissioner, Lynn Spinella Pagans, also a patron of the studio and the mother of a student, had pointed out that the applicant is a resident and business owner.
Planning and zoning board members handed the issue off to the city commission and the city discounted numerous warnings by its own police chief, Ross Licata. According to the minutes, Licata had cautioned that parking for the school would be moved from an area with a speed limit of 5 mph to a street which has a speed limit of 25 mph. Moreover, he said, cars would have to back out into a street where the speed limit was 25 m.p.h. and the facility was short parking spaces.
Traf Tech Engineering and planning consultant Robert Collins had concurred. The former reviewed traffic counts before and after classes and concluded the facility’s parking situation was problematic while the latter estimated the school would require 13 more spaces.
The only mention of that Tuesday night was Long’s comment about striping. City Administrator John Lavisky assured him that the striping issue would need to be studied by planning and zoning again, and be addressed at a later time.

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Boy Scouts prepare for annual pasta dinner fundraiser

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Cooper Metzger (left) and brother Charlie Metzger, dig into the pasta dinner last year. The dinner is Troop
119's annual fundraiser.

If eating homemade pasta for a good cause sounds like justification for hanging up the old apron, circle April 5 on the calendar and head out to St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Deerfield Beach.
There, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the rectory hall will be lined with long tables with red tablecloths, and with dozens of boy scouts in beige-and-green uniforms. That’s because it is the evening of Troop 119’s Annual Pasta Dinner and Auction, a gala affair with raffles, an auction and that homemade pasta.
The $5 ticket price includes pasta, salad, dessert and a beverage. Children younger than 5 are free and tickets are available at the door.
“We rely solely on our volunteers and the strength of our community and neighbors,” explained Ronelle Kruger, Chairman of Scout Troop 119 Pasta Dinner. “Money raised from this dinner will help our scouts attend campouts, jamborees and summer camp.”
Scoutmaster Rode Kirk is accepting donations for the raffles, and area businesses also have donated items.
For information, tickets, or to donate items for the raffle, call Rode Kirk, 954-629-8304.

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March 25, 2014

Second hearing tonight on parking issues and dance school's request

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Loredana Pagans, 8, confers with her mother, Lynn Pagens, as she and other dance school students await a commission ruling on the proposal to move to a larger facility.

They came in hair bows and tights, supportive moms in tow, to shore up the petition of their teacher and their dance school. When the commission voted to allow a children’s dance school across from the Beacon Light Shopping Center in Lighthouse Point, the rare sound of children cheering brought the Lighthouse Point commission meeting to a halt.
Whereupon City Attorney Michael Cirullo injected a note of caution. “I hate to be a Debbie Downer,” he said, “but this requires two commission votes.”
There could be a rethinking of the proposal by the final hearing on March 25.
The school had asked for special dispensation to open what is described as three classrooms accommodating as many as 48 students simultaneously at 1827 N.E. 25th St.
The planning and zoning board had recognized that zoning does not permit it and that the buildings do not conform to current codes, according to the minutes of the meeting. At that same meeting, however, a former commissioner, patron and mother, Lynn Spinella Pagans, had pointed out that the applicant is a resident and business owner and the planning and zoning board passed it on to the city commission to decide.
The city’s own police chief, Ross Licata, had cautioned at the planning and zoning meeting that parking for the school would be moved from an area with a speed limit of 5 mph to a street which has a speed limit of 25 mph, according to the minutes, affecting as many as 48 students at a time . Moreover, he said, cars would have to back out into a street where the speed limit was 25 mph. And, he said, the facility was short parking spaces.
Traf Tech Engineering concurred. The company reviewed traffic counts before and after classes and concluded the facility’s parking situation was problematic while Planning Consultant Robert Collins of Michael Miller Planning Associates, estimated the school would require 13 more spaces.
With Tuesday’s commission approval, the measure goes to a second and final hearing at 7 p.m. on March 25.

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About the Reporter

ELIZABETH ROBERTSELIZABETH ROBERTS
Elizabeth Roberts has covered Deerfield Beach, Lighthouse Point and Hillsboro... < More >

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