Parks & Recreation Advisory Board Minutes Meeting of May 6, 2009
Broward County > Parks and Recreation > Get Involved > Parks & Recreation Advisory Board Minutes Meeting of May 6, 2009

7:30 a.m. - T.Y. Park - Hollywood

Members Present: Members Absent: Others Present:
Sharon Kent Bruce Edwards Bob Harbin, Parks & Rec.
Terry Danger Alanna Mersinger Mike Harlan, Parks & Rec.
Marc Kiar Richard Simon Jim Federici Public Works
Stephen Lawson Don Puglisi, Parks & Rec.
Jack Mathison Sarah Perkins, Parks & Rec.
Stephanie Munson Gary Remillet, Parks & Rec.
Quentin Morgan Gayle Preston, Parks & Rec.
Guy Roper Laura Frank, Parks & Rec.
Sheila Rose Lou Metz, Parks & Rec.
Milette Thurston Dick Martorelli, Parks & Rec.
Jack Talabisco Toni Peyton, Parks & Rec.
Shelly Turetzky, Parks & Rec.
John Durasmo, Parks & Rec.
Additional Attendees (PDF 308 KB)

The meeting was called to order by Quentin Morgan, Chair at 7:30 a.m., after which all present recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

New Business

Agenda Item Moved Forward

Quentin Morgan announced the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PAB) was moving the dragon boat issue up to the first item on the agenda, in order to hear from those present. Bob Harbin briefed the PAB about this issue regarding a storage container at West Lake Park on the South side, next to the water tower. Several weeks ago Mr. Harbin discovered that the Blazing Paddles Club (Club) has a storage container on park property in which they store dragon boats, which is primarily for their convenience. Parks concern is twofold; one is the appearance of the container in an environmental setting and the other is the precedent that this may set storing equipment in Broward County parks. Staff issued a Specific Use Permit (SUP) to the Club improperly and without the knowledge of the Director. As a result the Club was given 30 days to remove the container from West Lake Park. Sharon Kent asked how long this SUP was for. Mr. Harbin advised that the SUP is for one year and at the end of May will make seven months the container has been stored there.

Mr. Morgan asked to hear from the Club‘s selected speaker. Any others that wish to speak after that are welcome to do so.

Kristin Deffler: A member of the Club and gave the history of attaining permission and placing the storage container at the Park. She also presented the Club’s position on allowing the container to remain at West Lake Park.

Quentin Morgan: Is the club is incorporated? Ms. Deffler stated they are not. Who owns the boat? Synergy Outdoor Adventure Resources (SOAR)-Will Murphy owns the boats.

Sharon Kent: Did the Club provide a certificate of insurance for the general public riding in the boats? Tony Peyton advised they provided general liability insurance, she would have to review the insurance regarding the public. Ms. Kent asked if they were issued a permit. Mr. Harbin stated they were issued a SUP, which is primarily for an event or a short-term use, not long-term or year. Any long-term agreement of that nature would have to go before the Commission.

Mr. Harbin: What is the reason the boat cannot be put on a trailer and stored, then trailered to locations?

Kim Bonomo: President and Captain of the Miami Save Our Sisters (SOS) explained the organization and the benefits of dragon boating to them.

Nancy Gates: Founder and past President of the Competitive Paddlers Association, came as a representative of the dragon boat sport.

Quentin Morgan: The PAB understands the value of the sport and the Club and your comments are well taken; however, we need to move forward with this issue which is the storage container.

Sharon Kent: Regarding the corporate team-building sessions, is there a charge? Also, does the owner of the boat charge members or guests to use the boat? Will Murphy answered that the team-building sessions are given away at charity auctions and members are charged club dues to help defray costs, there is no net revenue.

Guy Roper: Commented that he and Commissioner Gunzburger fought to keep motorized boats out of West Lake and this type of boat and kayaks were the only vessels allowed in this Park.

Sheila Rose: Has there been any discussion regarding a lease? Mr. Harbin: I would not recommend a lease due to the potential of another club wanting to do the same thing. This was brought to my attention from a patron complaining of the container.

Ms. Rose: Whether staff recommends or not, the appropriate venue would be to negotiate a lease.

Mr. Harbin: That is correct and then it would go before the Commission.

Stephanie Munson: How are the boats moved from the container and how many people does that take.

Will Murphy: About 8-10 people to lift and put on a cart to wheel it to the water. If it were on a trailer, it would take the same amount of people? Yes.

Quentin Morgan: Where did you keep the boats prior to keeping them at Broward County parks?

Will Murphy: They were in a privately owned building and it is in foreclosure.

Stephen Lawson: I can’t get by the point of how to address other patron’s requests of storing their items.

Kristin Deffler: We have been told no by other parks because they already have something in place and that is fine. It should be first come, first served, based on a limited amount of space.

Jack Mathison: The City of Hollywood has similar circumstances. The storage container is unpleasant to look at, I am sure the Club would take measures to mask it or put landscaping around it.

Gary Bailey: Not a club member, but a spectator and supporter of the sport. It seems that the patron that has complained has another agenda.

Marc Kiar: I am a boater too and also require assistance to launch my boat. Not 10 people, but as such, that is something that I have to deal with.

Kristin Deffler replied that they practice three times a week after work, therefore it would not be feasible for them to get that accomplished if it were located off site. Additionally, they do not have a place to put the container.

Sheila Rose: Why can’t it just stay on a trailer like other boats?

Kristin Deffler answered that they don’t always have a driver for the trailer and since it is oversized, they run the risk of getting ticketed due to parking complications.

Dr. Raul Fernandez: On the Executive Board of the United States Dragon Boat Federation. I want the members to be aware that the Federation is taking note of what is happening here and the precedent that is being set.

Stephen Lawson: Is it possible to put the boat on racks rather than in a container as an alternative solution?

Kristen Deffler explained the boats are very heavy it would be difficult to lift off a rack.

Jack Talabisco: Is there any other place in the Broward park system for Dragon boats.

Kristin Deffler personally called around Broward County and West Lake Park was the first to allow them and it is best suited for the boats.

Will Murphy: I am one of the founders of Blazing Paddles and we are the only dragon boat team in Broward County. There are several ways we can change or improve what we are doing. The storage container could be painted so that it is camouflaged and have landscaping around it. One spot in the park may be better suited, which is to the south, southeast of where the container is now. There is a service road that is about 100 feet long and dead ends. Someone would have to work very hard in order to locate the container in that area. I propose that the Park honor that permit and at the same time support us in going to the Board of County Commissioners to arrange a lease.

Terry Danger: I am avid canoer in and support of the program and I believe our County Commissioners would be supportive of the program as well. I would not like to see that program end.

Sheila Rose: I would like to understand more about the organization, I am concerned that the boats are owned by private party as opposed to being owned by a non-profit group.

Will Murphy: Blazing Paddles is not incorporated, SOAR is incorporated and set up as for-profit.

Sheila Rose: I suggest that should be changed, making the organization not-for-profit.

Jeremy Barnes: Belong to Fit To Be Green Organization. Here in support of Blazing Paddles and plan to incorporate the club in part of their curriculum.

Sharon Kent: The true issue at this time is whether to honor the SUP at this time.

Guy Roper: I would like to make a motion that the staff honors the SUP through September and that the County Commission take up the issue and decide what the future of the program will be.

Jack Mathison: An amendment to the motion; have County staff honor the agreement through September and that County staff negotiate an agreement with an established Not-For-Profit Organization created by the rowing club. They would place a code compliant structure at their expense somewhere in West Lake Park area that is agreeable both to the County and the Club.

Quentin Morgan: I do not believe that this type of use is lawfully permitted by the Parks Division or Broward County government. There is no mechanism for the Club to have a valid permit in order to use a storage facility where it currently is. The permit was issued in error and does not have to be honored by the County, once the error was discovered. The Club has been issued a 30 day notice to remove the storage container. The PAB should recommend staff advise the County Commission to place on their agenda the opportunity to discuss this type of use of the park system. Currently, I do not believe it is allowable to place a facility of this type, for that length of time. In the meantime, PAB should recommend that the permit is honored until such time that the Commission has made a decision. If the County Commission decides to allow that type of use, then they should be allowed to come back into the fold and go through the proper channels to attain that space, as well as anyone else in the community, that would like to apply for or receive a permit to utilize that space.

Sheila Rose: Are you suggesting that the County staff put on the Commission agenda short-term lease that would run between now and the end of September?

Quentin Morgan: No. First the County has to decide whether or not it will allow this type of use.

Sheila Rose: First they have to have a vehicle to make that decision. The vehicle would be a lease.

Quentin Morgan: They have not had the opportunity to discuss this type of use of the parks for the length of time that this club wants. They need to determine if this is a proper use of Park property.

Bob Harbin: The Commission will want the benefit of the PAB recommendation regarding this issue.

Sharon Kent: This recommendation needs to be a broader. Is this going to be allowed just at West Lake or County-wide.

Bob Harbin: To be clear, this Advisory Board is recommending to the County Commission that this is for West Lake Park only or for all our parks.

Quentin Morgan: West Lake Park and recommendation only. There is a motion on the floor, Steve Lawson seconded, and all were in favor.

Quentin Morgan: Opposed.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Morgan asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of February 4, 2009 and March 4, 2009. Guy Roper made the motion, which was seconded by Jack Talabisco and passed unanimously.

Mr. Morgan introduced a new PAB member, Ms. Stephanie Munson. Ms. Munson gave a brief bio of herself.

Employee of the Month for April and May 2009

John Durasmo was congratulated as Employee of the Month for May. He was applauded for his accomplishments and work ethics and was awarded a framed certificate of appreciation and a gift certificate for an area restaurant. Michelle Parks was congratulated as Employee of the Month for April. She was applauded for her accomplishments and work ethics and was awarded a framed certificate of appreciation and a gift certificate for an area restaurant.

Park Manager’s Report

Bob Newland, Parks and Recreation Manager II at Topeekeegee Yugnee Park, welcomed the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PAB). Mr. Newland provided the board members with a handout that gave an overview of renovations and events at TY Park.

Parks and Recreation Division (Parks) Update

Bob Harbin reviewed the Chapter 25 ½ Ordinance which outlines policies and procedures in the Park system. The proposed revision includes two main changes; the first will allow liquor to be served at Central Broward Regional Park, however the Ordinance wording needs to be revised for clarification on the process. This revision will state that it may come through the Division Director’s office in order to be put on the agenda of the Board of County Commissioners. The second issue; presently the Division Director is allowed to designate areas within the Park system where beer and wine may be sold during special events. Parks has recently contracted a concessionaire in which he is allowed to sell beer and wine. However, the Ordinance states only during special events; in order to generate additional revenue Parks would like to expand that verbiage to allow the sale of beer and wine in designated areas.

Sharon Kent: Will you have extra people to monitor that?

Bob Harbin: The Park managers will monitor and would advise the concessionaire whether or not it would be allowed. For instance, it will not be allowed at children’s softball games.

Jack Mathison: Who holds the liquor license, the County or the concessionaire?

Bob Harbin: Concessionaire.

Jack Talabisco: I motion to concur with the proposed revision. Jack Mathison seconded, all in favor. Quentin Morgan opposed.

Bob Harbin discussed the Helwig naming contest that was publicly held and reviewed the results of the contest. The top four suggested names were; Deerfield Highlands Nature Preserve (69 votes), Hidden Meadows Preserve (67 votes), Sandy Scrub Nature Preserve (62 votes), or Serenoa Pointe Preserve (52 votes). Guy Roper motioned to approve and endorse the suggested names in the order of highest votes, Jack Mathison seconded, and all were in favor.

Mr. Harbin advised that Parks had our first Budget Workshop and has gone through several reduction exercises up to 20%. Dick Martorelli advised that Parks are looking at approximately $6,387,514 in reductions. The PAB was provided a budget handout with different levels of reductions that Mr. Martorelli reviewed with them. Quentin Morgan requested that this will be put back on the June agenda to allow the PAB to review further.

Urban Wilderness Advisory Board (UWAB) is scheduled to be Sunset after their project list is completed, which could be up to two years from now. Once it is Sunset, some of their responsibilities will be transferred to the PAB. Vacancies on the PAB could be filled with someone in the natural sciences field, in order to lend their expertise on issues that may have previously gone to the UWAB.

Bond Construction Update

Jim Federici provided the PAB with a projects status report handout. Vista View is under way and Mr. Federici showed the PAB pictures. Approximate completion date is October 2009.

There were 56 different projects with Challenge Grants and there is one left.

Old Business

Sheila Rose asked to discuss the PAB website emails. She had volunteered to monitor and answer those coming in to their link. Ms. Rose feels she is slowing down the process of responding and asked to have them directed to Parks staff instead of going through her first. Parks staff will answer emails and advise the PAB of those coming into their link. Additionally, Ms. Rose asked if there is a customer service survey that goes back for each email? The PAB would like to request a similar setup.

Quentin Morgan asked for a motion to table the strategic plan projects and parks volunteer procedures until the June meeting. Ms. Rose motioned, Terry Danger seconded and all were in favor.

Meeting adjourned at 9:40 a.m.

Next Meeting

The next meeting is at Plantation Heritage, June 3, 2009 at 7:30 a.m.