WAvNA Meets with Planning Board about Baywalk, 3/24/2021

Planning Department Meeting held on March 24, 2021 @ 2:00 PM (via Zoom video
conference):

Agenda: Updates on Baywalk and Pedestrian Bridge over 5th St.
Invitees: Baywalk Committee and WAvNA Board
Staff Attendees: Thomas Mooney, David Martinez, Elizabeth Wheaten, Maria Hernandez

Thomas Mooney, Planning Director, explained that the Master Plan for the Baywalk encompasses 5th St. north to the street end at Lincoln Rd. It is all on private property, which causes its own sets of challenges in addressing each property individually.

As it exists today, there are three (3) gaps: South Bay Club (800 West Ave.), Bayview Terrace (1228 West Ave.) and Bay Garden Manor (1250 West Ave.). These gaps will be addressed with either over-water or combination over-water/upland construction of the remaining Baywalk.

Maria Hernandez, Project Director, explained that there is earmarked $15 million of GO Bond funding, with $10m allocated towards the Pedestrian Bridge and $5m towards the remaining Baywalk gaps. $5m is in Tranche 2 but Staff can advance that for design and permitting to Tranche 1, which they plan to do as soon as the commission approves that at the next Finance and Economic Resilient Committee meeting. Once that is approved then CIP will begin the design and permitting process which requires
approvals from DERM, State, etc.

David Martinez, CIP Director, began a discussion about the 5th Street pedestrian bridge. He explained that the Tower (at 5th & Alton) is almost ready for permitting for its foundation which precedes construction for the Pedestrian Bridge. The Bridge will commence construction 9 months after the foundation for the pedestal has begun. The Pedestrian Bridge is expected to begin in the summer of 2022 with approximately 12 months needed to complete. FDOT plans have been submitted but permitting will not begin until the end of 2021 in order that the permits do not expire and necessitate
being resubmitted.

Gayle Durham, President of WAvNA, asked whether there will be an elevator on the north side of the Pedestrian Bridge in addition to the south side, and if the current design of a long ramp is ADA compliant regarding wheelchair access. The meeting returned to discussing the sections of the Baywalk. Ms. Hernandez stated that a referral to Finance to shift funding will be heard at the April Committee meeting. This will permit the feasibility and design process to begin to proceed with the projects for the three (3) remaining gaps.

A question from Ms. Durham on what commitments the City has with the three (3) remaining gap property owners, Mr. Mooney answered that there was an ‘agreement’ with South Bay Club, a ‘sign-off’ with Bayview Terrace but now perhaps dated, and that he was not sure what agreement was had with Bay Garden Manor. The reason given for this was that no outreach had been made as yet due to there not being funding until now. Once GO Bond funding is secured, the City will make the necessary contact.
Furthermore, the ‘sign-off’ with Bayview Terrace will probably need to be revisited since it dates back to 2008 and the Board may have changed since then.

In response to a question from Hal Philips regarding a clarification on riparian rights for each property in question, Mr. Mooney explained the following: the South Bay Club has agreed as a part of an order; Bayview Terrace in a 2008 agreement agreed to the ‘concept’ of a Baywalk; and 1250 (Bay Garden Manor) has no agreement.

Mr. Martinez discussed that once funding was secured, it would be preferable to have one (1) consultant design all three (3) remaining gaps but present the designs independent of each other. He continued that the City has not yet successfully constructed an over-water Baywalk section.

Regarding 10th to 12th Street – it is in the middle of getting designs revised and will most likely be permitted 8-10 months. Delays could be due to a backlog with the Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Philips asked Betsy Wheaton, Environment and Sustainability Director, what has taken place since their last meeting in 2017. Ms. Wheaton stated that a change in how the project is designed and constructed was negotiated between the City and the property owner, Crescent Heights. Originally, Crescent Heights was going to design and permit the Baywalk. Under the new deal, the City worked with the property owner to release escrow money. Mr. Martinez added that now the property owner will design and build the Baywalk, but the City will obtain the permit. Furthermore, in 2017 there was a preliminary approval but Crescent Heights retained a new designer so the plans changed. The City has hired someone to move the permitting process but there is not a permit as yet.

Ms. Durham asked about any plans to harmonize the Baywalk. Mr. Martinez explained that there are plans to install a ‘grate’ for over-water sections which would allow light to pass through to sustain sea grasses. He stated that this could be used in a hybrid form for the South Bay Club and Bayview Terrace sections. Mr. Mooney continued with affirming that the goal is ‘the more consistency and continuity the better’.

Jessica Davis, Board member Bayview Terrace, asked about how the Baywalk will affect her building as to the dock and pool deck areas. Mr. Martinez responded that he was not sure how to resolve this issue but that he will schedule meetings by the late spring/early summer this year to find a solution. Todd Davis stressed that neighborhood input was vital and that he believed the $5m budget for the three (3) Baywalk gaps was not sufficient. It was explained that the funding was allocated as follows:

• Bay Garden Manor $ 1,350,000
• Bayview Terrace $ 850,000
• South Bay Club $2,8000,000

Additionally, the Baywalk is eligible for Florida Inland Navigation District Funding whereby the grant money would provide up to 50% of the design costs and another 50% of construction costs. In discussing why it was so important that the neighborhood by involved prior to design and building Davis cited the park on 14th Street which had been made almost useless by the placement of a large generator with no regard for how the park was being used.

An update was given on (1450) Lincoln Bay Towers which has 200’ of Baywalk and is part of the West Ave. Project Phase II. The project is now ready to submit for permitting and will break ground later this year. It is a two (2) year project to be undertaken by Ric-Man Construction.

Sabrina was identified as the ‘go-to’ person for any questions on the Mirador, Mondrian, and 1450 Lincoln Bay Baywalk.

Todd Davis asked if seawalls have been assessed prior to Baywalk construction. Ms. Hernandez stated that the Mondrian and Mirador seawalls are the responsibility of the property owners. Regarding 1450, design is important because access to the seawall is key. A model could be making parts of the Baywalk removable in order to access the seawall for repairs. There was further discussion regarding the
Waverly which may need to make design changes to its pool area and the Mirador 1000 which has seawall issues that cause flooding.

Mr. Philips inquired as to who is responsible for Baywalk maintenance and what department enforces it, specifically wondering about the Flamingo Baywalk. Mr. Mooney stated that the property owner is responsible. As to enforcement, he said code compliance can issue violations. Regarding a question from Amy Litos regarding previously opened sections of completed Baywalk, Mr. Mooney stated that once a sections has been opened – it remains opened. However, should a property want to install a gate to allow closure during night-hours, he would look into that
possibility.

Meeting was adjourned at 3:00 PM