Coral Springs will create a business improvement district at its Corporate Park only after conducting a needs assessment.
The City Commission went against staff’s advice and voted 3-2 to put off the creation of the district until its second meeting in April. In between, the city will hire a company to do a need assessment.
The vote followed a lengthy discussion on the issue, with property owners coming out in force to demand that the city defer a decision until after the needs assessment. The information that the city had provided about the proposed district was vague and totally inadequate, they said.
The city had neglected the Corporate Park and failed to improve the infrastructure at the facility, alleged some of the business owners who spoke at the meeting. The property owners should be given a chance to vote on whether the park needs a special district. The extra costs that businesses will have to incur due to the special assessments will hurt them significantly, they added.
It was Vice Mayor Larry Vignola who suggested that the city put off a decision on the issue; Mayor Skip Campbell and Commissioner Joy Carter voted in support of the motion while Commissioners Dan Daley and Lou Cimaglia were in favor of the city passing the ordinance to create the district. The City Commission had tentatively passed the ordinance last month.
“The Corporate Park has never looked better; there has been a lot of improvements out there,” said Vignola. “I don’t think waiting another year is going to hurt anyone; we need to protect our current businesses in the Corporate Park. I don’t see a need to rush through this.”
Mayor Skip Campbell agreed. “There are 233 people in the Corporate Park who have property rights,” he said. “They might be for the concept as long as they know the specifics; I don’t think that it has been sold properly to the property owners…Hoerbiger and Lupin all came to the Corporate Park the way it is now. “
The proposed business improvement district will use the money that comes in from the special assessments to improve the infrastructure and aesthetics of the Corporate Park. The Corporate Park, which was set up in 1963, is spread over 442 acres and currently has 233 property owners and 244 businesses.
The city had planned to create the district and have the special assessments in place in time for the 2017 tax bill. The delay in creation of the district will delay the whole process by a year.
Former Mayor Vince Boccard, former Vice Mayor Tom Powers, Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Brief and Chamber Chairman Bruce Weinberg exhorted the City Commission not to delay the creation of the district. If the city wants to attract new businesses to the park, it needs to improve the infrastructure and aesthetics of the facility without any delay, they said.
Deputy City Manager Jennifer Bramley explained why the city wanted to create the district as early as possible. “The vacant lot in the Corporate Park are large lots. There are only five properties within Broward County that are more than 22 acres; we have two within the park. It is crucial that we attract targeted industries.”
The city had held individual meetings with property owners who have a large number of folios, as well as owners with high property values, Bramley said. “Letters were sent to more than 1,000 addresses in the Corporate Park, inviting business and property owners to the two business improvement meetings. Property owners and businesses were asked to complete an online survey.”
Industrial properties dominate the park; there are only 6 properties that fall under Class A in the facility. A majority of businesses within the park have space that is less than 10,000 square feet and employ fewer than 100 employees.