By: Sharon Aron Baron
Residents who are against a self-storage facility proposed to be built near them made their voices heard in the hope that they could change someone’s mind.
After being reassured by Vice Mayor Michelle Gomez that the sale wasn’t a done deal, that hope would soon prove futile.
At the meeting held on August 28, Tamarac resident Carlos Bocel said Gomez told the room of 50 residents that the developer was there to hear their concerns because the sale was not a done deal.
But Commissioner Marlon Bolton told residents that Gomez was not telling them the truth.
“Michelle lives in a bubble,” he said. “She thinks there are no consequences for bad decisions when she makes them. When she is confronted, she tends to hide the truth or give vague answers hoping no one will catch on.”
He said that according to the new land development code, before any developer moves on in the process for approval, they must hold a community meeting to inform residents of their plans. The developer was not there for feedback; they were there to simply inform the public of their intentions.
The developer, Rock Island Storage, LLC, confirmed what Bolton said: the meeting was a just checkpoint in the ongoing process.
Located on the northeast corner of W. Commercial Boulevard and Rock Island Road, a 1.75 acre property was given to the city by the Chaits of Prestige Homes after they purchased the Sabal Palm and Monterrey Golf courses when they were building homes. The city accepted the property and were planning to build a fire station on the lot, but then decided to renovate and improve the station located further east.
The Chaits sued the city for the land, and a compromise was made to sell the land and split the proceeds.
The land was purchased by the storage facility company, Rock Island Storage, as a part of the compromise. Bolton said that he proposed that the city buy the land for a passive park, instead of selling the land to the storage facility company. Gomez argued that the city was in litigation for too long and was time to let it go and City Manager Michael Cernech agreed.
Bolton said that around a thousand residents from both District 1 and 2 have joined him to help fight the development, but it could prove impossible to win.
“It seems the commissioners feel Tamarac is still a bedroom town where no one is active and not listening – but this proves that residents are paying attention. They want to see their community looking good and they want to see sound development.”