By: Sharon Aron Baron
This article appeared in the Miami Herald back in December 13, 1988. Records were purchased through the Miami Herald archive service. I thought this article was almost like reading something from 2010 when it mentioned becoming Woodlands becoming a “safe neighborhood.” Looks like the Woodlands never got far with that proposal until 2010.
December 13, 1988
The proposed extension of a road just west of the exclusive Woodlands subdivision in Tamarac has caused a rift between the development’s family and adult sections.
Woodlands residents say the extension of Northwest 64th Avenue from Commercial Boulevard to Northwest 44th Street will be disruptive, but can’t agree what to do about it. They fear increased traffic, noise and exposure to crime in their community of $125,000-to-$1 million homes.
Officials with The Woodlands Home Owners Association think the solution is to start a “safe neighborhoods” program. This would allow money to be raised for construction of a four-mile wall around the one-square-mile community, plus new guardhouses and electric barriers to control access to the subdivision.
New security improvements have been in the association’s plans for the past 14 months, said Dr. Julius Barcham, the association’s president. “We feel that prevention is the key,” Barcham said.
“We feel that the proliferation of crime in this state is serious enough for us to consider becoming a safe neighborhood.” But residents in Section 2, a community dominated by families, are wary of the plan for two reasons: the elaborate security measures will benefit mostly Section 8 — an adult community bordering the new road extension — and no one helped Section 2 residents pay for security improvements they made three years ago.
Victoria Ryan, president of Section 2 homeowners, said her residents registered the same complaints of noise, rubble, dirt and crime when a 100-yard piece of Northwest 64th Avenue was built three years ago. Their solution was to build a wall along the roadway, which they did on their own.
“When we asked for help, we were told that it was a problem for the family section,” Ryan said. “This sounds like a problem for the adult communities. “We went through the same thing, so I know the residents have legitimate complaints. The only difference is that we had no help when it was time to pay for our walls.”
Sidney Dorfman, president of the Section 8 homeowners group, said the safe neighborhoods proposal and Northwest 64th Avenue are separate issues joined by a coincidence. “Nobody knew the road was going in there when we started talking about safe neighborhoods,” Dorfman said. “If somebody is trying to put these two issues together, then they’re misrepresenting the facts.”
Still, residents of Section 2 have voted not to support the association’s efforts to create a safe neighborhood improvement district in their community. Barcham said he did not attend the meeting and was not willing to comment on the decision because his association is still several months from completing a proposal to be voted on by all residents of The Woodlands.
Although Dorfman and Barcham said the issues are separate, the dispute has spilled over into Mayor Norman Abramowitz’s office, which is looking into the requirements for a “safe neighborhoods” designation for The Woodlands. “I feel like a mediator,” Abramowitz said. “We have two groups of people who are unhappy, and I can’t get to the bottom of it.”
The “safe neighborhoods” improvement program that is being considered is a creation of an anti-crime package approved last year by the Florida Legislature. The Safe Neighborhoods Act allows municipalities to create crime prevention programs and special taxing districts and to apply for state grants. Municipalities must show the support of community groups and property owners in the area to be designated as a safe neighborhood.