Hotel could be one of last mega-developments on Fort Lauderdale beach, as traffic piles up

Fort Lauderdale beach is reaching its development maximum. Under rules meant to prevent traffic gridlock, a beachfront hotel coming up for a vote in May could be one of the last major developments on the barrier island.

The proposed Beach Boys Plaza hotel would fill in a vacant space on State Road A1A a few hundred feet south of Las Olas Boulevard, at 401 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.

It will attract more cars to the crowded beach roadways, pushing traffic volumes toward their legal maximum. Under a little-known development rule from the 1980s, new projects cannot be approved on the barrier island if the number of cars on the roadways during the busiest afternoon hour would exceed 3,220 cars, city officials and documents say.

After Beach Boys hotel and a few other pending projects are approved, the afternoon beach traffic will be just 59 cars short of that cap, city development officials said.

Beach redevelopment is expected to slow to a halt soon.

City elected officials were warned last summer that the development milestone — a no-more-traffic moratorium — was coming.

“When the trips run out, the development opportunities run out,” then-City Manager Lee Feldman warned commissioners in June. New City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said he agrees with his predecessor’s assessment.

If commissioners wanted to change the rules to allow more development and traffic, they’d need permission from the county — an approval that is by no means guaranteed. The process for approval can take several years, Feldman warned last summer.

After those projects are approved, developers will be competing for the remaining 59 “trips.”

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