Critics still not loving idea of 42 pickleball courts slated for Fort Lauderdale park. Too bad, city says

Cochrane and his attorney, John Rodstrom III, asked the city back in May to place the proposed ordinance on the 6 p.m. commission agenda so the mayor and commissioners could vote on it.

Instead, city officials placed the agenda item on the Aug. 22 commission conference agenda, where voting is prohibited.

Rodstrom urged city commissioners to vote on the ordinance at the Sept. 19 commission meeting, but failed to gain support.

Interim City Attorney D’Wayne Spence told the commission the proposed ordinance was flawed. He also warned that breaking the comprehensive agreement could lead to a lawsuit.

“We’re exploring legal remedies,” Rodstrom told the Sun Sentinel on Friday. “The charter is really clear that this should have been put on a regular meeting. No one on the commission really wants to stop this project. None of them said they’d like to see this placed on a regular agenda.”

By Susannah Bryan on August 31, 2023

Can critics stop Fort Lauderdale’s pickleball deal? We’re about to find out

Calling it a license evades the letter and spirit of the city charter, said John Rodstrom III, attorney for Save Snyder Park and community activist Kevin Cochrane.

Rodstrom sent the city a red-flag alert on Feb. 15 with an expert opinion from JC Consulting Enterprises President Cecelia Ward saying the comprehensive agreement was flawed and potentially illegal.

On Monday, Rodstrom continued his attempt to poke holes in the deal.

“It’s currently zoned park open space,” he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “The city would have to rezone it to commercial recreation. To rezone it, they’d have to get a land use amendment from the county. It’s not a typical park. It’s a commercial recreation area designed for profit. They’re only paying $100,000 a year [with no multiplier]. That’s the crazy thing.”

In 50 years, $100,000 will be worth $8,720 in today’s money.

But Rodstrom says a judge might not need to weigh in to resolve the matter.

“We shouldn’t need a court case to get the city to do the right thing,” Rodstrom said. “What I would like to see happen is the city manager, city attorney or commission ask the planning staff to weigh in on this. There’s a legal issue here but it’s also a zoning issue. I don’t think it’s allowed under the current zoning.”

By Susannah Bryan on February 28, 2023