By Sallie James
It didn’t matter that there were unanswered questions about parking, hours of operation, accessibility, or nighttime security. Tamarac commissioners voted anyway to let the good times roll and to allow a “hall for hire” in a tiny shopping plaza where the elderly shop for medical supplies.
Worthy Moments Banquet Hall got the green light on April 26 to get their parties started in a 1,600-square-foot space above the landmark Arthur’s Pharmacy and Medical Supply at 5816 N. University Drive.
The party venue — open until 2 a.m. – backs up to the Mainlands 9 community. The banquet hall will host weekend and evening events, according to city staff.
Questions about overflow parking and whether the business owner would hold daytime events that would affect the existing businesses went unanswered, and no safeguards for those businesses were put into place. The plaza’s parking lot only has 51 parking spots shared by the medical pharmacy, a liquor store, an AT&T store, and a hair salon. Parking is tight.
“Oh my god, what were they thinking,” said a stunned Arthur Goldglantz, who has run the medical pharmacy for 42 years and had heard nothing about the banquet hall. “It will be detrimental because you have elderly people that come here, and they can’t walk, and they come for medical supplies. It’s not good.”
Goldglantz, who sold his business last month and will retire at the end of the year, couldn’t believe that commissioners did nothing to prohibit the proprietor from holding daytime events that would swallow up essential parking spots and displace his customers. He said employees for the businesses park behind the plaza, so those spots are also occupied during the day.
A voice message left on Worthy Moments business line was not returned.
Mayor Michelle Gomez, a “no” vote, wondered if overflow cars from events would spill into the Mainlands 9 residential neighborhood just east of the plaza. She asked if the second-floor banquet hall was ADA compliant, expressed concerns about security because the plaza was poorly lit, and wondered if banquet hall patrons would be able to buy liquor and bring it into the facility.
“I do not think this is something that furthers the community around you,” Gomez said. “Your business doesn’t fit in this very small, older plaza with severe parking issues. There will be nothing but problems for the plaza for the success of your business.”
Commissioner Elvin Villalobos was the other no-vote.
At one point, Commissioner Kicia Daniel moved to table the matter to a later date, then changed her mind, withdrew her motion, and ultimately voted “yes” to approve the banquet hall use without having any of the questions answered.
The hall-for-hire use will be the first of its kind at that location. Attorney Ray Garcia said the hall would be used for weddings, birthday parties, and showers. Occupancy for the banquet hall is 54.
According to Tamarac Assistant City Manager Maxine Calloway, the business has eight designated parking spaces based on its square footage.
Calloway said the banquet hall needed a special exception because of its impact on the surrounding community.
- Sallie James is a veteran reporter/blogger/copywriter who spent most of her writing career in South Florida, including 22 years at the Sun Sentinel. She has also freelanced for The Coastal Star, South Florida Gay News & Florida Weekly. Sallie is the mother of grown boy/girl twins, a Guardian ad Litem, an animal rescuer, and a longtime Tamarac resident. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Indiana University.
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