Central Beach Master Plan


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Central Beach Master Plan Update

The overall intent of the Central Beach Master Plan initiative continues to focus on promoting the Central Beach Regional Activity Center as a vibrant beach community and a desirable destination. The Urban Design & Planning Division (UDP) is coordinating with the Transportation and Mobility Department (TAM) on addressing many complex issues in the area, such as potential streetscape improvements, addressing resiliency in respect to future sea level rise, and development policy.  The project will ultimately update the 2009 draft Central Beach Master Plan, often referred to as the “Sasaki Plan,” with the intent of obtaining consensus on new building and streetscape design standards, with a special focus on North Beach Village improvements.

The goals of the update of the Central Beach Master Plan include the following:

  • Develop short and long-term streetscape concept designs that focus on  pedestrian-oriented and multi-modal aspects;
  • Develop design standards that promote more compatible development while preserving the unique character of the Central Beach neighborhoods;
  • Address climate change and resiliency;
  • Streamline the code and improve predictability of the development process; and
  • Address potential historic aspects and adaptive reuse.

January 2017 North Beach Village Streetscape Stakeholder Meeting

The main intent in the North Beach Village area is to focus on improving the overall sense of place, including implementing more tree canopy, landscaping, better mobility options and pedestrian safety. Existing challenges to accomplish the above include extensive asphalt, existing back-out parking, tidal flooding, and lack of funding. At a stakeholder meeting held on January 31, 2017 at the Aquatic Center, city staff presented potential short-term and long-term streetscape improvement concepts.  Proposed improvements presented at the meeting were conceived based upon the results of the March 2016 Central Beach Master Plan workshop, the draft plan, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant project “Botanizing North Beach Village” prepared in collaboration with the Florida Atlantic University School of Architecture, and streetscape design concepts submitted by North Beach Village property owner Par Sanda and designed by landscape architecture firm TBG.

Consensus was reached at the meeting that the City should prioritize creating Breakers Avenue as a model street that reflects a resilient and walkable design which includes wider sidewalks, street trees, lighting, and places more prominence on an active pedestrian street. Participants requested that any available funding be directed toward the design of Breakers in lieu of shorter term improvements.  As part of the next steps, UDP and TAM will move forward with identifying available funding conditioned by site plan approvals for investment in streetscape improvements in the subject area, preparing cost estimates for the full vision of Breakers including any planned and preferred storm water and utility improvements, and seeking funding opportunities for implementation.


The posters and presentation from the January 31, 2017 stakeholder meeting can be found at the following links:

November 2016 Draft Central Beach Master Plan Presentation

City consultants, Redevelopment Management Associates (RMA), presented the draft update to the Central Beach Master Plan in two segments: proposed streetscape improvements and proposed building standards on November 9, 2016 at the W Hotel located at 401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Approximately 110 attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and share comments on the draft plan.

As a follow up, UDP staff will address how to move forward with key code amendments within the Central Beach portion of the ULDR which will have a positive impact on the public realm and on which consensus can be reached. This may include adding specific standards such as open space and pervious area requirements, and requirements for active uses along building frontages (active uses include lobby, residential units, and other human occupied spaces, in addition to retail and restaurant) as well as looking at innovative methods to activate existing structures along with adaptive reuse.

The PowerPoint presentation, questionnaire, and posters from the presentation can be found here:

You can also view a video recording of the presentation.  The presentation has been divided into the following seven segments:

March 2016 Workshop

The City of Fort Lauderdale hosted a Central Beach Master Plan Workshop on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.  Approximately 130 stakeholders participated in the workshop, which builds upon prior stakeholder meetings. Participants engaged in tabletop exercises to discuss and prioritize potential streetscape improvements and development standards.


The presentation and streetscape toolkit from the workshop can be found here:


Additional Draft Master Plan Background

In recent years, there has been a consistent dialogue about whether the current code successfully addresses characteristics that continue to enhance the Central Beach area.  There has been concern that the current code has become outdated and overly complex and has not evolved with the design goals of the City and the beach community.

To identify development constraints and to establish general concepts for code revisions that increase predictability and contribute to overall enhancement of the Central Beach, RMA also conducted a zoning analysis:

North Beach Village- Ecological Components

This Master Plan update is also complemented by the designation of the Central Beach Area as an Adaptation Action Area. In addition, in the last year The City received two grants, one from the National Endowment for the Arts and the other from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. As an example, urban stormwater infrastructure could be artistically deployed and create a sense of place in the North Beach Village, while reducing the threat of climate change. Combining stakeholder commitment with community goals to increase tree canopy, walkability, and reduce tidal flooding can catalyze public engagement and creation of an "ecological village” that is more resilient and sustainable.

Central Beach Adaptation Action Area

The Central Beach Area has been designated an Adaptation Action Area (AAA). As defined in Florida Statutes, AAAs are areas that experience coastal flooding due to extreme high tides and storm surge, and that are vulnerable to the related impacts of rising sea levels. The designation is the result of a pilot program with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to incorporate policies regarding AAAs into the Coastal Management Element of the Comprehensive Plan. Implementation will occur through the Community Investment Plan, which highlights the Central Beach AAA for prioritizing funding for infrastructure needs and adaptation planning.

National Endowment for the Art Grant: Botanizing North Beach Village

The City received National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant in partnership with Florida Atlantic University, for a project titled “Botanizing North Beach Village”, which provides a unique opportunity to showcase the integration of art with stormwater and drainage functionality through stormwater rain gardens and ecologically themed bioswales. The grant received in partnership with FAU resulted in student designs of low impact development streetscapes for the North Beach Village in an effort to address resilience in the area.

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The City also partnered with FAU on the receipt of the NOAA Sea Grant for a project called “ADaPT: Adaptation Design and Planning Tool for Urban Areas in the Coastal Zone”.  This project includes stormwater modeling in the North Beach Village and creation of a “How-to Adapt” Manual, a design and planning tool that creates a design framework to address the economic, environmental, and social quality of life consequences of storms, sea-level rise, and changing rainfall and runoff patterns in coastal areas such as the North Beach Village. The innovative adaptation plan will embed ecological and urban design thinking that generates greater resiliency and creates national relevance. This assessment will be complementary to the update to the Central Beach Master Plan and the NEA Grant work.

Contact Information

If you have additional question or would like discuss the update to the Central Beach Master Plan, please contact Lorraine Tappen, Urban Planning & Design Division, at (954) 828-5018 or

Project History

A significant amount of private development and public investment has occurred on Fort Lauderdale’s barrier island over the past 30 years, creating one of South Florida’s most notable destinations. Most of this growth was based on planning studies conducted in the 1980’s. The Central Beach Master Plan effort initiated in 2008, with the assistance of the consulting firm Sasaki and Associates, brought the community together to analyze past successes and failures and set the course for future development patterns and public improvements in the beach area.  Master Plan objectives include the following:

  • Expand opportunities for pedestrians to experience the active edge of the Intracoastal waterway;
  • Create a symbolic center and gathering place at Las Olas Boulevard and celebrate the other beach entries;
  • Create a variety of public spaces for residents and visitors of all ages, accommodating daily use as well as special events and performances;
  • Make streets more pedestrian oriented with attractive shaded sidewalks with cafes, restaurants and shops;
  • Preserve and enhance unique architectural resources within the Central Beach; and,
  • Promote a mix of uses to establish a vibrant, active resort and residential community.

Following a series of public input meetings, various public realm improvement opportunities were identified and design principles for guiding private development were established with the assistance of the consulting firm Sasaki and Associates. In 2011, the City Commission authorized more than $70 million worth of public improvement projects for the Central Beach CRA as originally outlined in the Master Plan. This work has helped to move toward the vision of a dynamic, mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly urban beach destination. The emphasis moving forward is to improve the remaining portions of the Central Beach.

The draft 2009 Central Beach Master Plan, also known as the “Sasaki Plan,” can be found at this link:

North Beach Village Community Focus Meeting (November 2013)

The Department of Sustainable Development organized a Community Focus Meeting on November 16, 2013, held at the Hilton Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach. The meeting was attended by over 130 participants who offered their vision for the North Beach Village area. The meeting focused on improving predictability of the development process through appropriate building design and streetscape standards, as well as other improvements that promote public interaction and an attractive, vibrant and sustainable beach resort and residential environment. A copy of the workshop summary report, which includes the results from the roundtable discussion groups and participant survey, and the presentation by City staff can be found below.