Traffic Troubles in Florida Casino
The Coconut Creek Casino run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida is hoping to
expand its small casino into a major gaming resort, but the State has a few problems with the proposed plan. The State of Florida wants to know how the new facility will handle the increased flow of traffic.
Construction on one of the new buildings is already under way, but the groundbreaking at other sites set for renovations will not begin until the traffic issue is resolved.
The first phase of the casino renovations was supposed to be finished in October 2005, said officials of the Seminole tribe. But as of now construction is still underway on the Marketplace. Hurricane Wilma is to blame for the delays said Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner. As of now there is no official timetable for the completion, or start, of the second phase of construction, although the casino’s website says two years.
Creek Commons, the proposed new expansion, will include 1.4 million square feet of commercial development, cultural venues, around 2,700 residential units, and a 12 story, 500 room hotel and casino. The new resort is hoped to be more like a resort than the Seminole Hard Rock venue in Hollywood, California.
The Seminole complex in Hollywood is completely located on tribal lands, and therefore not subject to state review. The Coconut Creek project in Florida exceeds the borders of the five acres of tribal land, which allows Florida State to review any projects.
“Traffic is a major issue,” said Jim Hertzel, the Mainstreet project coordinator for Coconut Creek. Due to traffic problems at the entrance to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood the review was requested.
“We’ve asked them to go back and do a traffic impact study,” said Hertzel.
The Florida legislature first approached the growth management problems in 1972, and adopted land use programs from the Environmental Land and Water Management Act to help protect areas that are of concern to the state.
The Development Regional Impact reviews (DRIs) are looked over by the Florida Department of Community Affairs, to make sure any changes are in compliance with state laws, and to identify any impact large scale development projects will have on the state. They then make recommendations to local governments for approval, or any changes that need to be made.
Roger Wilburn, regional administrator for the DRI board in Broward Country feels that certain requirements need to be met as construction continues. “Development plans are often best guess estimates,” said Wilburn. “Sometimes it takes longer than they think.”
Hertzel said, “It’s all under review. We are working with [the Seminoles] on rezoning for the expansion.”
The Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is open 24 hours all week long and features more than 800 gaming machines, poker tables and tournaments and a full bar and cafe.