HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A battle is brewing in Hollywood after a condo association blocked access to a popular public beachside pathway.
It was once a busy, thriving path along North Beach in Hollywood.
But “DANGER” signs and fencing have stopped people from passing through for months.
The condo association at the Renaissance on the Ocean says there was an erosion issue on the path after a storm last year. But some are questioning if there is a real problem, or if condo residents just don’t want the public so close.
“I used to go down it and then they closed it,” said bike rider Fred Lofgren. “It says danger. You look down there. Do you see any danger?”
The signs clearly say “danger,” claiming parts of the pathway are washed away and it is unsafe.
Is there really a DANGER on this public pathway or do residents in an adjacent condo not want the public walking and riding directly behind their building.. Exclusive details on @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/nak8JY6VsT— Jeff Weinsier (@jweinsierWPLG) May 7, 2021
The pathway is public, but the signs and fence weren’t put up by the city of Hollywood. They were placed there by the adjacent Renaissance on the Ocean.
And it’s forcing bike riders onto busy A1A.
According to a development agreement from 1995, the developer of the Renaissance agreed to maintain the pathway, which is a public right of way.
“It makes it seems like the owners, the building managers don’t want the public going through there,” said bike rider Bella Mendez said of the signs.
Another bicyclist, Nick Kirkland, added: “It doesn’t look they are doing any kinda work, so it seems like they are trying to keep people out.”
The city has cited Renaissance for blocking a public right of way and violating a site plan.
Ironically, Local 10 News spotted a real estate agent who was showing an apartment in one of the buildings using that dangerous pathway.
Our cameras also saw residents using the path with no sign of danger. We encountered one of them who said she could use the path because she lived there.
In a statement to Local 10, an attorney for the Renaissance says it is their goal to re-open the path to the public as soon as possible.
“The Renaissance on the Ocean is actively working to resolve the issues related to the beach path closure,” Deana D. Falce of ShubinBass, legal counsel for Renaissance, said in the statement. “It is Renaissance’s goal to safely re-open the beach path to the public — including to its own residents — as soon as possible. The closure of the beach path was a response to safety concerns only. A meeting has been scheduled between the Renaissance, its engineer, and City of Hollywood staff to address this matter. At this time, we cannot provide further comment due to the pending City of Hollywood code enforcement actions.”
Some legal experts say having to maintain the public pathway puts an unfair burden on condo owners, that the agreement with the city was with the developer.
The city of Hollywood is taking Renaissance in front of a special magistrate on June 9 for the code violations.
At this point, it is not clear when the path will re-open.