City surveys Pines Village residents

Article Courtesy of The Forum Publishing Group

By Fallan Patterson   

Published October 10, 2014

Crime, increased camaraderie and the neighborhood's reputation ranked of high importance in a survey recently completed by Pines Village residents..

More than 50 residents recently filled Pembroke Pines Elementary School to hear the survey results. Pines Village is bordered by the turnpike, Pembroke Road, Southwest 72nd Avenue and Pines Boulevard.

Only 4 percent of respondents were interested in a mandatory homeowners' association, 36 percent didn't want any organized neighborhood group, while 34 percent were interested in a voluntary civic association.

"Nobody wanted (an HOA)," said Michael Stamm, the city's director of planning and economic development and the survey's facilitator. "In fact, it's one of the reasons people moved here."

The top three reasons people said they moved to Pines Village were the neighborhood's reputation, its location and the area's schools.

"I've been here 43 years and I'm not moving," said Barbara Hertel, who helped organize the meeting. "We just want to keep the original part of Pembroke Pines in the minds of the people of City Hall."

Residents' top concern is crime. However, Assistant Police Chief Neil Vaughan said overall crime in the neighborhood has decreased by 16 percent since January with residential burglaries down 37 percent and vehicle burglaries down 43 percent.

"For far too long, we've had residents go about their own business. Now you're calling us," Vaughan said.

The department is using a "multi-faceted approach," he said, including overlapping patrols and using unmarked police vehicles.

Stamm said the city is conducting traffic studies to consider closing off several streets in an effort to reduce crime and speeding.

Speeding was the fourth-highest concern of residents, after crime, maintenance and foreclosures. Poor sidewalks and lighting followed.

"All of these issues lead to one thing: quality of life," Stamm said, adding that the city is creating an action plan and taking inventory of the neighborhood's sidewalks and streetlights. "We are going to avidly search for grants for this community."

Stamm was pleased 22.5 percent of the 1,918 surveys mailed out were returned.

"That's phenomenal," he said. "The typical results are about a 5 to 8 percent return rate."

Commissioner Carl Shechter said the city is interested in the neighborhood's concerns.

"For many years, District 1, our district, has been the stepchild of the city because the city has been very focused on the west," he said. "But that's changing."