Deerfield Beach, Florida
Deerfield Beach is located on the eastern coast of Florida, 15 miles north of Fort Lauderdale. The city, with a population of approximately 78,000 (following a state-mandated land annexation increasing the population by 75 percent and land by 60 percent), is essentially built out with only 3 percent land vacant.
With the population forecast to increase, the city is looking for ways to guide that growth into redevelopment opportunities that encourage walkability and connectivity, and promote its unique village character.
Deerfield Beach lacks a cohesive identity, however, as well as a shared community vision. As part of a new vision, the city hopes to reinvigorate the "heart" of old Deerfield Beach around the intersection of Dixie Highway and Hillsboro Blvd.
As an added dimension, the newly envisioned Deerfield Beach Village Center is also the proposed location for a new train station along the Florida East Coast Railway. The planned Tri-Rail Coastal Link intends to reintroduce passenger rail service and connect historic downtowns of South Florida from Miami to West Palm Beach, including Deerfield Beach.
A CPAT assisted the city in March 2014 with a strategy to create a walkable, mixed use district through the creation of a new land use category. The CPAT offered skills and expertise in land use, economic development and market analysis, landscape architecture, and urban design.
A Town Center Plan for the City of Deerfield Beach
Community Planning Assistance Team Report
Deerfield was primarily an agricultural community prior to the 1950s. Post WWII, the South Florida coast became an increasingly popular destination, including scenic Deerfield Beach. The tourism industry increased oceanfront development along the Atlantic coast and shifted focus away from the original town center of Deerfield.
The full team arrived in Deerfield Beach March 16th and worked through the 20. Following meetings with city planning staff on Tuesday, March 17, the team conducted a tour of the study area. That afternoon, a group of almost 30 stakeholders met with the team. Team leader "Pete" Pointner, FAICP conducted a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and engaged the local group in conversation about their vision for a revitalized town center. The team worked closely with city planning staff throughout the week to develop land use and urban design plans for areas north and south of Hillsboro Boulevard near Dixie Highway.
Team leader Pete Pointner, FAICP and APA project manager Ryan Scherzinger traveled to Deerfield Beach on November 13, 2014 for a preliminary site visit. The two met with Deerfield Beach's Director of Planning and Development Services Amanda Martinez, AICP and members of her staff to discuss the project and tour the study area. Pointner and Scherzinger also met with City Manager Burgess Hanson and toured several other coastal communities in the region for further context and comparative examples.