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NOVEMBER 2005

BOARD MEETING

After open discussion with the owners, the meeting of The Regency Tower Board was called to order at 3:16 p.m. on Thursday, November 10, 2005 in the Meeting Room of The Regency Tower by the President.

Roll Call - The roll call showed the following Board Members present: Iris Anastasi, Eric Berkowitz, Fern McBride, Dott Nicholson-Brown, Bill Tennenbaum and Pablo Verol. Louise Collins was excused.

Reading of Minutes - The minutes of the meeting of The Regency Tower Board of Directors held on October 20, 2005 were read. Iris Anastasi made a motion to approve the minutes as read, seconded by Pablo Verol, unanimously approved.

The minutes of the special meeting of The Regency Tower Board of Directors held on October 20, 2005 were read. Pablo Verol made a motion to approve the minutes as read, seconded by Eric Berkowitz, unanimously approved.

Budget Presentation

Bill Made Budget Presentation
BILL PRESENTS BUDGET
This meeting is primarily to present the budget which will be mailed to all unit owners on November 10, 2005. The budget will be voted on at the December 13, 2005 Board Meeting.

Bob Made Insurance Presentation
BOB NAGLE
Recommendation: Insurance (Bob Nagle) -
This past March our carrier was lowered several notches to a Grade C, therefore we switched to another company, QBE, an Australian company headquartered also in New York with an “A” rating. We negotiated a 15 month policy running from March 2005 to June 30, 2006. Normally there would be no more to do, however, when the annual review on insurance came up we found that if we waited until June 30th there might not be any insurance coverage available. We met with our insurance brokerage firm and negotiated a new contract that will carry us through to the end of December 2006 (from 12/1/05 – 12/01/06). In order to do this, we agreed to take an 18% increase now, with our 2% deductible. We had a credit from our current policy so our net cost will be less than what we were paying. The following year the 2% deductible will no longer be offered; it will be increased to 3 or 4%. Our building is currently valued at $35,000,000, which makes our deductible $700,000 at this time.

Bill Tennenbaum made a motion that we change our insurance renewal date to 12/1/05 through 12/1/06 and accept an 18% increase. Eric Berkowitz seconded the motion; unanimously approved.

Recommendation: CY2006 Budget, Reserves (Bill Tennenbaum) - The Treasurer thanked the Finance Committee: Bob Nagle, Insurance, Ron Forment, Day to Day Operational Expenses, Martha Sellas, Contracted Services, and Dott Nicholson-Brown, Administrative Costs (which include Salaries and Benefits)

  1. Administration – Salaries and Benefits - The committee expects an increase in salaries and benefits from $425,441 to $463,592.

  2. Insurance & Taxes - The committee expects a decrease from $151,731 to $144,370.
  3. Utilities - The committee expects an increase in utilities from $141,500 to $160,800. This is primarily due to increases by FPL.
  4. Contracted Services - The committee estimated an increase in service contracts from $153,881 to $157,778. This increase is partially due to new categories: Paver Cleaning and Beach Patrol.
  5. Operational Expenses - The committee expects a decrease from $105,275 to $102,650.
  6. One Time Expenses - The decrease from $61,919 to $41,671 is due to the completion of a significant portion of the one time projects.
  7. Revenue - The committee recommended an increase of ten (10) percent in quarterly maintenance.
  8. Reserves - By Florida Law, reserves are funds that are restricted for deferred maintenance and capital expenditures. Deferred maintenance is any maintenance or repair that will be performed less frequently than yearly and will result in maintaining the useful life of an asset. A capital expenditure is for the purchase of a useful asset that has a useful life of more than one year or the addition to an asset that extends the life of an existing asset for more than one year. Because we are so under-funded in our reserves, we are proposing to establish a “General Deferred Maintenance and Capital Expenditure” reserve that will allow us the flexibility to repair or replace any major asset of our association without the specific restrictions in previous reserves and hopefully without the need for future assessments. Reserves are the most equitable way to maintain the building. You will only pay for the share you use for the years you live here. Future residents will do the same. The life years of our assets are used up annually and need to be replenished annually. The amount required for CY2006 full statutory reserves in the budget packet is $173,430. The Finance Committee recommends to partially fund the reserves in the amount of $131,950 for General Deferred Maintenance.

Secretary Fern McBride
Secretary Fern McBride
Board Vote on CY2006 Recommendations -
Pablo Verol made a motion that the recommendations of the Finance Committee be transmitted to the owners for proxy vote. Eric Berkowitz seconded the motion; unanimously approved.

Committee Reports - President Nicholson-Brown then called for Committee Reports. Click Here to read each report in its entirety.

New Business - President Nicholson-Brown indicated that there was no New Business.

Adjournment - A motion was made by Pablo Verol and seconded by Iris Anastasi to adjourn the meeting at 4:15 p.m.; unanimously approved.

Fern McBride
Board Secretary

COMMITTEE REPORTS

NOVEMBER 2005

Architectural Review & Construction Committee
Eric Peter Berkowitz

Construction Committee Chair Eric Peter Berkowitz Gives Report
ERIC PETER BERKOWITZ
SUMS UP WILMA DAMAGE
The general damages sustained by Regency Tower during the recent hurricane have blurred departmental lines of responsibility for repairs to those damages. To bring services and amenities back to full utility, many of us are trying to help in various overlapping areas. The Construction Committee is therefore collaborating closely with maintenance and security to expedite our overall recovery. Following are some of the challenges that we are working together to meet.

The roof above the Elevator Mechanical Room is surrounded by a gutter system covered with protective copper flashing. Hurricane Wilma ripped the copper from the west side of the Mechanical Room roof. It also annihilated one of the leaders carrying water from the upper roof to the main roof level below. While the majority of our roof vents are protected by built-in rain covers designed to keep out water when we temporarily remove vent turbines in anticipation of a storm, three remain unprotected. We are retaining Campany Roofing to repair the Mechanical Room roof and manufacture the three missing vent protectors.

The north and south eastern perimeter fences were obliterated by the storm. Consistent with efforts to protect our units and common areas with appropriate doors and windows, we will replace the fences with products better able to withstand future storms. We discovered several cracks in the building’s exterior walls. Three high intensity deck lamps, one on the north deck and two on the south deck, were decapitated. While we salvaged the lamp heads, their value towards an adequate repair is dubious. At the very least, the broken fixtures will need replacement. There was also damage to many of the small, and several large, decorative lamps that illuminate planters. The awning above the garage door was twisted into an anomalous mass. An engineer that reviewed the damage is compiling a scope of work upon which contractors can formulate and submit construction bids. This will enable the Board to select a contractor to effect warranted repairs under the supervision of the engineer.

The storm did substantial damage to the video component of our security system. Several cameras were pulled from support posts, leaving some of the remnant wiring useless. Instead of patching the system together, we’re taking the opportunity to upgrade the components into a coherent video security system. New weather-resistant color cameras will be capable of withstanding future exposure to hurricane events, digital DVR multiplexers will bestow every camera with recording flexibility and adjustable color monitors will afford security personnel improved recognition and identification capabilities. After a comprehensive review and evaluation of the remaining cameras, the existing wiring, connectors, monitors and recording apparatus, we’ll determine which components of the previous system will seamlessly blend with the new equipment. Similar to our new fire safety and keyless security systems, the video security system will be component-based, adaptable to new technologies as they become available. This will insure inexpensive accessibility to future upgrades. We’ve invited several reputable security vendors to avail ourselves of competitive pricing. We anticipate acquiring an effective, flexible system at a moderate cost.

The newly installed impact windows performed as expected. Not one unit protected by the impact rated windows suffered wind or debris penetration. Cracks from debris or wind pressure were uniformly confined to the outer layer of glass. The cost of those repairs will be determined by the extent of the damage on a case by case basis. If there is no damage to the frame, individual broken panes can be replaced; in some cases, there may be no need to replace the entire window. Individual insurance requirements should first be considered prior to determining appropriate repair options.

The demand for these services - historically high before the storm - has gone through the roof. While unit owners may want to replace any outer panes that may have cracked, the affected windows will continue to protect units from wind and debris, despite the crack! Thousands of our neighbors are scrambling as never before to first protect their homes. Window companies are uniformly booked for months in advance with repairs and installations. Again, the Board recommends that every owner contact their insurance company before considering repair options.

Several Regency Board members attended a Galt Mile Community Association Presidents Council meeting on Monday, November 7th. During an exercise in which attention was sequentially focused on each member Association, representatives of our neighboring buildings described the damage they sustained. While several Associations are planning assessments to pay for 3 to 4 million dollars in damage, others - like Regency Tower - reaped the benefits of having been prepared. Chairman Pio Ieraci congratulated Regency Tower President Dott Nicholson-Brown while offering the Regency Tower windows project as a model for every Association. Along with thousands of Associations across the State, most of our neighbors are playing “catch-up”. They are first starting to organize group installations. Despite this unparalleled demand, the relationships that we’ve nurtured while pioneering this effort will hopefully give us the inside track in replacing the broken panes and windows.

In response to concerns reinforced at the Regency Tower Round Table, we’ve arranged to institute a maintenance program for our pavers. The Board elicited bids from several paver maintenance companies and selected SNS Pavers. The program will commence with a professional cleaning on November 30th. While cleaning the pavers, SNS Pavers personnel will teach our maintenance staff the appropriate techniques required for their ongoing maintenance. They will learn the proper preparation and application of chemical formulas necessary to combat vehicular fluid leaks. They will learn how to effectively remove tar, gum and inorganic debris. SNS will also help compose a maintenance schedule, a guide for regular and special maintenance applications. The maintenance staff will then assume responsibility for carrying out the timetable. Once a year, SNS will return to perform another professional cleaning and update our maintenance personnel about new materials and techniques. While the effects of paver maintenance are rarely readily apparent, a maintenance program will serve to prolong the overall life and appearance of our covered decks. Thank you for your kind attention.

 

We Care Committee
Ofelia Alleguez

We Care Committee Chair Ofelia Alleguez of Regency Tower Angel Squad
Ofelia Alleguez - Regency
Tower ANGEL SQUAD
August

  • Richard Artim (405) came home from hospital; plant arrangement sent.

  • Carol Buono (708) passed away at home in Massachusetts; note on bulletin board, card sent and trees planted in her memory.

  • Marian Custer (1902) was taken to Imperial Point Hospital. Note on bulletin board; card sent.

September

  • Marian Custer (1902) came home. Chocolates sent.

  • Beverly Smith (402) had surgery at home in Canada. Note in bulletin board; card sent.

October

  • Shirley Hopkins (1411) was in the hospital for a week. Note on bulletin board; card sent.

  • Marian Custer (1902) went to hospital again.

November

  • Marian Custer (1902) now in Rehab. Cards sent.

  • Peter Pedrette, former owner of Apt. 1004 passed away in Canada. Note on bulletin board, card sent.

  • Helen Quinlan (1903) admitted to Holy Cross Hospital. Note on bulletin board and calls. She is in Rehab at Holy Cross now.

Web Site Committee
Eric Peter Berkowitz

Eric Peter Berkowitz - Web Site Updates Regency Tower Residents After Wilma
Eric Berkowitz
Wilma Web Report
After Hurricane Wilma clobbered South Florida, dozens of Regency Tower residents found themselves victims of what appeared to be a communications blackout. Telephone service was lost to over 800,000 Bellsouth customers and cellular service was crippled by severe damage to every major cellular network. Of those Bellsouth customers that didn’t lose service, the vast majority relied on cordless telephones that were rendered inoperable when electrical service was interrupted. Out-of-State unit owners as well as friends and relatives of those brave souls who weathered the disaster desperately aspired to find out the fate of their friends, families and homes. Many Regency Tower residents who sent emails asking about their units and their neighbors also requested that we post information on the web site explaining how Regency Tower survived the storm.

Stay Current - Keep Informed
Remember Wilma
In response to their inquiries, we
posted an article that reviewed the damage suffered by the County, the Galt Mile neighborhood and most importantly, to Regency Tower. I would like to thank those that responded by writing emails stating their appreciation of the web site updates. Apparently, many of our neighbors that reside in other buildings also used the Regency Tower web site to keep abreast of the storm and its affects. On the Special Updates page of the web site, a section devoted to hurricane activity was heavily utilized during the period before and after Hurricane Wilma. Those that used the available information received minute by minute updates from the National Hurricane Center throughout the event.

There is some confusion about the dates displayed on some of the pages. The September 1st date on the Board Meeting page represents the last Board Meeting for which the minutes were available at the time. When the storm hit, the Board’s attention was refocused on emergency measures required to expedite a recovery. Recording the minutes could wait until the effects of the catastrophe were mollified. However, every other section was updated on a daily basis. General Information, Notices & Reminders, the Committees page, Special Updates and even the Photo Gallery offered new or additional information in a wide variety of areas throughout the past month. Of course, anyone visiting our site noticed on the Home Page that current hurricane related updates were available. The Board Meeting page has since been brought up to date.

Remember, this is your web site. Contributions and comments are welcome. Thank you for your kind attention.

SPECIAL UPDATES

NOVEMBER 2005

Wilma Turns Out the Lights
Eric Peter Berkowitz

Regency Tower Bounces Back from Hurricane Wilma
ERIC - WAKE-UP CALL
Hurricane Wilma posted gust speeds up to 170 MPH during the several days it rested off the Mexican coast in preparation for turning northeast to assault the Florida peninsula. After witnessing the nail biting Category 3 devastation with which Wilma slammed the west coast on October 23rd and following its progress across the State, Regency Tower residents closed their eyes and held their breath as the strongest Atlantic hurricane to date pounced early on October 24th. The only positive aspect of the storm was the fact that it was motoring through Florida at 30 MPH, portending a minimum of flooding. This fooled millions of South Florida residents into believing that Wilma would be a five or six hour Monday morning annoyance. Instead, Wilma proved to be the greatest catastrophe to ever hit
Broward County.

Fallen Power Lines And Transformers on NE 15th Street in Fort Lauderdale
Fallen Power Lines & Transformers
on NE 15th Street in Fort Lauderdale
Wilma plowed through the State like an intergalactic vacuum cleaner, obliterating a wide swathe of civilization. Necessities taken for granted by millions of South Florida residents - power, water, telephone, and fuel - disappeared within a few hours. Windows and doors exploded off buildings like popcorn. It pealed roofing and walls from structures as if they were wet cardboard. Trees and vehicles became projectiles, driven by high winds into one another and adjacent buildings. Once Wilma finally jumped to the Atlantic Ocean, people realized that nothing was left unscathed. Owing to the enormous scope of the storm, evacuation was not an option.

Ghost Town - Federal Highway and SE 24th Street in Fort Lauderdale
Ghost Town - Federal Highway and SE 24th St
Of Florida Power & Light’s 4.5 million South Florida paying customers, 3.5 million had no power. While the utility’s main power plants were still functional, 240 substations suffered catastrophic damage. In neighborhoods with above ground electrical lines, trees and other flora were intertwined with high tension wires and banged up transformers were reconfigured to mimic Modern Art. In Broward County, 98% of FPL’s customers were stranded. 859,000 Broward residents were powerless while 3600 incredibly lucky homes were still juiced. The utility, despite importing 3000 additional electrical workers from out of the area on Monday, told customers that it would take up to four weeks to repair all the damage.

Broward Financial Center (the Templeton Building) in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
Broward Financial Center
Downtown Fort Lauderdale
Along with hospitals, police stations and fire stations, water treatment plants were also left without power. Once FP&L powered up these critical parts of the public service infrastructure and turned the water on, residents received another shock. The water never arrived at its destination. Officials learned that water mains throughout the County were pounded to dust. Even sections that could be repaired were contaminated by backflow infiltration. Despite reassurances by officials that massive repair efforts were underway, by Wednesday morning FP&L was only able to bring power to an additional 2400 Broward customers. Bellsouth announced that 855,000 residents on Florida’s east coast lost phone service after the storm. Of those with service, the vast majority exclusively used electric-powered cordless phones, useless where the power was off. Residents found their cellular phones to be of limited use due to infrastructure damage experienced by most of the cellular networks. Residents were faced with no power, gasoline, water and telephone service - limbo. Isolated Regency Tower residents saw little relief on the horizon.

Like Many Galt Associations - Playa Del Mar Loses Many Non-Compliant Windows
Regency Residents Witnessed Playa del Mar
Losing Many Non-Compliant Windows
Regency Tower, like the rest of the Galt Mile, was a disaster area. Landscaping was uprooted and shredded. Vehicles left on the outside parking decks were stripped of windows and pummeled by flying debris. Cars, SUVs and small trucks were tossed about like pinballs, banging into perimeter walls and one another. Dozens of non-compliant windows and “hurricane shutters” that were ripped off the building became flying guillotines, repeatedly smashing into vehicles, the perimeter fences and the building walls. Ironically, these shutter panels that were installed 35 years ago to protect the units from severe storms became one of the primary sources of damage. Many of the decorative street lamps on Galt Ocean Drive were sheared in half or decapitated. Similarly, three of the high intensity lamps illuminating our decks were knocked off their support poles. Fences at the east side of the north and south parking decks were torn out. The awning covering the entrance to the garage was twisted into a gigantic Rubik’s Cube and the ceiling above the main entry alcove endured multiple cracks. The swimming pool became a huge trash receptacle, containing sections roofing material, shutters, window remnants, shutter tracks and battered parts of the water towers that were blown off the Galt Ocean Club’s roof. Our own roof was spared, save some minor damage to a water tower line.

Mayor Jim Naugle To FPL - Help High Rise Residents
Mayor Naugle To FP&L
Help High Rise People
On Tuesday morning, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle appeared in a televised interview during which he described the area game plan. He said that FP&L and local officials would spend Tuesday assessing the extent of the damage. He confirmed that powering up hospitals; police and fire stations and water treatment facilities were uncontested priorities. The Mayor surprised viewers when he said, “I know that many single family homeowners may not agree, but we need to get power to the many high rise buildings in the area. People stranded on the 15th floor without power and water present access problems not faced by other residents. This has to be one of our priorities.” On Tuesday, the Board contacted Broward County to learn when the water would again flow. County spokespersons said that we could expect to see water by Tuesday evening. While they weren’t permitted to sell perishable items, Winn Dixie Supermarket in the Galt Mile Shopping Plaza used emergency generators to open for business late Tuesday afternoon. To purchase the remnants of their skeletal inventory, Galt Mile residents formed a line that extended almost 100 yards into their parking lot and brought plenty of cash and patience.

Galt Ocean Drive after Wilma
Galt Ocean Drive After Wilma
Faced with a desperate situation, many Regency Tower residents realized that they needed one another to survive. Grudges were set aside, people checked to see if heretofore ignored neighbors needed help. Bucket brigades were organized to bring water from the swimming pool up to units to force toilets to flush. As frozen foods defrosted, people aggregated around the Association’s barbecue grill, creating a spontaneous daylight restaurant. Hungry residents contributed food or cooking skill, turning the catastrophe into an opportunity to know one another. Our emergency building generator provided for our basic power requirements, powering one elevator, the fire safety system and emergency lights. Our maintenance department extended the generator's capabilities to temporarily power the office, facilitating communication with owners not in residence trying to learn the status of their homes. The building’s public address system was used to keep those in residence abreast of events and make vital announcements. Information was also posted on the portable bulletin boards at the lobby elevators. When the area became inaccessible during the initial stages of the crisis, volunteers such as Anne-Marie Griffin, Marty Rivas and others helped man critical security positions while others responded to supplications for help from their neighbors. Serendipitously, this disaster brought out the best in our Regency “family”.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshal Steve Kastner Sent Emergency Teams to Check on Galt Residents
FIRE MARSHAL KASTNER
City officials realized early on that many elderly residents normally cared for by Home Health Care Aides or nurses were isolated and inaccessible. Given the potential for tragedy, Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshall Steve Kastner sent a three-person EMT crew to every building along Galt Ocean Drive on Tuesday, canvassing the neighborhood for those in need of assistance.
Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Demetrios Gretsas - Kept Regency Board Posted about Galt Repair Progress
GEORGE GRETSAS
The Fire-Rescue personnel entered Regency Tower and spoke to building staff and available residents, inquiring about medical shut-ins and others that may not have been able to alert neighbors to possible emergencies.

By Wednesday morning, several Associations on the northern end of the block (Galt Towers, L'Ambiance, Galleon, Ocean Club, Ocean Summit, etc.) regained electricity and some also had water. The Regency Tower Board contacted Vice Mayor Christine Teel, alerting her to a possible health crisis adjunctive to prolonged lack of water. City Manager George Gretsas responded by informing a Regency Board member about the City’s repair progress. He explained that when the water was turned back on by Tuesday afternoon, water main damage thwarted attempts to attain pressure adequate to reach most of the buildings south of Ocean Summit.
Vice Mayor Christine Teel Helped Prevent Health Crisis
V Mayor CHRISTINE TEEL
He said that they would concentrate on repairs to the water mains feeding the barrier island, projecting that water could possibly flow to the balance of the area as early as Wednesday afternoon. By about 3 PM, water pressure reached levels adequate to restart our building pump. At about 4:30 PM, screams of delight and relief were heard along the entire block as electricity was restored to the remaining buildings. Regency Tower was returned to the 21st century.

Hamilton Gallery on A1A and Coral Ridge Towers Complex Lost Non-Compliant Windows
LOOTERS HIT HAMILTON GALLERY ON A1A
Fort Lauderdale was operating under a boil water order, a warning given when system contamination is suspected. People without electricity who weren’t able to boil their water to kill toxic organic material could still disinfect contaminated water. Florida Department of Health spokesman Irving “Doc” Kokol explained that water can be made potable by mixing in 8 drops of unscented bleach (Clorox) per gallon and letting it set for 30 minutes. If the end product is still cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the process. Mayor Jim Naugle also contacted Galt Mile Community Association President Robert Rozema, asking that residents conserve water whenever possible. He explained that enormous damage to the Lift Stations that insure water quality had yet to be repaired and that the boil water order would extend at least through Friday.

Long Lines at Winn Dixie on Tuesday
Galt Residents Line Up at Winn Dixie on Tuesday
With the return of basic utilities, Regency Tower immediately turned resources and manpower to the massive clean-up and repair efforts. On Tuesday, the Board organized a building-wide investigation into the damage sustained by individual units. Six teams, each comprised of a Board member and a volunteer resident, divided the building into sections and documented the visible damage found in every unit. Joe Anastasi, Barbara Verol, Bob Nagle, Eileen Bendis, Rafael and Ofelia Alleguez each teamed up with a Board member to evaluate our 203 units. The review revealed that dozens of non-compliant windows and shutters were torn out by the storm. While some of the impact rated windows broke, not one was shattered apart or penetrated. The impact windows performed as expected. They stopped the storm from entering protected units.
Holy Cross Medical Group in the Galt Mile Shopping Plaza
Roof Stripped from Holy Cross Medical
Group in the Galt Mile Shopping Plaza
Not surprisingly, the only units that experienced serious damage were those whose owners still hadn't installed impact rated windows. While some of the damage was caused by flying debris, the vast majority of the non-compliant windows and shutters were blown out by negative wind pressure. In one unit, however, the non-compliant windows were seemingly victimized by positive wind pressure. The windows were blown into the unit, causing instantaneous evacuation. The enormous pressure change collapsed two interior walls. In several units, sections of balcony railing were torn from their posts and some of the individual pikes were bent, apparently impacted by flying debris. Several units also suffered infiltration, often under balcony doors and around windows. A major source of infiltration resulted from the hurricane shutter tracks buried in the walls under windows. When weep holes in the tracks become clogged, they fill with water which eventually spills into the subfloor. The collected water builds up until it reaches the lowest levels of the unit’s floor (sometimes in the middle of the room), where it soaks into the padding underneath carpeting. Water then absorbed into the carpeting appears as random patches of wetness, seemingly unconnected to one another.

Ocean Club had Minimal Damage and Had Electricity and Water by Tuesday
Ocean Club Suffered Minimal Damage
Had Electricity and Water by Tuesday
The results of our investigation were given to the office. By Wednesday, if any unit owner called to find out how their home weathered the storm, they were given a verified report. After water was returned to the area and the swimming pool was no longer needed as a source of water to force flush toilets, the contaminated pool was drained and rehabilitated. While Board members worked to organize the recovery, residents pitched in with employees to clean up the grounds. Mark Pestano, Joe Anastasi, Eric Berkowitz, Mark Gregory, Bill Tennenbaum and many others worked with staff to clear the debris inundating the premises.

Ocean Manor Experienced Serious Damage
Ocean Manor Experienced Serious Damage
Southpoint and Plaza South suffered extensive damage to their lobbies. Associations dependent upon emergency generators using diesel fuel or gasoline weren’t able to replenish depleted fuel supplies. Ocean Manor Condominium Hotel experienced serious exterior damage including the collapse of the Tiki Bar adjacent to the pool area. Galt Ocean Club lost several rooftop water towers, one of which now adorns their tennis court. During the storm, Regency residents facing north witnessed dozens of non-compliant windows in Playa del Mar systematically extracted. Similarly, owners of south-facing units saw many of Galt Ocean Club’s 15 lost windows torn out. Ocean Summit reported the loss of about 80 non-compliant windows. In addition to losing over 20 non-compliant windows, Galt Towers also lost some windows to a sizable chunk of concrete balcony railing knocked off the second penthouse of Plaza South. Regency South, Royal Ambassador, Southpoint, Ocean Riviera, Caribé, Playa del Sol, Commodore and Coral Ridge Towers North also reported losing large numbers of non-compliant windows. With few exceptions, Associations assessing unit damage reported direct correlations between the extent of the damage and the window types protecting the units. An unusual phenomenon characterized as a mini-burst, a sort of mini-tornado generated when high winds are trapped in a particular structural configuration, seems to have occurred on the north side of Commodore’s parking deck. Fierce winds carried a car from the Commodore parking deck over the perimeter wall to the Playa del Sol parking deck. L’Hermitage, wherein construction permits were issued in the mid to late nineties subject to the post-Andrew construction codes, was caught in a code twilight zone. The technological teeth were put into the current Miami Protocols in 2001 and 2002 when testing and protection standards were solidified and upgraded to more closely match the threats faced by acceptable products. As such, unlike the more recently installed impact windows that successfully withstood Wilma’s onslaught, many of L’Hermitage’s windows were devastated. In response to Wilma, many Associations are reordering priorities to incorporate upgrades to their emergency response systems and accelerate their building-wide protection programs. Priority repairs to roofing, A/C systems and structural damage will also occupy Galt Associations for the immediate future.

Mile long line at BP Gas Station at 6th Street and Federal Highway
GAS STATION LINE
6th St & FED HWAY
Another critical development surfaced in the form of endless gas lines. While local gas stations had full tanks, many of them had no power to pump the gas to waiting vehicles. The few stations that secured emergency generators were beset by thousands of motorists and gas generator owners needing another day’s fuel supply. Miles-long lines of vehicles surrounded the operational stations all day on Tuesday and Wednesday. At closing time, station owners called the police to help suppress flaring tempers of drivers notified that they would have to wait until morning to finally gas up. Hundreds of drivers who spent 6 to 7 hours waiting on line opted to sleep in their vehicles rather than relinquish their place on line and “try again tomorrow.” Many ran out of gas while waiting for service. When stations opened the following morning, vehicles with empty tanks had to be pushed up to the pump to get gas. Many stations instituted a $10, $20, or $25 maximum allocation policy. Evidently, adequate gas reserves were available once Port Everglades regained the power needed to offload fuel. The stumbling block will continue to be power to the individual gas stations. As more stations get power from FP&L or obtain emergency generators to pump their gas, the crisis will abate.

Toys-R-Us on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale
TOYS-R-US on Federal Highway
Seneca, a mid-1st century AD Roman philosopher said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Luck is what Regency Tower experienced when beset by the strongest rated hurricane in recorded history. Drawing on the lessons learned over the past two years, Regency Tower instituted an Emergency Hurricane Plan addressing both resident safety precautions and building-wide preparation protocols. As compared to many of our neighbors, Regency Tower was one of the best prepared Associations in the Galt Mile neighborhood. Instead of depending upon official “Watch” or “Warning” alerts to trigger preparation response, work was commenced based upon the actual time estimated to complete those preparations. Balconies were secured, the roof was secured and elevators were brought to emergency status prior to the power outage. Responding to the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s admonition, “The most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property is to protect the areas where wind can enter,” Regency Tower’s grass roots Impact Windows Project protected the vast majority of our residents’ homes.

After the catastrophe, the Board reacted quickly to assess the damage and organize efforts to soften the storm’s effect on residents - both here and abroad. Despite being unable to return from North Carolina until Fort Lauderdale Airport was reopened on October 29th, President Dott Nicholson-Brown remained in constant contact with the office, overseeing recovery efforts. Vice President Pablo Verol met with Board members Fern McBride, Louise Collins, Iris Anastasi, Bill Tennenbaum and Eric Berkowitz to help organize and execute a recovery plan. Prior to the return of water and power, the Board compensated for the vacuum created when employees had difficulty getting to work - adjusting shifts to bolster security and afford assistance to those in need.
Regency Tower Maintenance Crew Works Toward Recovery
Maintenance Crew Aids Recovery
Our maintenance department gave the office staff temporary emergency power to provide residents with a critical communications center. While created for office personnel to answer owners’ questions about the condition of their units, the individual unit damage assessment also served as a repair guide, indicating to maintenance staff which units needed temporary emergency repairs. Holes left where non-compliant windows were ripped from the building were covered with plywood. When damage to the water tower was discovered, board and resident volunteers personally turned off every A/C unit in the building to prevent possible burn-out when the power was restored. Once damage to the water tower was repaired (within two days), the A/C units were turned back on. Board members were in contact with City and County officials, obtaining crucial information and encouraging repair efforts needed to recover water and electricity. While the Board and our employees worked to stabilize life after Wilma, our greatest resource was our residents. People wanting to help one another and the building volunteered their assistance without being asked. The lobby became an exchange, with people offering batteries, candles, water or other help to neighbors. Those with “sterno” stoves left hot meals for those they thought in need. People patrolled their floors, checking on neighbors whose names they didn’t know. As many of us have long known, the people that live here are special. Wilma offered them another opportunity to demonstrate just how special they are.

Along with some of the information presented above, an article on the Galt Mile Community Association web site has a more comprehensive overview of what happened to the Galt Mile neighborhood and the rest of Broward County. Click Here to check it out!

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