First, the good news.

At a recent City of Boca Raton Planning and Zoning Board PZB) meeting, the PZB members voted 6 – 0 to approve rezoning a portion of a 2.03 acre site at the southwest corner of East Palmetto Park Road and A1A to allow the construction of a 7 story 70 unit luxury condominium building. This project, named Ocean Palm, began many months ago as a proposed hotel before the Owner and his Development Team began discussions with surrounding neighbors and the Riviera Civic Association (RCA) which is the local neighborhood association.

After receiving feed back from the neighborhoods, the Project morphed into a residential condominium building. As discussions with the neighbors continued, the Development Team made changes to the design of the building and introduced peripheral traffic calming devices in order to present the final product to the PZB.

Contrary to past development project “negotiations” with neighbors, Ocean Palm has created a viable template for future cooperative efforts to move projects more efficiently through the approval process. RCA and the Ocean Palm neighbors commend the diligent efforts of both the Owner and his Development Team to be “resident friendly” thus far through the development and project approval process. We all hope that more real estate developers will mirror the efforts of the Ocean Palm Project.

Now, the bad news.

Just when you thought that Boca City Hall was becoming more transparent in its deliberations, City Staff introduced a new Medical Marijuana Text Amendment at the same PZB meeting. This proposed ordinance would prohibit medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities in all zoning districts within the City of Boca Raton – a citywide ban on any medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities. When asked by one of the PZB members who ordered this citywide ban, City Staff replied that it could not reveal the source – here we go again!!! Not only was this proposed ordinance developed in secret by some unidentified City official, but also City Staff went along for the ride and was equally complicit. I had thought that the days of secret discussions behind closed doors were finally over for the residents of Boca Raton, but it seems that old habits truly die hard.

Fortunately, the PZB members voted down this poorly drafted proposed ordinance to prohibit medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities within all zoning districts in the City of Boca Raton. Bravo to the PZB for understanding the malfeasance of this proposed ordinance and ending its existence, at least for the time being.