A little more than a year ago – April 9, 2015 to be exact – The City of Boca Raton, Planning and Zoning Board conducted a meeting for the purpose of consideration to re-zone the Wildflower property. Part of the proceedings included a traffic study conducted by the City of Boca Raton Traffic Department.  In fact, the portion that included the traffic study turned out to be a major focus of the P&Z Board. Ultimately, the Board voted four-to-three to recommend to the City Council the change in zoning which would accommodate a pending approval for a Hillstone restaurant.

After hearing testimony, I was skeptical of the findings which led to my investigation and ultimate finding of flaws in the Traffic Study.  In May, 2015 I prepared the following article for BocaWatch.   This link to the ten minute YouTube tells the real story. Please view it now. “Traffic Study…All We Ask For is a Fair Public Hearing.”

Now, some fifteen months later, the City Council will decide whether or not to approve the zoning change. The meeting is scheduled for July 26. But here’s the rub. In spite of the fact that the council has at its disposal updated, and significantly higher, traffic counts from 2015 and 2016, they will be using the same flawed Traffic Study from 2014 as part of the decision making process.

An item of significance, that to-date has not been fully explored, is the fact that during the 2015 presentation the traffic engineer for the City stated that intersections are not required to be studied unless there is a lane failure.  He further stated that there was a lane failure that was considered “de minimus” and therefore no intersection study was required.  It is possible that the updated traffic counts may reveal a different outcome than “de minimus”.  it is also possible that the updated circumstance could result in the four-three vote going the other way. Click YouTube

The significance of “lane failure” is important as it may require that a pending development project be scaled back in order to prevent the lane failure, or an intersection(s) may require modification in order to accommodate additional traffic.

Good governance, on behalf of citizens, would suggest a fresh look at the new traffic counts with a new submission to replace the flawed study of 2014.

Items of Note:

  1. If not adopted by the City Council in August, the referendum related to City owned property on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway, which includes the Wildflower property, is scheduled to appear on the November ballot. Why any rezoning approval would occur prior to this vote is puzzling.
  2. The City of Boca Raton has not submitted their 2016 traffic counts to Palm Beach County.  However, upon request the City did provide this information

    traffic


In the meantime, it is the opinion of this writer and of BocaWatch that no further action be taken on any item regarding the Wildflower land until a final vote on the Intracoastal Waterway Referendum occurs in November.

George O’Rourke