The gold necklace gleams as bright as the sun’s rays lighting the ocean dawn; radiant and shining. Her eyes played with the light the way honey teases an unsuspecting sunbeam. Her eyes and complexion match her glistening luxe jewels; like tea mixed with honey, orangey-brown. If Ellie Vail of Ellie Vail Jewelry had ever known failure or hardship, it didn’t show in her lucent looks and personality. Everything from the way she held herself, to the way she spoke, to that look of unassailable confidence in her eyes said she could run a successful business.
Publisher’s Comment: Not only have the City’s actions or lack thereof caused Midtown’s missed opportunity, the City Council has, in effect, caused actual and reputation damage in the present. Greater roadway congestion is a guarantee with the City’s sale of the Boca Muni Golf Course to GL Homes, who has announced density plans for over 550 units on the site; density that will contribute negatively to the already failed roadway of Glades Road without contributing one cent in tax revenues to the taxpayers of the City of Boca Raton. Sears is already vacant with the conversation for future use suggesting increased residential density, the one item that caused the Crocker missed opportunity. And, finally, just this week, Macy’s announced plans for a 10,000 sq.ft. discount merchandise application within its current space, a space that was once the premier shopping experience in Boca Raton; to wit: Town Center Mall. Incredibly disappointing outcomes orchestrated collectively by the entire City Council, current and past, but, in large part, orchestrated individually by Mayor Scott Singer and Councilmember Andrea O’Rourke. Opposition to Midtown has been a lose, lose circumstance. Boca Raton residents suffer all the downside outcomes and none of the upside benefits….Way to go City Council!!! Al Zucaro, Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL. – Crocker Partners, whose prominent mixed-use and office developments helped shape the City of Boca Raton over three decades, announced it will no longer pursue redevelopment plans for the Midtown Boca area. The company, however, will continue its claim for $137 million in damages from the City under Florida’s Bert Harris Act, with an appeal filed on October 15, 2019 by Henry Handler of Weiss, Handler & Cornwell, PA.
The company has discontinued two other lawsuits against the City since the remedies sought in those cases are moot with Midtown plans blocked by City Council. The first sought to have the court compel City Council to adopt updated development regulations, as required under the City’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan amendment designating Midtown as a Planned Mobility District (PMD). The second suit requested that ordinances passed by City Council in violation of the Sunshine Act and which precluded residential development, be invalidated.
“After trying to work with City Council for four years, revitalizing Midtown is off the table — a tremendous missed opportunity for the City and the community,” said Angelo Bianco, Crocker Partners Managing Partner. He noted that the overall redevelopment plan for Midtown, representing private sector investment exceeding $1 billion, would have transformed 300 acres of 1980s-era, strictly commercial projects into a cohesive, walkable, amenity-rich, live, work and play environment, while reducing traffic with new transit options and positioning the area for the future.
“City Council has made it clear that despite the Comprehensive Plan’s vision for Midtown, revitalizing the area is not of interest to it. Council members never even responded to proposals made nearly a year ago to resolve the dispute with Crocker Partners,” said Handler.
“All we ever asked of the City Council was to fulfill its legal responsibility to put updated zoning regulations in place so that we and other Midtown landowners could bring projects forward, still subject to the full approval process,” Bianco said. “Instead, City Council refused to adopt new state-required zoning regulations, in effect creating a building moratorium, which led to the damages lawsuit. City Council would not even adopt the mixed-use recommendations made by the outside consultant hired by the City to evaluate development of Midtown. When the consultant’s independent mixed-use vision did not match City Council’s regressive building moratorium policies, they fired him.”
Bianco said the opportunity to take a big picture, collaborative approach to the area’s future has passed. At the City’s request, Crocker Partners in 2015 brought together a coalition of Midtown landowners to draft proposed land use regulations for City Council’s consideration. The group did so, in line with the Comprehensive Plan, and patterned regulations after those adopted in 2015 for the City’s first PMD, the Arvida Park of Commerce. Now, given City Council’s inaction, those other land owners, including Trademark, owner of Glades Plaza; Cypress Realty, owner of Strikes and Nippers, and Town Center Mall’s Simon Properties, have also moved on with plans to individually redevelop or sell properties, he explained.
“It’s puzzling why City Council, led by Mayor Scott Singer and Councilmember Andrea O’Rouke, chose a diversionary strategy with the outside consultant and then disregarded his development insights rather than come to the table directly with a landowner with a track record of working amicably with the City,” said Handler. “Our clients call Boca Raton home, have helped shape the City’s quality of life and invested heavily in its future. With Midtown Boca, Crocker Partners was ready to do so again.”
Crocker Partners’ currently owns Boca Raton properties valued at $750 million, including Boca Center, which was to be the centerpiece of Midtown, One Town Center and The Plaza, also in Midtown, as well as the nearby One Boca Place.
The City’s Comprehensive Plan amendment designating Midtown Boca as a PMD recognized the need for a residential component and revitalization. The landowners’ conceptual plan called for high quality housing allowing people to live near work, millions of dollars in new infrastructure funded by the landowners, plus alternative modes of transportation and pedestrian-friendly improvements making it easier to get to and around Midtown and take cars off the road.
Without well planned, future-looking redevelopment of the area, Bianco said, Boca will be less competitive and Midtown will fall short of its potential, with aging infrastructure, stagnant tax revenues, and lacking viable solutions to the area’s existing traffic congestion.
Bianco noted that the City’s inaction may have a ripple effect. “What is the impact on Boca’s economy and future opportunities if investors and property owners can’t be confident in the City’s process and count on the City to meet its legal responsibilities?” he said. “The Midtown process has been costly to all sides, not least of all to the City’s taxpayers. Taking the legal route was the last thing we wanted to do but the City left us no choice.”
A few feet away I heard a couple of youthful voices. As I came around the corner, towards the entrance of the Publix, Cub Scout Pack 333, was holding their Annual Popcorn Fundraiser. For over 35 years, Trail’s End has partnered with the Scouts to fund their Scouting adventures. Their mission is to help Scouts, Units, and Councils raise more money in less time, so they can spend less time fundraising and more time Scouting. Trail’s End has their own oath, to make the best-tasting, highest-quality snacks possible and provide the best financial return to Scouting. It is their duty to ensure Scouts take pride in what they sell, and for their supports to be delighted with the products they receive.
The popcorn fundraising program builds character, and a strong foundation for life skills that will be a benefit for the youths involved in the Cub Scout program. I noticed the Cub Scouts’ social, and communication skills, in approaching the potential customers.
Zachary E. Bourgella’s delivery of the fundraising, and Cub Scout Pack 333 programs, were well articulated like a true professional. He answered all questions pose to him, without hesitation. Zachary, emphasized “The $10 Caramel Corn, was the most popular”. Luke Lacy and Ben Liu, readily mentioned their favorite to potential customers.
I was impressed by the determination of the Cub Scouts, to make a sale from the numerous customers, passing the popcorn display table. Let us show our encouragement towards our youths, by stopping by and making a purchase, or donation. Coming together as a Community, will make an impact in their lives, a moment the Cub Scouts will appreciate.
For more information, or to make a donation to Cub Scout Pack 333, please contact Cub Scout Pack 333 Leader, Christy Anderson at (954) 560-9086
No City Council seat should go unchallenged!
Representative government means that once elected, a council member’s vote is subject only to the resident voice on particular issues. Most issues go unnoticed by residents and those that generate resident interest are the exception rather than the rule.
In reality, the only time the resident get to identify a council person’s positions on issues is in the election process. Council members elected without opposition prevent the public debate on the political issues of the day.
Call to action: Candidates step forward. Hold the current council to the task of representing the resident.
For the most part, the current council has mostly been a disappointment.
Developers again seem to rule the roost.
You need only look at the candidate’s contributor list to see who the influencers are….Follow the money to predict what the future votes of your elected representatives will be.
Al Zucaro, Publisher
WAKE UP CALL
65,000 Registered Voters
Filing Deadlines Rapidly Approaching
The Qualifying Period for the Boca Raton City Election ( scheduled for March 17th 2020 ) is ending January 10th 2020
LESS THAN 90 DAYS FROM NOW
The Qualifying Period begins January 2nd 2020 at 8:00 AM and ends January 10th 2020 at 5:00 PM. “Even if a candidate has Pre-Qualified with the city, they must submit additional state and municipal forms with the required fees during the Qualifying Period,”
Seat A & Seat B Candidates have no opposition currently and will not have to face any competition.
Declared candidates for Mayor:
Declared candidate for Seat A:
Declared candidate for Seat B:
What is Wrong with this Picture ?
City Council Members Do Not Educate or Encourage Residents to Participate in Our Municipal Election as Candidates.
From the City’s Website’s [with links corrected] ‘Candidate Qualifying‘ page:
In order to qualify as a candidate, the following State and City forms must be completed and submitted during the qualifying period. All forms are available online as well as in the City Clerk’s Office.
Florida Division of Elections forms:
- DS-DE 9 – Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository
- DS-DE 84 – Statement of Candidate
- DS-DE 302NP – Candidate Oath
Florida Commission on Ethics form:
City of Boca Raton forms:
Important Information for Candidates
The Florida Election Code/Chapters 97 – 106 Florida Statutes
Candidate and Campaign Treasurer Handbook
Guide to the Sunshine Amendment and Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees
City Charter Chapter 2 Article V – Code of Ethics
City Code of Ordinances Chapter 6 – Elections
Palm Beach County Code of Ethics
I want to make a difference and Help a Qualified Resident Run for Seat A or B
Interested in being a candidate for the upcoming Boca Raton election? I coach and mentor potential candidates. Contact me, Bernard Korn – and I’ll give you the information, just like the information in this article, to improve your chances of winning.
Please call me for more information:
Bernard Korn – 561 482 9557
Beyond the beauty that once came from Nature here, and it’s treasured location containing some of the United State’s most beautiful beaches, there’s been more that’s made Boca Raton beautiful. There’s the structures, the buildings, the architecture.
Four Simple Questions:
Responding to requests from the community, the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District (the District) voted on Tuesday to keep the current tax rate in place for the upcoming fiscal year.
District commissioners unanimously approved a fiscal year 2019-20 budget expected to remain less than $40 million, projected to come from a millage rate of 0.9147 – the same millage rate as last year.
“Over the past couple weeks members of our community voiced their desire to keep the tax rate stable – at least for one more year,” Commission Chair Susan Vogelgesang said. “We encourage that kind of involvement from the community and try whenever possible to be responsive to community desires.”
The District had been considering raising the millage rate to help pay for upcoming projects at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Patch Reef Park and Sugar Sand Park. The District is also working with the City of Boca Raton to fund the to-be-developed Boca National Golf Course at the site formerly known as Boca Teeca and Ocean Breeze.
More than 150 members of the community attended Tuesday’s resumption of the District’s budget approval meeting.
Last week, when residents raised concerns about proposed funding for the Boca National project, commissioners recessed the meeting, instructing employees of the District to contact City officials to determine whether a last-minute compromise could be reached.
While such a consensus couldn’t be reached in the short time available, District commissioners on Tuesday made a good faith decision to hold the millage rate flat allowing additional time to solidify an agreement with City officials.
“I am more than willing to work with the city – our city, the community – to work together to come to a common understanding,” District Commissioner Craig Ehrnst said. “If we can’t, then we’ll come back next year and reconsider our options.”
In the coming years, the District intends to fund critical upgrades to the pumps and pipes at the City-owned Gumbo Limbo Nature Center aquariums, renovations of the community center at Patch Reef Park, and the construction of a second field house at Sugar Sand Park.
“It has been the history of the District to listen to the users of parks and facilities and provide them with the fields and recreational facilities that they will use for generations to come,” District Executive Director Briann Harms said. “Our Board is committed to building parks and recreational amenities that will serve the residents of today and tomorrow.”