As President of BocaBeautiful.org, I am often asked “Why do you bother?” or “What have you accomplished?” Looking around Boca as it has mushroomed in the past five years, it is easy to conclude that the battle to save the character and quality of our city has been lost.
But to give up now is to ignore 1) the dramatic political shift that Boca’s building binge is producing, and 2) the raft of enormous development projects that are still awaiting approval. Make no mistake. The defenders of development are far from finished. There are development projects on the drawing board for downtown and midtown Boca that could result in 50% more construction between now and 2020, and a commensurate increase in traffic, parking, water, pedestrian safety and other problems. The battle for Boca is far from over. There is still time to get it right.
So what have organizations like BocaBeautiful.org accomplished with your hard-earned donations?
- We have highlighted the problems of overdevelopment in downtown Boca Raton. Thanks in part to our efforts, this is now a hot button issue.
- We have done this through our website, with full page newspaper ads in the Sun Sentinel and Coastal Star, in articles and Facebook posts on the widely-read BocaWatch site, in press interviews, through our repeated presence and presentations at City Council and other government meetings, and by coordinating with other concerned residents on development issues such as last November’s Boca Question ballot referendum.
- Through our efforts we have helped change the political dynamic in Boca. We have provided a channel for the residents to express their anger at what has happened here. As a result, no longer can a developer expect instant approval and zoning variances for any project. The City Council is suddenly wary of public disapproval and of what might happen in the Council elections this March.
- We have helped delay, for three years and running, the largest development project ever proposed for downtown Boca: 200 Mizner—the Monster on Mizner. The developer is regrouping for another try, and we will be there, urging them to pay attention to residents’ concerns.
- Above all, we have bought precious time for those who run this City to step back, take a breath, and to do the traffic and infrastructure planning necessary before any more massive construction projects are approved. We have given them a reason to say “no” to the developers who would rob our city of its distinctive style and elegance. We are providing a counter weight to years of developer dominance and developers’ money in Boca Raton politics.
With important City Council elections coming in March, now is not the time to give up the fight, throw up your hands in despair and move to Vero. Join us, and get involved in the effort to save what is left of Boca Raton that is really beautiful.
Want to make a difference? Make a donation to BocaBeautiful.org on our website or by mail to 500 SE Mizner Blvd. Apt A-109 Boca Raton FL 33432. We will be your voice at City Hall.