Boca Del Mar’s Whitehall Community and Penn-Florida

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As you know, the Whitehall community lost Balboa Lane due to its Attorney and two previous board members who didn’t feel a board meeting was necessary before moving forward agreeing to the closure of the roadway.  Residents were not well-served by these folks who caused everyone time and money on both sides.

Penn-Florida, having the signed agreements from these two board members and knowing Whitehall had closed the road for years (we had the ability to re-open it if we needed to evacuate), went ahead and filed their petition.  Who could blame them?

I can now honestly say I do blame Penn-Florida!  Our present BOD did nothing after the hearing – case closed!  I’m not one for sitting back and complain.  I emailed Commissioner Abrams, the Board of County Commissioners and Penn-Florida sending him an email with all the information regarding Balboa Lane.  I also sent all the information to Mr. Robert Weinroth, Boca Raton City Council member, who is running for Palm Beach County Commissioner (Democrat) District 4.  That evening, I received an email from Mr. Weinroth saying he viewed the video and all the attachments and actually read the entire string of my emails.  I was totally impressed knowing his busy schedule.  Weinroth stated “he will make some inquiries….”  He also said that he would “reach out to the parties to see if there’s any way to offer the neighbors a solution.”  Way to go Mr. Weinroth – looking out for the residents!  He has my vote!

In my follow-up conversation with Mr. Weinroth, he told me that he was able to speak with Mr. Mark Gensheimer, President of Penn-Florida who was going to look into the matter.   Later that morning, I received a phone call from Mr. Frank Weed’s office (VP Development and Construction) stating he was going to discuss the issue with his Board of Directors. I had a sigh of relief knowing it wasn’t a closed issue.  I really couldn’t imagine their BOD, having all my info, would turn down the community and close Balboa Lane for “golf holes”.

Ha, I was dead wrong!

With two emails to Penn-Florida and numerous phone calls, there was never a response one way or the other.  I have worked with Presidents, Vice Presidents and well-known show biz folks; no one would avoid a phone call or email.   They always responded one way or another.  Apparently, Penn-Florida doesn’t care about the community – golf holes are more important than our safety and convenience.  Boca Del Mar Country Club was a great neighbor.  It’s unfortunate when Penn-Florida bought Via Mizner Golf & Country Club that didn’t spill over to the community.

Message to the Board of County Commissioners:

I would like to see your policies revised.  Each situation is different and should be handled accordingly.  In our case, we came up with the short end of the stick through no fault of the entire community – bad legal representation and two board members affected an entire community.  I believe an “appeal” should be looked at when warranted.  Please have “open ears” to all residents and not only “developers”.

Message to the friends and family who lost a loved one at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting:  My prayers and thoughts go out to you.  We shouldn’t be losing teachers who protect their students from flying bullets.   This is insane.

Boy oh boy, how great it is for all the students to come together to make a difference. They went to Tallahassee and spoke out to the Politicians to make it safe for all schools – what courage.  Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and Jaclyn Corin, survivors/activists head up the “March for Our Lives” to Washington on March 24 along with other schools throughout the U.S.   This is taking more than a village – it’s taking the entire school districts from all cities to make a difference. THANK YOU!

What makes for a good community is for everyone to be involved and work together.   A lesson Penn-Florida should learn – look out for everyone’s safety and in our case, also convenience!

Big shout-out to the First Responders for their continued service.

Thanks to Mr. Al Zucaro for his dedication to our community in keeping us informed and give us a platform to rant and bring issues to the forefront.

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. ” ~ Audrey Hepburn

Open Letter to the Community: ‘Developer Friendly’ Extends to County too

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Sandi Smolker has been a full-time resident at Whitehall Condominiums since 1996. She's been proactive making sure the residents are getting correct information and holding the BOD accountable with financial matters. Originally from New York, she moved to Los Angeles, California where she was the Assistant and Production Coordinator to well-known Executive Producers, Producers, Directors, Writers and Actors. She was the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Marketing for the #1 manufacturer of vitamins and nutritional supplements located in Boca Raton. Sandi created, manufactured and marketed novelty items for the Hollywood community. Being a dog lover, she persuaded Palm Beach County to build a dog park in the South County Regional Park (Canine Cove). She penned two books: "Bernie The Skinny Dog" and "Who's Your Vet?" Her recent project is getting a “bird sanctuary” in the South County Regional Park. As a wildlife photographer, her photos are sold on getty images’ website for “stock photography”.

11 COMMENTS

  1. If there are any country club members who are unaware of this issue, you now have all the facts. Keeping the road open to all is also a convenience for you as Commissioner Abrams, after a meeting, used Balboa Lane to cut over to Camino Real – time saving for all! Without a voice, there is no change! Please help the Boca Del Mar community and contact Mr. Mark Gensheimer, President. 561.750.1030. Thanks a bunch!

  2. More Sandi Smolker’s makes for a better community for all. As the slogan went in the 1960’s: Act locally, think globally.

  3. Thank you Sandi, for being a voice for us! I agree that 400 units and their occupants should not have to suffer because of bad decisions by previous board members and not aggressive enough current board members or poor legal representation. Thank you again for being our voice.

    • Thank you Rachel for your comment, it’s much appreciated. The 480 units all come equipped with a voice, but most choose not to use it.

      “This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
      There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.”

  4. I totally agree that the residents got the short end of the stick in this deal. There is a reason why that road is there and Penn-Florida had no right to take it away from Whitehall. What I do not understand is what you expected the Palm Beach Board of Commissioners to do. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe they regulate decisions made by association boards, no matter how ridiculous those decisions might be. The PBC Commissioners are very developer friendly including Commissioner Abrams. I live on the south course and know that so well. It is encouraging that Mr. Weinroth was willing to get involved.

  5. Hi Janet,

    Thanks for your concern. Once we received the letter from Maureen Barber, Technical Assistant II PBC Land Development Division about the public hearing, which none of us were aware of this issue until we received the letter, the BOD hired the Atty. to fight the issue against Penn-Florida who filed the petition.

    You are correct though, they don’t regulate decisions made by BOD. Guess what…DBPR only gives a warning letter if they violate the Fla. Statutes – they do not uphold the By-Laws made by the association. I think they will only receive a fine if they get 3 violations on the same issue. The money is not coming out of the board members pocket, it comes from the reserves, which is the residents pocket. The BOD has the final business decision even if the residents don’t like it.

    This is a good website for residents: http://www.ccfj.net/

    I never met Mr. Weinroth, but he definitely has my vote. He’s running against Susan Haynie (Rep.) – general election will be Nov. 6th. Vote wisely!

  6. Thank you, Sandi, for always looking out for Whitehall owners. Your hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated. I concur with your post and think it is a shame that we can’t trust our BODs to be transparent. I sincerely hope Penn Florida takes this under consideration, or at the very least listens to the community in the future, and I pray that our new BOD doesn’t make decisions without us voting on them!

  7. You’re welcome Patricia. Thanks for your comment, it’s much appreciated. Let’s hope our residents will ALL have a voice with our new BOD. They need to take action even if legally the BOD has the final decision on all matters. They too live here – they need to do the right thing! I always hear people say “they must be getting kick-backs.” Until one has proof, it’s heresay.

    Penn-Florida also has to do “the right thing” by keeping Balboa Lane open. Apparently they agreed to speak with the residents about their new plans for Via Mizner Golf & CC as we have concerns…let’s see what happens. I’m guessing they won’t be changing their position re: Balboa Lane and will only fill us in regarding their clubhouse renovation and golf course.

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