Boca Raton – Not So Resident Friendly

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When an elected official takes office, the voters hope for that official to do the right thing for ALL the people.

Separately, when questionable issues confront you repeatedly, it’s hard not to take notice.

In the City of Boca Raton, there exists a circumstance where our City Council has consistently neglected or ignored the majority of residents while favoring a select few.

Here are some recent actions from our City Council that have gotten my attention and lead me to determine it’s time for change; to wit: a change for the better, a change toward a ‘resident friendly’ city.

Despite considerable publicized resident opposition and the fact that the City’s Zoning Board denied approval, not once but twice, the City Council granted a questionable variance to a single parcel of ocean side property at 2500 N. Ocean Blvd. which allows for the construction of a 10,000-sq. ft., multi-story residence. This allowed for the approval process to proceed to a state level approval which has now been granted. Despite the City Attorney advising council members that “Each variance stands on its own”, those that voted approval used the excuse that variances granted decades ago to property West of A1A were precedent setting.  Now, other adjacent properties are in jeopardy. The council favored the developer….

The City Council, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, was actively working to monetize city owned waterfront property which led to a citizen’s petition and ultimately the placement on the ballot where citizens prevailed. The public made their wishes known three times prior to the November 8th vote.  The council favored the developer…

The City Council changed rules and essentially ignored city codes to accommodate an applicant for an oversized building project for the 770 E. Palmetto Park Rd. Chabad project. A suit decided in District Court by a five-judge panel found the City Council acted illegally. This forces the applicant to reapply for approval. In addition, the City must follow and enforce codes and ordinances. Thus far, the council has favored the developer…

Despite a well-organized outcry from surrounding neighborhoods and residents, the City Council approved a sixty percent increase in density of the 80-acre site north of the city airport known as University Village. The council favored the developer…

Despite resident objection, the City Council changed an ordinance that reduced the requirement from a 2.0 acres’ minimum site, to a 1.25 acres per site, to build a 140’ tall building. This Boca Raton version of ‘spot zoning’ was done to accommodate the submittal of a favored architect’s commercial property to construct Tower 155, now under construction. The council favored the developer…

The City Council attempted to sell the city owned Ocean Stand property to a hotel group for usage as a private beach club. A successful citizen petition, and lawsuit, resulted in a reversal by City Council. Siml vs Boca Raton. The council favored the developer…

More items can certainly be added to the above list.  But the findings are obvious.

Ask yourself, what have the individuals on your City Council done to support you, vs the development community?  What has the Council asked in return for the granting of these profitmaking variances and approvals?  Are the council members moderating growth or going hell-bent on building huge projects which will affect your everyday enjoyment; your quality of life?  Are they developer friendly or resident friendly?

It is no secret that political campaigns are heavily funded by the development community and developer funded PAC’s. With only one exception, every member of our current council has their eyes set on higher office in the next year or two and therefore in need of this coveted PAC money…If the coveted PAC money plays any part in the decision-making process by those holding office today, it is a betrayal of public trust and a clearly misplaced loyalty.  You be the judge of whether our council members have such misplaced loyalty!

Please pay attention during the March election cycle. Make sure your selections represent your view of what you want for Boca Raton. It’s our city, the residents, not their city, the developers.

Protect your community for the future, you can make a difference and the November 8th vote proved you right.

Your vote is your voice; let your voice be heard in March, 2017!!!

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Nancy and James Hendrey arrived in Boca Raton 32 years ago as IBMers. From Hawaii to Dallas to Atlanta and Boca, for them, IBM meant "I've Been Moved". In 1988 they chose to leave IBM management and take an employee "buyout" and start their own business. Twenty-five years later they chose to retire and stay in place. "With our previous experience as teachers, sales professionals, product developers, advertising managers, small business owners and real estate developers, we both have unspent energy, especially when it comes to protecting the city we love."

9 COMMENTS

  1. An excellent summary of the ills which produced Boca’s building binge– the surprise conversion of the village of Boca Raton into a “new urban center.” An “urban center” filled with tasteless new buildings designed solely to maximize the developer’s profit. An “urban center” where it is difficult to drive and impossible to park. An urban planning black hole. If Boca Raton is the best money can buy, then some members of our City Council sure sold out cheaply.

  2. James, your article was extremely well done. Thank you for all you have done for Boca Raton. It is amazing how 1 voice can turn into 26,000 voices. There is one area that wasn’t discussed and that was how the city council sold out the residents when they supported the 1 cent sales tax which is designed to raise $2.7 Billion over 10 years from all county residents. Boca will account for 15% or around $300 million which will go to developers in other areas of the county. Our city council other them one astute member made the top ‘developer friendly’ list. They had the ability to educate the city of Boca and refused . They still refuse to get involved when asked to appoint a Boca friendly resident to the citizens oversight committee. Developers are focusing on this $2.7 Billion slush fund. Boca needs change. March 2017 elections can’t come soon enough.

  3. It is well know that developers pay off politicians to obtain zoning changes, variances , etc.. Why else would a politician vote against the best interest of the residents they supposedly represent and their own interests as residents of the city.
    Throw these corrupt bums out of office!

    • You know, it’s pretty disappointing when you read ignorant comments as made above by Mr. “Greg”… How dare he assume and make a global statement that “It is well know (I think he meant known), that developers pay off politicians to obtain zoning changes, variances, etc.” . Boca Raton’s development review system is one of the toughest in the state. If anything, from my 24 years here, they follow the rules and bend over backwards to try to meet the majority of its constituency. From what reference book or legal manual did he get that information? It’s one thing to speak out with your opinion, it’s another to make such outrageous claims!!! Sorry, but that only makes the rest of us and our community appear UGLY to the rest of the World. How stupid can one person be???

      Alan R. West

  4. It’s ironic that the banner on this web blog site touts the success of Mizner Park. Mizner Park was one of the most contested projects in the city by the residents of the surrounding neighborhood. My wife and her neighbors were some of the most vocal.

    The problem with citizen input at public hearings on most development projects, regardless of intensity, is that the most vocal participants are the ones that oppose the project. The citizen that don’t object to the project depend on the City Council to see through obvious bias and as representative of the republic and not the majority, vote in a manner that is in the best interest of the community and not the vocal majority. We would still have slavery if the majority was the rule.

    • Tony, you don’t make any sense. Your wife was vocal against Mizner and were vocal but than you are against people that are vocal and you are counting on the city council to protect your interests in this “republic” from vocal people. I don’t know how slavery got involved. Many of us were vocal against the city giving away intercoastal land as in Wildflower property but they blew us off so one guy named James Hendrey became our leader and we won 26k to 12k in a vote. This is how it works. Tony, come to the meetings. Get involved. Adopt an issue. Become passionate. Than join us in trying to shape Boca’s future. In less than 90 days we will have an opportunity…It is called Boca city council elections in March. Her name is Andrea Levine O’Rourke. Tony, get involved. See you at the meetings. Jack Mcwalter

  5. The FBI uses applicable federal laws, including the Hobbs Act, to investigate violations by public officials in federal, state, and local governments. A public official is any person elected, appointed, employed, or otherwise having a duty to maintain honest and faithful public service. Most violations occur when the official solicits, accepts, receives, or agrees to receive something of value in return for influence in the performance of an official act. The categories of public corruption investigated by the FBI include legislative, judicial, regulatory, contractual, and law enforcement.
    I’ll leave it at that.

  6. One only has to drive through the Palmetto Park Rd area to see the developing ugly “concrete jungle” being created by the over zealous developers.
    The failure of the City Council to listen to the residents of Boca Raton who care and love our city is a disgrace and unpardonable.

  7. Many of you have heard of a Palm Beach Post columnist that just last week ranked the 39 cities in the county. He ranked Boca 12th as being elitist and whatever, he has always made fun of boca, but he gave first to West Palm Beach since it had a lot of parks and green space along with lots of parking in downtown. I go there to county commissioner meetings a lot and I noticed the same. As Boca fills in with 14 story buildings I don’t see any public parking being planned in Boca. In the building where the county meets there is a large picnic area with tables and chairs where people hang out for lunch, etc. There is plenty of green space between buildings with trees and grass. Buildings were setback 20 to 30 feet instead of 6 in boca. Development is good and we should be glad that developers want to invest in boca but why can’t we manage it better. Lets start by some changes in city council March 2017. Jack Mcwalter

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