Re-Introducing Boca Royale – Again

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Last week BocaWatch published an article about the Hidden Valley Golf Course and the developer’s proposal to place over 100 residential homes on what is the only remaining green space in the north end of town.

The developer’s proposal has been reviewed and rejected by city staff; reviewed and rejected by the P&Z Board and continually opposed by most, if not all, the residents in the Hidden Valley section of the city. Yet, for some reason the City Administration placed this item on Tuesday night’s agenda under the section of Introduction of Ordinances;

Ordinance No. 5444 states as follows:

“An ordinance of the City of Boca Raton considering amendments to the transportation element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan; amending an objective and policy to establish an alternative transportation concurrency standard (ATCS) for the Boca Royale Planned Unit Development (PUD) to satisfy traffic concurrency along Northwest 2nd Avenue/East Country Club Boulevard north of Yamato Road, subject to certain mitigation measures and conditions, and authorizing execution of a mitigation agreement; deleting references to the Ocean Breeze Development, an expired project; deleting obsolete statutory references; reaffirming that an ATCS may only be authorized by the City Council through an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan; considering a universal conditional amendment to the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan by redesignating certain property consisting of approximately 55.12 acres, generally located at 7601 East Country Club Boulevard, from Recreation and Open Space (PR) to Residential Low (RL), subject to conditions; providing for revisions to the Future Land Use Map; providing for severability; providing for repealer; providing an effective date (SC-17-09)”

In layman’s terms, the Introduction of Ordinance process brings the item forward and the Chair asks which council member wants to move the introduction. Once a council member moves the introduction forward, there is no further discussion, no action by the council; no public comment. With that one council member’s action, the item now is on course to be presented to the City Council at the next meeting for action; action to accept or reject the developer’s proposal on its merits. Had no council member moved the introduction forward, the item would have failed for lack of action and the developer would not be afforded the opportunity to present the zoning change proposal.

City Council members, who were well versed on the Introduction of ordinance process, could have simply remained silent and not introduced the ordinance; by remaining silent, the Council would have accommodated the Hidden Valley residents; would have signaled support for city staff and the P&Z Board’s rejection of the developer’s proposal.  Simply by remaining silent when the item was brought forward….but no….one City Council member introduced the ordinance benefiting the developer with what will be a full hearing on the merits.

Council member Jeremy Rodgers is the developer’s champion here.

By introducing the Ordinance, Council member Rodgers now allows the proposal, a proposal that has been found to fail on many levels, the chance to win approval at the City Council level.

A hearty ‘thank you’ is now being extended to Councilman Rodgers from the residents, your constituents, in Hidden Valley….

What were you thinking???

Al Zucaro, Publisher

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Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Jeremy Rodgers we are very disappointed that you that you expressed your support by introducing the ordinance for the Hidden Valley Golf Course and supporting the developer. We though you understood how the neighborhood felt. After all you ran on a Platform of controlling development. Clearly not.

  2. The proposed rezoning of the former Hidden Valley golf course is a bad idea. I will review many of the issues I have with this proposal. Other residents of the area will be emailing you and attending any meeting on which the proposal is voted on to let you know their feelings. There is no significant support for this project other than the owners of the land and the developer.

    The development’s need for so many modifications and mitigation payments illustrates why this development is a bad fit for this property. For example, the minimum lot frontage has to be reduced because so many of the houses are on cul-de-sacs. This is due the the shape of the property and its limited access. The lake exceeds the maximum open space percentage for water bodies because of the significant drainage issues with this site. The reduced minimum lot size is not necessary except to increase the developer’s profits, and it increases the property’s density. In turn, this increases the impact on schools, roads, etc. Fill has to be added to building sites to raise them out of the flood zone. There is a single access road into and out of the neighborhood, which creates a safety hazard, and concentrates traffic impacts. The proposed $250,000 transportation mitigation is inadequate, By my calculations, the Comprehensive plan calls for $6,000,000. But no matter how much mitigation money is paid, NW Second Ave. cannot be widened, so the traffic impacts cannot be mitigated in this location. Schools do not have capacity for more homes in this location. The proposed mitigation payment does not adequately address capacity problems and will cause redistricting for the surrounding neighbors. Objective PFSE 1.1.0 in the Comprehensive plan requires development to ensure that the capacity of schools is sufficient. This is not being met as you can see from the School District letter, Ex. H.

    In addition, the original plat stated that the property was zoned recreational in perpetuity. Many neighbors have moves to this area at least partly in reliance on the recreational status of this land. Nobody has justified the removal of this restriction. Nobody has indicated that any attempt has been made or even evaluated to re-purpose this land in keeping with its recreational zoning.

    This is the last bit of open space in this area. Adding homes to this site removes green space without any accompanying improvement in parks service to this area. This is an ongoing trend, and needs to be addressed.

    The Developer claimed neighbors overwhelmingly supported this project. This is a false statement. There are several objective indicators that the neighbors are very opposed to this project. The Planning and Zoning meeting public responses and the overwhelming negative response received by the developer at the information meeting on February 24, 2018 are just two examples.

    Any development that changes the current drainage pattern will stir up arsenic that resulted from the use of fertilizer on the golf course. This contamination was found on many greens and tees from the former golf course by companies who tested in the past. A recent set of soil sample tests were done. Unfortunately the company that conducted the test chose to take samples from locations on the course where the least contamination would likely be found. Out of the 36 former tees and greens, only two were the subject of soil tests. The remaining soil samples were taken from areas far from the tees and greens. This means that additional testing by an unbiased company must be conducted before any modifications are done to the drainage pattern.

    Several neighbors have estimated that the development will cause a reduction of at least 15% in their property values due to increased traffic, school overcrowding and revised boundaries, and loss of views and open space. There has been no mention of this by the developer. Claims that more traffic and a change in our boundaries will raise our property values are nonsense.

    This developer is a flipper. There is no real commitment to see this project or any other through to completion that provides an improved quality of life to the area. People choose this city and this particular area specifically based on the City’s comprehensive planning goals and objectives. Changing those goals to accommodate a single developer is short-sighted for the City and has enormous impacts on the City’s residents. Comprehensive planning is best done with a long, broad vision, not in response to one owner’s desire to make the most money possible off their land.

    The residents of Boca Raton spoke during the most recent elections. They want a City that has balance, and they feel that has not happened recently. This is a chance to create an opportunity for Boca, and we need you to say yes to that opportunity!

  3. We had the opportunity to remove Councilman Rodgers from the equation and accept a person with the education and experience to “understand the process”, one who was not funded by developers as was/is Mr. Rodgers. But this was not to be because Singer and O’Rourke felt threatened by a quality new comer. As follow-on, Singer wants a City Charter change that prohibits qualified candidates to enter the process until they fulfill a “timed” residency requirement. Look what a time qualification did for Jeremy Rodgers. He lives here but chooses to accept funding from the development crowd over the wants and needs of voters and residents because he’s paid to do so. Time is not a good test of quality or ability.

    Yeah, great charter change, fixing something that ain’t broke. The public knew what Andy Thomson was all about, a true “Carpetbagger” by definition – he’s another Rodgers put in place by the Chamber of Commerce, again, at the expense of residents and our quality of life. Thomson remains a carpetbagger by virtue of the “motives”that got him to move here. Read your dictionary, please. Yet, we would deny a Kim Do? Pathetic.

  4. Jeremy Rodgers a city council member who works for this community owes an explanation to the residents of this community as well as to the residents of the city of Boca, regarding why he proposed this rezoning issue on behalf of this developer, be up for a vote.

  5. Don’t be so hard on Jeremy Rodgers. He is taking one for the team.
    This application deserves to be voted up or down based on it’s merits, not to fail for some procedural reason. Extend to the applicant every opportunity for a fair hearing and THEN judge council members on their actions.

  6. Larry, you are probably right. Jeremy wants to give the so called developer a hearing. But James is right also . We are all very sensitive because Jeremy said he would support the Ocean breeze golf course and than was the lone vote against it. We are confused. BUT a huge opportunity as shown up in a tennis complex that was turned down by the park district that would be perfect for the 55 acre golf course. Some smart leaders in the Hidden Valley area have polled the locals and found this could be a win win for everybody. The Nadel Group wants to build an indoor tennis facility with outdoor also with a small dormitory for international students . I guess 20 employees and maybe 100 students with no cars would be perfect for the area. Combine this with the park guys chipping in for a passive area for walking and biking. I was told rezoning wouldn’t be needed since zoned recreational use. The city supports it. Now the Nagel Group needs to understand along with the Rae family this is the best solution for all. Larry, I am assuming if the city and the residents are ok the P&Z board would have no objections.

  7. Can someone please provide me with the latest status? I’m a concerned prospective homebuyer that would like to raise kids there. I’m interested in a particular house to buy in your neighborhood. I’m doing my research and can’t seem to find out the latest after Boca Royale re-emerged on the council Agenda on April 4th.

    Thanks in advance.

    • I believe that the items was pulled at the last minute by the developer and has not been rescheduled as of today….You should be able to verify this with the neighborhood association. Hope this is helpful. AZ

    • It was shot down. Its not happening . The tennis court is a great idea.
      As to you buying to raise kids. They are trying to rezone the schools . There talking about hidden valley using Del Rays High school. I myself just bought a house in Hidden Valley specific to my daughter going to Boca High school. Should the rezoning go threw I would suspect Hidden valley will be flooded with homes for sales, reducing values. Should my daughter be forced to Atlantic HS . You can buy my house .others plan the same.

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