Hidden Valley used to have a golf course. Now it’s abandoned and has returned to nature. But instead of leaving some of Boca Raton’s only green space left, a plan to develop it has resurfaced after being initially rejected: Boca Royale. Local residents are upset at the notion of having the area paved over and filled with more homes.

Rob Berthiaume, Boca Resident states:

Once again the travesty known as the Boca Royale project has been resurrected. The City Council Agenda for April 10th was posted today (April 4th), and the first reading of the ordinance that will permit this project to proceed has been placed on the Agenda. As you may recall, this matter was pulled at the last moment in February so that the developer could “communicate” with residents opposed to the project. At the meeting he set up on Feb. 24th his attorney and the developer tried their very hardest to convince us that rezoning the land was the best idea for the residents. The response was clear. One of the participants asked that all people opposed to the project stand, and the entire room with the exception of the family of the developer, his employees and one of the owners of the land (the developer still does not own the land), stood in opposition.

Why are we so opposed to this rezoning? There are a myriad of reasons, starting with the lack of recreational land in the north end of Boca Raton. Recreational land was clearly important to the early administrations and residents in Boca Raton. In 1966 Boca residents voted for a bond issue to buy the beaches (Red Reef, Spanish River and South Beach Park). Can you imagine what the City would be like if they said “NO”. Since that time both City Council and residents have recognized that recreational land, whether owned by the city or privately, is an important part of a great city. Recently we have had a glut of development, both downtown and in other parts of the city. The development in the north end of town on Federal and Congress has been incredible. There are literally thousands of housing units of all sorts that are proposed, planned, under construction or recently completed in that area. But what increase in recreational land has there been? None. (Ocean Breeze was already a golf course. We need to keep what little recreational land we have in this area. The owner can work with the City to make the land a fruitful recreational area for all sides. The balance between development and recreation is essential to making this a great city!

The developer has stated that he “does not build houses”. That clearly means that if the land is rezoned, he will sell it. The development he has proposed will never be built. Something else will take its place if it is rezoned. The developer likes to say that if his project is not built, the rezoning will “die”. But if the land has been rezoned once, can the city say “no” to another developer? Not likely. It will be rezoned again.

And what about his development? There is not enough time or space to list all the flaws in his proposal. Traffic comes to mind first. At rush hour, Second Ave has become a nightmare. This would add traffic. Second is rated an F road. It will get worse. The most frequent comment at the P and Z meeting was “Why not widen Second Ave.?”. Can you imagine what Boca Teeca would be like with an expressway running down the middle? And the intersection at Second and Clint Moore would rival the busiest intersections in town for traffic! How would you like to have your neighborhood changed like that?

The developer has asked for many deviations, exceptions and variations. Some are aesthetic, but there are also exceptions requested from rules about building in flood zones and Cat Five zones. These changes will put peoples lives at risk, and they are only the most notable changes. We are very fortunate that he has no intention of building this development, but what would take its place if the land is rezoned is frightening.

Recently the School District announced that they were looking at boundary changes once again. This development would add students to our schools. This can only reinforce the School District’s argument that they need to rezone our neighborhood. The developer has come to an agreement with the District that he will pay them to ignore the fact that his proposal will further crowd our schools (fact!!). Who will be left to deal with this problem? Will the developer or School District admit they exacerbated the problem and solve it? Again, not likely. Residents will have to bear the burden of solving this issue.

There are many uses that this land could be put to. The owners can put forward their plan for a recreational facility that will make them money, or sell the land to someone who is willing to make the land productive with this zoning. People purchased their homes in this area assuming that it would be recreational and to change that would be unfair. The owners have not even attempted to find uses other than residential. All the proposals so far have involved up to 400 housing units! And the land has sat vacant the whole time.

City staff worked with the developer to come up with a plan that they could approve. His plan failed.

  • They recommended that it not be approved.
  • The Planning and Zoning Committee recommended that it not be approved.
  • The City Manager recommends that it not be approved.
  • The Residents recommend that it not be approved.
  • Our residents elected Monica Mayotte and came very close to voting in Kim Do because they are tired of overdevelopment!

What does our our City Council say?

9 COMMENTS

  1. Many years from now our kids will thank us for fighting for them and their children. Think about this. We are fighting for the last open green space in north boca. The rest of boca should join us april 10th at city hall at 6 pm to fight for our kids and grand children. Boca is under siege. The developers want to steal every blade of grass for their pockets. If we don’t stop them now I ask you WHEN. If you agree and care show up next Tuesday night and let the city council know . If you don’t shame on you.

  2. Welcome to the world of residents living on the abandoned Mizner Trail Golf Course. We fought development for 10 years and finally lost to a developer-friendly PBC Commission that granted approval for development. Land east of I-95 is prime land and these developers will not give up. Based on the sheer amount of development that has been going on in Boca Raton the last several years, the city council of Boca Raton seems pretty developer-friendly to me. I think your best bet is to try and get Boca Raton to buy the abandoned course.

    People want to move here and there is nothing residents can do to stop the trainwreck that south Florida will become. Development is out of control everywhere in Florida. Good luck to you in your fight.

  3. No housing! I know many are opposed to a school going there yet many are for it. Couldn’t we propose a K-12 smaller scale school that can cater directly to north East Boca families? That would keep us safe for any rezoning for 30 years! That would keep our kids in the neighborhood and only us coming and going. If we opening it up as any other scale or type of school it would bring others Into the area adding traffic but if it’s the people already here and the majority of which could walk, I see that as a win win. That land is huge, a k-12 school to fit/ cater to around 600 students (something in that ball park) and then public athletic fields would maintain the green space issue and the school capacity issue. Add a running path, soccer fields, tennis courts, basketball court there is room for some really cool athletic and green space options with a smaller scale school which would cater directly to our needs are residents in school zone 309

  4. No more scare tactics!! Development is a good thing! It will bring jobs, new businesses, tourism, etc! Why have all that land that looks abandoned? New construction may even increase the value of the older homes in the area!! You have to stop scaring people! That is irresponsible!

    • Laurene,
      If you like the model: “It will bring jobs, new businesses, tourism, etc!” Perhaps you can visit greater Miami to see the full effects of unbridled over-development.
      Good Luck

    • Laurene, Sounds like you may not be living in our Hidden Valley neighborhood. It’s easy to make statements like that when it will have no impact on you or your life.

  5. Of course! I left a comment that you didn’t agree with you and you deleted it! That is censorship!! You like to spread lies and scare people! Not good!

  6. Chill out Laurene. We just take time to actually read the comments before we approve them. Nobody deleted your comment. LOL If you want to write an article about how that precious greenspace should be better used as a sober home facility or as a skyscraper you’re welcome to make your point here all you want. Maybe you’re right! Make your points… go for it and see if people agree.

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