Camino Square Approved

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camino square approved

City Council members voted 3 – 2 in a 5 ½ hour marathon quasi-judicial fact finding session to approve the Camino Square project.

5 ½ hours?  3 – 2 vote?  Are you kidding???

Camino Square was a no brainer!  Voting ‘NO’ is simply indefensible.

What more does the applicant has to do to get a 5 – 0 vote on an item where:

  • The applicant is entitled to build the development with vested traffic concurrency as a matter of right;
  • The applicant is building a development with a 77’ height limit on a parcel of land where 100’ is allowed as a matter of right;
  • The applicant is building residential units, that by all expert testimony, causes less traffic trips than if the property were to be re-purposed under its existing use, retail, as a matter of right;
  • The applicant voluntarily is committing to an estimated $2M roadway infrastructure improvement; improvements resulting in a substantial ‘level of service’ increase at the Camino/Dixie intersection, a remarkable improvement;
  • The applicant voluntarily commits to a $100K contribution for ‘art in public places ‘; improving the public experience in the public realm;
  • The applicant contributes to the public realm by contributing two ‘public’ park spaces for all residents’ to use; and,
  • The applicant removes what is arguably the most blighted parcel of derelict land in Boca Raton’s downtown???

All these positive results go away if the vote would have been 3 – 2 against.

What am I missing?  What was the ‘nay’ votes thinking?

The “substantial competent evidence” presented by the applicant was of such a one-sided nature that a close call 3 – 2 vote is astonishing; a 3 -2 vote avoiding another multi-million dollar lawsuit,  a lawsuit that could not possibly be won at the Circuit Court.

So, why such a close call considering all the above contributions to the public good?

Here’s why… Politics…

The 2 negative votes demonstrate bad judgment; judgment of leaders failing in their duty to act in the best interest of the residents; failing in their duty to act as the Circuit Court’s fact finder and not as an elected local ‘politician.’

Politicians listening to and responding to the “group think” holding the notion that all development is bad; to wit: an unreasonable and “resident irresponsible” posture.

Let’s put names and faces to the now documented Community Redevelopment Agency  3 – 2 final vote:

  • Yea votes were Singer, Rodgers and Thomson;
  • Nay votes were O’Rourke and Mayotte.

Normally, I would suggest that the audience review the official record to form an independent opinion on the underlying issues in the matter being considered.

However, an affirmative vote in favor of this applicant was so obvious, so elementary, that it is simply inconceivable how a reasonable fact finder with an open mind could have voted any other way.

Simply unexplainable !!!

Or is it???

Separating “political” from “quasi-judicial” responsibility is such a basic “good governance” concept that for the Chair and Vice-Chair of the CRA to not understand the difference is truly disturbing.  The negative vote demonstrates a serious lack of judgment by these officials…or, is it simply another example of an irresponsible and unspoken policy limiting “development through litigation.”

That pesky rhetorical political question asked again!!!

Remember, politicians often have as their primary concern what the loudest voter base thinks and want.  A small amount of loud voices in opposition often lead to bad political votes; votes that clearly would be reversed in a higher tribunal when appealed.

With the March, 2020, local elections a mere 11 months away, the politician sitting as fact finder may already be hearing the raised voices impacting the politician’s expected re-election campaign.

Good governance be damned!

Al Zucaro
Publisher of BocaWatch

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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.

29 COMMENTS

  1. I was not at the meeting so I did not hear thier reasons for voting no. It would have helped if you gave their reasons for their no vote, instead of condenming them for their vote without any context. I also note you opposed this development rather vigorously in the past. Now it seems you are on the side of the developers-not just on this but on every petition. Not that their is anything wrong with that, except when a politician such as you does that we call them a “flip-flopper”. Not that there is anything wrong with that except when the web site is sponsored by developers. Hmmm. Transparency is needed. Explain your flip flops. Are you working for them? is this site-theirs?

    • Steve,
      Even if we provided you with “the books” you’d accuse us of giving you the wrong ones and keeping the “real books” where only we and a secret cabal of developers can see them.

      So since it’s so important to you to make sure the community has transparency why don’t you yourself ask developers directly if they have supported BocaWatch or have agreements to support BocaWatch in the future? Will you do that for the community you believe deserves transparency since our denials are only worth doubting?

      And while you’re at it, after they’ve all said t they haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity to support transparency in the community by supporting BocaWatch, remind them that they should, that we’d appreciate their support and that we’d gladly disclaim it proudly on the site if they did.

    • There were NO GOOD REASONS TO VOTE NO STEVE! NONE! I find it funny that BocaWatch is supposed to be against all development (be biased and unfair) and when they take an objective opinion they are attacked. No one including Mr. Zucaro opposed this development in the past on BocaWatch. Not ever. I assure you that the political corruption present here is going to be exposed. Its going to be mind blowing, and its the only reason Midtown is not moving forward. So stay tuned. The purpose of representative government is to vote on behalf of all residents even the if they cannot see the benefit. The NW Sector PMD area that both you and I voted on at P&Z is a resounding and incredible success! The Park at Broken Sound is flourishing! No POA delinquencies office vacancy dropping, we just repaved all the roadways 95% occupancy of the apartments, tailor made employment base. See the light brother that is what would be happening in Midtown along with free traffic fixes.

    • Maybe the “no” votes were merely a symbolic gesture knowing the other three would vote for it. The symbolism is for those of us who perceive that in the past decade+, Boca Raton never met a developer or project it didn’t like. I believe in property rights, but variances and project approvals granted in the past make the average resident wonder about the elected officials bias toward unbridled downtown and midtown development. BTW, residents are not stupid. They can see the benefit (to developers/investors who also contributor to re-election campaigns) and they also are concerned more about the downside and the affects on quality of life. And there would be no “development through litigation” if approvals and variances were not granted in the first place. Welcome to Ft. BocaDale.

  2. Mr. Utrecht,
    I refer you to the BocaWatch mission statement for your answer. I have published BocaWatch for over 7 years now and have not changed my position at all. See below.

    “BOCAWATCH’S MISSION IS TO INFORM, EDUCATE AND CREATE DIALOGUE IN SUPPORT OF RESPONSIBLE, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH IN BOCA RATON. WE ARE DEDICATED TO PRESERVING THE BEAUTY AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN OUR CITY WHILE ENCOURAGING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TO FLOURISH. WE CONTINUE TO STRIVE TO STRENGTHEN THE AWARENESS OF THE CITIZENS REGARDING MATTERS OF CITY GOVERNANCE, AND WE STAND READY TO FIGHT THE FIGHTS NECESSARY TO CONTINUE TO PROTECT THE TRADITIONS, ATTRACTIONS AND CHARM OF OUR PICTURESQUE CITY.”

    Of course, this clear mission statement may be too complex for you to understand. You rather attack my character and motivation. That is your prerogative, ignorance and insult aside.
    When a development, as here, meets code and contributes to the public good, that development should be approved.
    Period, end of story. AZ

  3. I politely issued a request to ask you to explain your flip flop on Midtown and Camino Square- I think your readers will understand you did not even bother to respond directly- instead you chose to ignore the request, deflect and attack the questioner, and avoid answering the simple question. You clearly have changed your position. You won’t admit that you did, but everyone knows you did. Jason Pelish admits it. You should explain why you did a 180.You are on record as opposing Midtown before you were in favor of it. Now you have done the same thing with Camino Square-flip flop.. Inquiring minds want to know if $$$ has anything to do with the flip flops. Be like Al not like john Kerry. Open your books. be transparent. At least come out and answer the question- are you taking $$$ from developers? Where does this site get its financial support? Why? Al, why?

    • What are you fabricating now? Al has always had the same position on Midtown. I know because he hasn’t changed and I’ve debated him about it from day one. So there you are wrong. My position changed somewhat. It hasn’t been BocaWatch doing the 180s, it’s been the City. Read my article on the City’s 180 in Midtown on 4boca.com and you’ll understand how people’s reactions to the phenomenon of Midtown have changed over time IN REACTION to the City’s changing positions on residential. Only someone who is being very pig-headded would not let contrasting information have consideration towards their positions.

      Where you are getting confused enough to continue to repeat inaccuracies is unclear. What motivates you to reach these heights of confusion over and over? What motivates you to keep repeating a question that’s been answered multiple times?

      I will tell you what… I will go get developers to financially support BocaWatch – BECAUSE NONE ARE ALREADY. Then we can answer you “Yes here is who supports us and how much.” Because until I have a positive dollar figure to give you I don’t think you will be satisfied. Developer support would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Jason- a few weeks ago in a posting on this web site I provided the dates of public meetings at which Mr Zucaro spoke out against Midtown. Additionally,this web site also posted articles against Mid Town and Camino Square. You may choose to refresh your memory by reading This web sites archived articles. Nothing you say will change the facts, nor alter that history. The question I am asking is why the change? Readers want an in formation source they can trust. That’s all. I am going to stop short of saying what I think is happening now, but I am certain your readers can judge the flip flops for themselves and the curious will raise the same question. I doubt if any one will read an information source that flip flops, denies it, and then attacks their readers for asking for a reason for the flip flop. Call me curious, that’s all. I don’t know what you would call your responses. I would call that user-unfriendly. Evasive. Non-responsive. defensive. and misleading. Read Boca Watch’s archives on Midtown. To say in an article two years ago that “Midtown was a two billion dollar taxpayer giveaway to developers” and now say “Al’s always had the same position on Midtown”? Who are you kidding? Flip flop deniers that’s what you guys are.

    • There is no article where Mr. Zucaro can be quoted as saying that, from two years earlier or any other time.

      But here is something that is recorded that you’ve repeatedly referred to: the July 24th Workshop about Midtown.
      Here’s the recording of that meeting, the one and only instance that you keep referring to that “proves in your notes” that Al Zucaro at one time had a different position on Midtown than he has now.
      Audio Only: http://archive-media.granicus.com:443/OnDemand/bocaraton/bocaraton_9fa16957-03f4-417d-80df-3bf02eecf58d.mp3
      Video: http://bocaraton.granicus.com/player/clip/1400 Mr. Zucaro appears once at 47:00. Please let me know if you can spot him some other time in the video.

      Mr Zucaro criticized the City for not taking the lead more in the process and instead leaving it up to developers. He also urged the officials to deal with the Midtown issue as part of a comprehensive plan as opposed to reacting to developer requests. That’s not opposing residential in Midtown, in fact it’s the opposite – urging the city to action towards the process. That’s what I took from it. If you took different notes about it please share exactly what you wrote and how you concluded, from that meeting, where Mr. Zucaro had a position different than what he has now. What made you conclude that? Did he whisper it to you off camera? Did he scribble it himself in your notebook? Is it Ok if I ask you to be specific about the information you said you had to share more than just saying “my notes say”? Perhaps you could photograph the page from your notebook?

      And I don’t really think readers care about what his opinion is or what my opinion is or what your opinion is about our opinions. You know what they say about opinions…
      What I care about is what’s going on. I think other people care about that too. If you care about the pizza delivery guy’s name, great! I just want the pizza.

  5. Sounds like smoke and mirrors to me boys.O’Rourke and Mayotte are to be commended for keeping their campaign promisses,imagine that politicians with integrity.They haven’t forgot about our overcrowded schools. My son who is currently at Boca high he is in a class with 42 students, let’s not forget about the children and teachers boys. Oh that’s right they’re going to rezone Boca kids next year, their going to send them where ever they have to to make room. I have a question are they doing that for the good of the children or for the good of the developers ?

    • Why did you invest in living in Boca? For your family or for developers? The developers couldn’t build if people like you and me didnt hand them money for doing so, didnt tell them “this is a good spot” by virtue of our presence and investment we maintain for it. Every rent payment, every mortgage payment, every HOA payment is a vote for the developers to keep selling. You cant be here, by law, and deny others that same right. Politicians keeping to their campaign promises made sure of that decades ago. If you were in Wyoming and kept your Boca property after leveling it and letting it grow wild then perhaps you’ve got some right to complain about the crowding here. Imagine a room made for 200 people and now it has 300 people in it and more are piling in the door. Can you make political promises to the people in the front row with a straight face? Or do you have to do something drastic yet honest and tell those people in the front row it’s never going to be the empty room they first entered again, and tell the whole crowd that developers arent the problem, they are? No politician will do that.

    • Mr. Scarpa must have missed the 10 meetings and exhaustive analysis of the schools and overcrowding. Luxury Apartments DO NOT cause school overcrowding. New families moving into homes like the one 70 year old Andrea Beto O’Rourke is selling do. Luxury Apartments pay LOTS of taxes. Everyone (including people who live in Broward County, LOL) want to go to Boca High because it is an A rated school! O’Rourke and Mayotte did not make a campaign promise to vote against all development no matter what the merits–because that of course would be ILLEGAL! Venezuela and Cuba are where other people get to tell people what they can build on property they don’t own! Not Boca. And speaking of which I don’t see Mr. Scarpa complaining about the 10% of the school population which are ILLEGAL ALIENS! His problem is with the PBC School Board and not the City. I went to college and law school where core classes were 100, 200 or more students. Get over it–how many students are in a class has nothing to do with academic achievement if anything it prepares people for what is to come. Each new project that gets approved brings increased property values and removes the beat up old 1970’s look to certain Downtown areas. If Mr. Scarpa were smart he should have be BUYING properties not complaining about others, he would have doubled his money.

  6. Mr. Pelish your responses is confusing I think you just feel the need to respond to everyone that posts. Question for you sir do you have children in the Boca public school system ? I don’t think the children and teachers care about developers or politicians ,I think they care about the quality of their learning environment I think they care about their quality of their education I think they care about being safe. I think they care about their friends being rezoned to other schools because of overcrowding. I think it’s a crime that the past and some of our present politicians didn’t or don’t have the foresight to build state of the art learning institutions for the children and teachers of our community.

  7. all the votes should have been NAY. The original residents of Boca do not need another 77′ foot structure of MORE NEW residents. Go to Delray or FLL for that. We do not need art work to beautify our city – we like our small family and community based city just like it was. Al, I am so surprised of the turn of your convictions. So much for fighting the developers. Where the heck is all that traffic going to go.

    Focus on the traffic on 12th avenue near Addison Mizner (buying up homes). Focus on the traffic on Glades near Boca High (split that road up so traffic can actually flow).

    The votes shpld have all been NAY. But I guess Singer took over for his predecessor and continues to VOTE YAY for overdevelopment.

    • Attachment

      Ah yes another amateur traffic expert who like Mayotte and Beto O’Rourke know nothing about it. Telling us how the roads should be built. There is no such thing as “overdevelopment” there is development and re-development as per City Code. One of the failings of the US educational system is clearly the failure to teach logic and quantitative analysis. So here goes, logic dictates that there is NOTHING we can do about development in Delray, Deerfield unincorporated PBC and northern Broward County–Nothing!. It is thus logically impossible to stop pass through and background traffic from those jurisdictions, so you have two choices (this is the quantitative analysis part) you either seek out and get good projects and support the tax base or you do nothing and erode the tax base, in fact (the fact part) most taxes are paid for by large commercial real estate projects (think the Mall). Meanwhile the largest single threat and eroding force behind the tax base are the beat up, broke down 1970’s homes–that you guessed it are owned by the whiners and complainers who in all do respect cannot afford to live in the City and even maintain their own homes its the 65 and older demographic many of which fit into the stereotypical “mean old person” motif. They are mad at the world, they HATE AND FEAR CHANGE they hate tall buildings, they hate wealthy people, they hate beautiful women and nice cars, they hate traffic if it costs them one minute of travel time, they hate the Miami Heat, they hate FAU football games, they think everything should be free and everything revolves around them–because why they were here first. And then they don’t understand why no one takes them seriously or listens to them–which makes them madder. Mr. Scarpa has a legitimate policy issue with PBC schools, Connors just repeats the same old tired talking points.

  8. Mr. Pelish it wasn’t a difficult question not sure why they’re a lag on my response to your rambling. Again I’m curious how many children do you have currently have in the Boca public school system ?

    • I’m sorry. I was busy addressing some concerns of the Boca High PTSA regarding another article published recently. I have two children in Boca Raton’s public schools this year.

      How many of your children are in Boca’s Public School’s sir?

  9. Well Jason then you understand our concerns I also have two children in the Boca public school system, I graduated from Boca high in 1982. So then you’re aware that at Boca middle last year they had to exclude 500 students from graduation because they didn’t have room, they only let the kids that had straight A’s go to the ceremony. Surely you see a problem with that, surely you see a problem with the overcrowding at Boca high school.The scariest part is they have no solution for it other than to relocate Boca children maybe as far as Boynton. I sure hope it’s not mine or your children Jason. It’s a crime if it’s anyone’s children, again are they going to rezone kids for the good of the children or for the good of the developers? Thank you for this platform to be able to express everyone’s point of view.

  10. Hey Gromann I’ve been to enough city Council meetings to know who you are and see your dog and pony act. Of course the developers and pro development will tell you that luxury townhomes and luxury high-rise apartment buildings and condos don’t add to the school density LMAO. But the scad reports show different I guess in places like New York City Chicago Philadelphia families with school children don’t live in high-rises and luxury townhomes LMAO, is that correct? As far as what myself and my family own I guess you know about that too you’re an expert on everything LMAO ? We’ve been here since the early 70s. I couldn’t give a rats ass who or what you are, again I’ve seen enough you at city Council so I will consider the source , maybe I’ll see around the campus sometime, have a nice life Sir have a nice life sir

    • No substance, just personal attack and of course another development expert. The current SCAD letters didn’t exist 3 years ago and you are not understanding that this is just another way to extract more money from developers who already pay impact fees. Most new children in the schools as the result of SFR turnover by older residents to younger families, the apartments are not material to the equation probably not statistically significant. And we aren’t in NY or Chicago. I am sure you are a statistics expert as well. Bottom line is your comments are not logical, draw false analogy and have no substance, which is why NO ONE takes your seriously. I suppose that since you were here in the 1970’s (ah ha a 1970’s house perhaps!) no one else gets to live in Boca? As I stated before your issue is with the PBC School Board not the City and development. You also don’t fit the old timer motif you are what we call a “middle aged crisis bully” who thinks that because you sarcastically sneer, your face turns red and talk loud that your comments have more substance–they don’t. Boca Schools are great schools and they are full because they are A rated. You have no argument from me on the County based decentralized school system. Where I went to school only the folks in my town went there, it was municipal based. Fact remains no one cares what you have to say and nothing has changed except the fact that the timing of your “school overcrowding issue” has given both the PBC School Board, the media and developers time to debunk that false premise–so incompetent leaders like Mayotte and Beto O’Rourke can’t use it anymore. In essence Chris you have hurt your cause and that of the anti-everything crowd in that these types of false premises when sprung out of nowhere sometimes actually work…….Beto can’t use that anymore to vote no on a project–so she is reliant on the City Attorney to invent less compelling falsehoods. Moral of the story is that you have accomplished NOTHING, zero and hurt your cause as is often the case. At least you didn’t argue as some have that luxury apartments whose rent is probably more than your mortgage ever was would turn to Section 8 housing, LOL people have actually said those kind of things.

      • Nothing is going to change how uncomfortable it feels to be “overcrowded” in any way though, whether it’s on the streets, in an event, in schools, at the post office, or when you want to speak at City Hall. Some folks are less comfortable in densities that attract others. If your comfort level doesn’t change along with the world around you then all you can do is flee! There is no possible way to stop the growth as long as the demand exists. That’s a truth that I’ve had to accept although I absolutely hate crowds and being crowded. There’s no opportunity to experience wilderness here any more, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a wonderful place.

  11. For me, personally, every time Glenn Gromann shares another image of himself with an attractive woman it increases his authority in just about everything.

    For myself, personally, I saw the writing on the wall when I moved back to Boca from Hollywood in 2006. As much as I wanted to move to the east side, where my kids would become Bobcats like I was, I didn’t. I picked moving out west here for two reasons:

    1) Because I knew Spanish River was better. I was appalled that the principal at the time held certain truths to be higher than science. Boca High had eviscerated the importance of science as evidenced by their entirely dismal test scores in that area. Then my apprehensions were validated by revelations of misdeeds and removal.
    2) Because Dr. Robbe’s house was next to the home I bought, right next door. He was a great teacher from Boca High. He could have settled to the east, but he didn’t. His kids went to Spanish River, not Boca High. He didn’t have to package that message into a lesson for me to get the drift.

    So if you want the best for your kids….. sell east…. buy west…..? I wish I had better advice to give you, but if I didn’t mention what was obvious to me when I had to make the choice I think I’d be dishonest by omission.

  12. Attachment

    Since you brought up education, let me share the above graph with you. This is the diminishing return increased funding of public schools has yielded. Even though technology has revolutionized information systems, and allowed us to have this conversation, the modalities of education have not improved much. It’s still the old paradigm of an educator addressing a small group of students. The costs of putting those educators in front of students has only risen while the results have remained the same. To me that’s unacceptable.

    I wrote this to ask the question of when YouTube (or a comparable technology) will surpass the classroom in the ability to educate young people: https://www.clickwhisperer.com/2019/03/08/youtube-education-replacement-of-the-classroom/

    What’s worse than school not catching up is that today’s kids are in possession of amazing information tools, abilities to self-educate that didn’t exist decades ago, yet there’s no structure, no imperative placed upon them for how they can be maximizing their electronic time towards their own benefit, and how they should be doing so. There’s a giant vacancy there.

    What would be ideal is a means for students to educate each other, a gamified system where they’re scored somehow, for finding quality educational resources for their peers (news stories – YouTube videos about specific subjects – reference etc.) so that when they emerge from school they’ve practiced the ability of educating themselves and each other more. Dr. Robbe’s “Top of the News” thing he used to do used to get us talking about current events so much – it was such a rich experience every day. That best practice needs to be cloned into the digital dimension.

  13. Gromann the blowhard LMFAO big-time developer lives in Boca point last time I checked that’s not east Boca. Now I understand where your low self-esteem comes from, I got you. Like I said before have a nice life

  14. FYI: Since the cost should double every 20yrs just to keep up with inflation,
    $4,000 in 1970, would be $8,000 in 1990 and $16,000 in 2010. The equivalent
    spending for $4,000 in 1970 would be about $13,200 in 2003. It appears to me that
    in fact, spending has decreased in today’s dollars, (only about $11,000 in 2003)
    yet performance is staying the same. Kudos to our schools for doing as well with less.

  15. FYI, I agree that this story on the new development should have included the reasons given by O’Rourke and Mayotte for not voting yes. It therefore seems very slanted.
    Was there a small reason such as sufficient delivery space so as not to block roads like what is happening now on Palmetto Park road in front of the new behemoth? Poor planning evidently, as restaurant service delivery trucks and furniture delivery trucks for the apartments are constantly illegally blocking the inside west bound lane on Palmetto due to reported lack of delivery space for the trucks.
    You should have given their reasons for voting NO, as they may have been minor, correctable, and yet made a huge difference in the long run.

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